What Models Really Do Backstage at New York Fashion Week

Even runway stars lounge around when they're not hitting the catwalk

By Samantha Schnurr Sep 08, 2017 8:23 PMTags
ESC: Models Backstage, Gigi HadidSimberashe Cha/WWD/REX/Shutterstock

In between the glitz and the glamour, there is some sartorial downtime. 

Such is the case for runway stars every season at New York Fashion Week. While backstage at a fashion show can seem like an unchartered, luxurious abyss to someone who's never gotten the chance to venture back there, we're here to pop that mystery bubble and share all of the surprisingly normal moments that typically take place behind the dark curtains.

For strangers to the backstage area, it is typically much smaller, more crowded and less plush than some may imagine. Tables lined with mirrors usually surround the space while makeup artists and hairstylists utilize what sparse room they have to make the designer's vision come to life on the model in their chair.

In the meantime, photographers and videographers document every step of the styling process while fashion editors and beauty writers whip out their recorders for an interview and jot notes on a pad. Simply, it's organized chaos—well, mostly organized. 

OMG Moments From Fashion Weeks' Past

However, while the countdown to the catwalk can incite immense buzz behind the scenes, it is also a time for the models to sit back and take a breath while the pros finish their work and they have to sit still. When a stranger isn't asking to snap their intricate 'do or colorful cat-eye, the models take advantage of the spare minutes by scrolling their Instagram feeds, FaceTiming with a family member or taking a selfie because—hey, their makeup looks fierce

When they're not in the chair, the runway pros have time for mundane tasks like using the bathroom or grabbing something to munch on. There's usually a table (or two or three) designated to a variety of snacks. As Tom Newton so hilariously documented, backstage can house an assortment of culinary delights—from healthy options like fruit parfaits and smoothies to sweets like cookie trays to bites as rich as roast beef sandwiches and burger sliders. 

Ready to digitally venture into this mysterious world? Check out some behind-the-scenes snaps below.

Playing Around

What happens behind the scenes stays behind the scenes. OK, that's not necessarily true, since there are tons of people and photographers around. But prep time gives models plenty of space to joke around, dance and even do silly poses they can't do while walking the runway. 

Chit Chat

Leave it to a fashion show to bring gal pals together. Like any creative field, the modeling industry is small, which means most of those beautiful people have worked together before. Sometimes, you'll see cliques of the same groups together. Sometimes, you'll see supermodels (Naomi Campbell, we're talking about you) isolated in the corner behind a curtain and perhaps body guards around them to prevent being photographed. However, you'll oftentimes see the models either silent, reserving energy for the next show, or cordially mingling. 

Screen Time

Hey, there's never a bad time to text Mom back. You won't find a model without his or her phone handy. When they aren't checking their work schedules (some have back-to-back shows), they are taking snaps for their own social media. Insider info: Oftentimes, you'll find big-name models looking at their phones, not really doing anything, just to avoid the countless photographers and people swarming around them while they are getting hair and makeup done. 

Strike a Pose

Even models need a new snap of their squad for Instagram. But don't get it twisted: Models work just as hard backstage as they do in the front of the house. Even when they are just dressed in regular clothes or have no makeup on, photographers swarm them for behind-the-scenes shots, which means they have to be "on" for the two-to-three hour prep time before the show, too. 

Drink Up

One model takes a sip in between styling. They typically drink out of a straw, as to not mess up their makeup, but this one is a rebel. When it comes to food, there is typically catered goods: sandwiches, cookies, muffins—most of which almost always looks untouched. You may also find Sakara Life, an organic delivery service celebs love, available, too. 

Hanging With a Hadid

Between Gigi and Bella and even brother Anwar, the Hadids are pretty much a staple at fashion week. Even at a considerably young age, they are considered veterans, which means every NYFW pro, makeup lead, manicurist or momager, knows them. Here, Gigi Hadid has a few laughs with the beauty team and the boss, Tom Ford

Models...they are just like us. Kind of. 

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