Undercover: behind the scenes of fashion show castings

Image: Stuart McClay
Image: Stuart McClay
Image: Stuart McClay

With well-known student fashion shows like FS and DONT WALK and increasingly popular shows such as Catwalk, Sitara* and Label, September proved to be an active recruiting period for attracting St Andrews’ bravest beauties. Though presumably a casual walk for seasoned individuals, the uninitiated no doubt felt the pressure of the spotlight as they navigated their first model auditions. Much stigma surrounds this process; however, personal experience offers insight into a genuinely welcoming group of passionate individuals.

With an open mind and very skinny pair of jeans, I laced up some tasseled black suede heels and headed over to auditions. Expecting very little success and sure embarrassment, I was surprised to find a mix of supportive and familiar faces coordinating pre-walk audition details. The other anxious individuals patiently waiting for their moment represented an array of beautiful body types and fresh faces. A short questionnaire gave the committee not only my measurements, but also a glimpse into my personality; for context, I recap the basics below.

Gender: Female Age: 20 Height: 5’8”, 172cm Weight: 110lb, 50kg Hair Colour: Dirty Blonde General Sizing: US 0/2, UK 6/8 Intimates Sizing: 32C Previous Experience: Limited Comfort with Nudity: 10/10

The committee played an upbeat tune (coincidentally from my pres playlist), making the audition itself more reminiscent of a playful strut down my own hallway than an uptight affair under close examination. The committee proceeded to give me a prop, which provided much personal humour because I felt ridiculous including the item into the flow of my newfound walk.

I left the room rather amused. I was in a light-hearted mood, feeling motivated for the day and proud of the “feat” I had just completed. Auditioning with slightly ulterior motives (namely, writing this article) led to a more relaxed perspective and very casual attitude; subsequently, I was utterly convinced that my subtle inquisition or misconstrued mockery would end my modelling career.

However, I was offered even greater insight into the process during callbacks. Quite shocked at the committee choosing me, I was humbled but excited for part two. Preparation for my second walk included a hearty dinner of prosciutto balsamic salad, spaghetti bolognese and eggplant-rocket pizza, as well as a rather rogue night out. As per explicit instructions, I returned the next morning with a formfitting ensemble and wry smile. The logistics of callbacks were simply a variation on the theme of the previous audition. The individuals surrounding me seemed significantly more nervous, though the environment still fostered an authentic nature and impassioned pursuit. Chatting with the girls in the waiting area offered deeper insight into their personal motives for auditioning. Most held open minds and yearned to explore something new and nerve-wracking. Though only a limited few would ultimately be selected, each individual possessed the fundamental qualities needed for a model aesthetic.

Accepting the terms of writing this article, I was apprehensive to release personal details, as I wished my name, quest and success to remain anonymous. However, as I offer a positive approach to the overall process, I encourage any individual, male or female, to attend an audition. Though most auditions have passed for this term, summon the courage to strut your stuff next year. Get involved and have some fun. Be confident with your body and enjoy the moment. Though judgement is a key feature of the activity, my experience defied my negative expectations and supported a refreshed outlook. I look forward to the outcomes of this year’s St Andrews fashion show auditions.


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