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Model Behavior With Sharon Quinn: Surviving Full Figured Fashion Week, 6/01/2009
sharon quinn
Meet Sharon Quinn

As many of you plus models already know June 2009 is the month of New York City's first ever Full Figured Fashion Week.  The 3-day event is the brainchild of DeVoe Signature Events Founder & CEO, Gwen DeVoe and it takes place June 25th through June 27th.  The long overdue event is on the lips of plus sized models & fashionistas all over the world.  For many of you this event will be either the first or the biggest shows you have done to date and I have decided to include some helpful tips to help you navigate easily.

Don't be a "space hog" – Most of the time the backstage area has a limited amount of space for models, designers, hair & makeup artists & production teams.  Try to be respectful of the space limitations when packing your bag.  A model with a super sized suitcase backstage may find other models possibly tripping over that bag and more often than not – losing a few things (things DO tend to disappear in the chaotic frenzy as the clock nears closer to show time).  Find out in advance EXACTLY what you need pack and try not to bring too much more than that.  Try to pare down your clothing, hair & makeup essentials into one "Carry-On" sized piece of luggage.

Shoes – In a perfect plus sized model world – you would be able to pack your shoes in that same carry-on bag that I mentioned in the previous paragraph.  But alas we don't live in a perfect world and if you have big feet (like mine) the likelihood of you fitting all of your shoes in that one bag is slim to none.  I have raved about the shoe travel bags from the online catalogs of Lillian Vernon  and Walter Drake.  The bags are designed to hold anywhere from 8 to 10 pairs of shoes in one bag and if you are a creative packer like I am, you can squeeze in a few more! It hooks right onto the little "clip latches" that come with most carry-on bags.  I never leave home without mine and I guarantee you that you will come to find this item invaluable as you progress as a model. 

Runway Diva Tip #1: Only pack the shoes that fit and YOU CAN ACTUALLY WALK IN.  I don't care how beautiful the shoes are – if they hurt your feet that will detract from your performance on the runway.  If you are purchasing new shoes for FFFW, it would serve you well to break them immediately.  Bringing brand new shoes to a fashion event can backfire badly if you are grimacing every time you put them on. 
 
Remember to pack your portfolio & extra composite cards.  Make sure you keep your book in your bag and you have enough comp cards on hand.  Remember that FFFW means a prime time networking opportunity for an aspiring plus sized model.  Don't get caught out there without YOUR calling card.

Be Punctual – Be it castings, fittings, rehearsals and/or shows...if you are working on a DeVoe Signature Events project, it would behoove you to arrive on time.  I can tell you from experience that if you are habitually late, you will find yourself in the audience WATCHING the show.  You all feel me on this one? Preparation is key here.  Be smart, if you know that traffic or public transportation may cause you to be late – try leaving a little earlier to possibly circumvent a time delaying situation.

A good rule of thumb to follow comes from casting director Wendy McKenzie: 

To be EARLY is to be ON TIME. 
To be ON TIME is to BE LATE
To be LATE is UNACCEPTABLE.

Don't be a Pest - Wait for the instructions (trust me they ARE coming) before you jump all over the producers/directors with a million questions.  Producers and/or designers can be notoriously snippy and short tempered as the clock ticks down to show time and the last thing they want/need is a bunch of models asking them a ton of questions that can be answered by a production staff member.

Once you get your instructions, listen to them, commit them to memory or write them down if you have to; but when the lights go down and the curtains come up – know your marks and positioning and then hit them like a pro.

Be respectful of the designer(s) and the fitting process
– Most if not all designers already have a vision of a body in mind for the clothing they create.  Therefore an aspiring model that comes up to him or her and says "Let me see what you got" will probably NOT work for that particular designer.  They are choosing YOU as a model; you are not choosing them.  It is almost never about what you may like personally.  You might have to wear a garment that you absolutely hate but YOUR job is to sell it.  Let the designer fit you in what he or she visualizes you in and the go out on the runway and work the hell out of it.  If you cannot do this – you might want to rethink your career as a model, because at the end of the day – that is the only thing that will matter to the designer – whether or not you can "sell" his/her garment.

Leave the ego at home or if you must bring it – bring it to the runway.

Bring a robe – You'll be sitting around in your undergarments for a while, it's a pain in the butt to keep putting on and taking off clothing.  And don't even THINK of running back and forth to the bathroom to change in privacy, you will find that at show time there will be absolutely no time for that whatsoever.  Get comfortable with changing around other folks - it's the nature of the business.

If you arrive on time, with a pleasant attitude and ready to work, you will have absolutely no problems navigating through all the events that encompass Full Figured Fashion Week in NY!

Good luck and continued success!

You KNOW I'll see you on the runway...

 
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