A Casting Call Nightmare
How many fashion shows do you have to walk in to be considered a runway model? I mean at this point I’ve walked for Le Réussi, Ana Gutierrez, Alexia Ulibarri, Danny Nguyen Couture, Mysterious by NPN twice, Alan Gonzalez twice…the list goes on! Over the years I have built strong connections so that when designers are arranging or participating in fashion shows, they contact me directly or I am contacted by a mutual representative. This was not always the case. When I first started modeling, I would attend as many casting calls as my schedule would allow hoping to get chosen to walk in their upcoming show. During these casting calls, designers and/or agencies are looking at your physique, your walk, and simply; you.
Here are a few essential tips when attending a casting call:
Timing: It is crucial to show up professionally and promptly. “If you are on time, you are late; if you are early, you are on time.”
Wear form-fitting clothing: This typically includes an all-black tank top or t-shirt and black fitted jeans or slacks. **Please be aware of the casting instructions as different attire may be requested of you.
Shoes: Heels should be black or nude and at least 4” tall. Dress shoes should be black, brown, or nude as well. Be sure to bring an additional pair in case there are any mishaps on the way or during the casting.
Headshots: Bring a few printed copies of a recent headshot to the casting call as well as your Comp Card. This includes your digitals, measurements, and contact information.
Other: Bring water and a healthy snack. Castings are typically quick but can last up to a few hours; especially if there is an influx of models auditioning to be cast.
Attitude: Be friendly and positive throughout the casting process. You never know who is watching. Furthermore, I have met some of my closest friends and biggest supporters at castings and in the modeling world.
Although I have had some great experiences at castings which have led me to be a part of some amazing projects, it’s not always what it’s cracked up to be. One of the very first castings I attended was about 2 years ago in the city for a prominent fashion designer & owner of a fashion-forward nonprofit organization. The designer was putting on their annual fashion show that would have been held that fall. The funny thing about castings is that when you’re pulling up in your car, but you don’t know exactly where to go or which building it’s in, when you see the tall people wearing all black, you know you’re in the right spot! The casting’s venue did not have any parking spots available, so I ended up parking a few blocks down in the neighborhood behind the building. I just made sure I didn’t park in front of a driveway or fire hydrant and hoped for the best! I should have known when I pulled up and there was no designated parking that this would be an interesting day, to say the least.
When I finally made it back to the venue, there were roughly 50 models outside scrambling to fit on the sidewalk and get an understanding of what was going on. It had already been about 30 minutes since the casting was allegedly supposed to start and we were still outside waiting. We were told to fill out forms with our measurements, past jobs, and any nonprofit or volunteering experience we had. At this point everyone is scrambling for pens, using each other's backs as a surface to write on or simply popping a squat on the concrete as we waited for further instructions. Altogether, we probably stood outside the venue for 2 hours in the Texas heat waiting to be called inside. When we finally officially began, they invited only 5 people in at a time starting with young children, children under 18, adult returners who participated in their show last year, and adults who were newcomers. You could guess which group I was in…
By the time it was almost my turn; I was tired, overheated, dehydrated, malnourished, cranky, and everything in between. You can tell already how this casting ended but for the sake of the story, I’ll finish. When the door opened again, four other girls and I ambushed inside. Not even really to get cast but just to get in some A/C. We were quickly disappointed to realize there was none. The venue was extremely small and packed with judges and models I assumed already got the green light that they were chosen. Looking back now, I should have left after the first 15 minutes when we were all waiting outside locked out of the venue but I’m the type of person that once I agree to something, follow through. A lesson I have since then decided to un-adopt! The girls and I lined up shoulder to shoulder next to a model that they had for reference to stay on tempo, something I have never seen or heard of before. There was only enough space for us to take about 5 steps before we were standing over the judges' table breathing over their foreheads, or should I say panting as there was no circulation of air whatsoever. We went down and back twice and told all of us but one we were good to go—all of that heartache for 20 steps and 2 turns. I shake my head at the thought of what we endured that day.
A few months later I did see some pictures on Instagram of the show. The venue was amazing, and the designs showcased were incredible. It seemed like a great turnout. That casting call will be something I’ll never forget but it did teach me discernment and to figure out what exactly I wanted from my modeling experience. I now do not attend every casting or take on every job for the sake of doing them. I research the brand and past shows and make sure that the event is prompt, professional, and organized, and that they align with my values. New models and creatives, I encourage you to have discernment as well when working on jobs or projects whether you have been in the game for years or only a few months. You are an asset, act like it.
Love & Light,