That was at the start of the day when it wasn’t even that busy… Casting is a lot! To break it down for you, we saw nearly 500 models, in about three and a half hours, for 24 designers. I was the one at the door organising who came in, when they came and where they went – so I deal with almost every immediately. And if you consider that there is no way we took over 200 models for the three days of shows, that means statistically one model was rejected every minute. I have no idea how models do it.
Now don’t get me wrong, after dealing with 500 of them for a day, I don’t have allll that much compassion. But a few things I learnt over the day about them… First of all, I have NO idea why anyone would want to be a model. They’re herded about like cattle, barely spoken to, and have to stand in queues for literally hours. Secondly, models are seriously persistent in a way which (were it not to have been incredibly annoying) I actually respect quite a bit. They did whatever they could to get past me at the door, they tried to use the side entrance, they were sent to one designer and they snuck off to another. It is impressive how hard they try. Thirdly, I was slightly surprised to see that a lot of the male models were actually incredibly polite, far more so than a lot of the female models. Finally, and quite sadly, I made the concerted effort to say thank you to each of them as they left, and to wish them a good day. But what was admittedly slightly sad to see was how shocked some of them were to hear that. But let’s not get into taking care of models that’s a whole different discussion.
The day was, unsurprisingly, hell. But it was the fun kind of hell! Arranging the door needed a lot of sass, a lot of confidence, and the ability to throw back at the models whatever attitude they decided to bring. My favourite comments were things like “I’ve been waiting her for over an hour”. Well hunny if you come an hour and a half earlier than your call time, that’s exactly what you’re going to be doing. We had a couple of “It’s already half two”. Thank you for telling me for time darling I am so glad that you were the only chosen one that God granted a watch to. There was a lot of sass here I didn’t really need but don’t you worry, I gave it right back to them.
There was something that made me very uncomfortable during the day though. Only five of the designers were taking male models, so at the door, I was to direct the male models just to those designers. However, that meant that I had to basically assume the gender of everyone walking through the door. Not only is this just grossly binary, but puts me in the horrendous positions of assuming that someone identifies as I may perceive they present. And a lot of models go for a more androgynous look, and there could have been trans models that I misgendered over the day. I did not like assuming everyone’s gender and as much as it was for the practicality of the day, it did make the day feel very backwards.
In more positive news, there was quite a lot of diversity in the models we saw that day, as Fashion Scout had ensured to reach out particularly to agencies that specialised in people of colour. One of the male agencies showcased only black men, Grey agency specialised in older women, and we had many agencies showcasing a lot of East Asian models. However, there was a distinct lack of South Asians and as I always say, we do make up like a fifth of the world’s population so let’s try getting some of us out there?
I can’t say I’m looking forward to the next casting I’ll be doing, but I am looking forward to seeing which of those beautiful faces were chosen for our shows this weekend. Keep tuned to find out!
“The secret to modelling is not being perfect.” – Karl Lagerfeld