Color in the Desert Fashion Week: My model experience

So the show is over and normal life has resumed, sigh.

It was the most fun I’ve had at a runway show ever! And the most professionally organised one too. As I mentioned before it was produced by Jan Malan and his team.

Our week began with the final casting on Monday at 4pm at the Phakalane Golf Estate, and good lawd was it a daunting one! We all desperately wanted to be in the show! Every time a girl was rejected we would nervously look around at the remaining girls and quietly hope we weren’t next. After a ‘walk off’ in groups of 4, Andiswa (the runway choreographer) and Jan Malan picked the final 28 girls they wanted and that was it! Luckily quite a few familiar faces from the little Botswana modelling industry made it including a few new ones.

Tuesday marked the beginning of our fittings and runway walk mini boot-camp. The models were given numbers and divided into groups. We attended our fittings in our groups so over the course of the week we got to know each other quite well. We were also joined by international models based in South Africa who were absolutely fabulous! Tatiana, Melody, Michelle, Cindy, Calista, Shyshy, Katrina and Sasa. They entertained our questions, gave advice when needed and shared their funny model stories during our ‘sit and wait’ time.They are awesome role models for any wanna be model. Kaone Kario (Face of Africa winner 2005) arrived on Friday evening and she was as pleasant and funny as always.

I always find runway strutting so odd. You have to be able to suddenly put thought into something you do without thinking; walking. Back straight, lean back slightly, long strides, head up,butt tucked in-no jiggling or you’ll look too ‘sexy’, arms relaxed but not too relaxed that they’re flying all over the place and your facial expression must be strong but pleasant at the same time. You shouldn’t stomp, rather you should look as though you are gliding….oh and you must do all this in heels!Whether in extremely high heels or barefoot, the walk must be the same and you must look elegant. It’s harder than most people think. But once you get the hang of it, you won’t want to walk any other way,lol.

The fittings were exciting, especially when meeting the international designers. Watching them put their work together was captivating. When Joyce Chimanye was adding accessories to my runway outfit I almost felt as though she was painting me with her works of art. You can see the love and passion for what they do in the way they handle their garments, the way they painstakingly adjust and readjust clothing on a model, in how talk about each piece and carefully place it on a hanger afterwards. It really gave me a new respect for designers and their work.

Friday, the day of the first show was a long one for us. Call time was at 10am and we immediately began rehearsals. The stage was partially set up so that allowed us to practice on the ramp. To the horror of us less experienced models the ramp included 3 steps! So in addition to looking all fierce while strutting we now had to pay attention to the steps. Runway is all about taking good pictures while walking, so it wouldn’t look too great if the camera catches you looking down at the floor. But with constant practice we perfected the ability to glance at our feet for a split second without actually facing the floor….in heels,while looking fierce,lol, tricky stuff.

After rehearsals, we were fed then ushered to the hair and make-up room. The head of that department was the ever so charismatic Carl Isaacs. The look he chose for day one was extremely colorful eye makeup that changed according to your group. Blue for group 1, Orange for two and pink for group 3.

Tegan, Meeeeee and Michelle.
Some of the girls!

Our hair was pulled back into a bun which was enhanced with hair extensions.  After hair and make-up we waited for show time. About a half hour before the show we had to strip down to our undies and make our way to the dressing room. Given that there’s little time between changes being fully clothed is a hindrance. After having so many fittings where we spend 5-10minutes standing in underwear while the designer looks at your body and decides what would look best on you, we were pretty comfortable with being nearly naked in front of each other.

The show was a blur of chaos and yelling backstage and calm strutting on stage while music drifted through the cold evening air. I had 3 changes on day one and another 3 on day two. The runway was absolutely exhilarating though! Every time I walked off stage I wanted to walk back on!

The Saturday show was the big one, it included David Tlale’s show and those of us not part of his model group were all dying to see the clothes. The styling was a bit more ‘fierce’ too. Chunky braided mohawks and very dark make-up.

Make-up for day 2
A beast of a mohawk!lol!

The show on day two ran slightly longer and it was so much fun. We were all quite exhausted after it ended but also soooo ready to party!! I lasted a few hours before I had to accept defeat and go home. It was truly a pleasure taking part in that show. Lets hope it becomes a yearly show, the Botswana fashion industry needs more shows like these!

Check out a few more pics below, I will put up links for the runway photos on the facebook page once they are released.

With Jan Malan
Greg, part of the production team. Had to sneak this pic in..he doesn't like pics.
Michelle and Tatiana
Cindy with Carl Isaacs
Melody, Sasa and I
David Tlale with his assistant and some of his models

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