In Administrata, Behind the scenes, Events, Fashion, Runway
  1. Pack as many makeup wipes as you think you’ll need… then triple that. Cotton swabs, too.
  2. Comfortable. Shoes. I will only say this once.
  3. Release the model from your chair for a “quick fitting” at your peril. Get a real ETA and then memorize her face so you can find her again. (Get her name, too, but sometimes it will be difficult to pronounce or easily remember so don’t rely on that.) I’m the first to admit that I find models with identical hair and makeup very difficult to tell apart.
  4. Be sure that the beautiful person who plops down in your chair is actually a model who is actually walking in your show. (At some shows, this will be confirmed for you, but not always.) On my third day of shows, I drew very specific eyes on someone who turned out to be a promotional model. (Fortunately it wasn’t a problem, but if I’d known, I could have saved myself some time!)
  5. People who have no compelling reason to even be backstage WILL ask you for a makeover or “just a quick touch-up” if they see an empty chair. Make sure you know the difference between the designer making this request (good!) and the friend of a friend of a PR person (less good).
  6. Related to above: when in doubt, clear it with the key. They’re usually happy to be the bad guy, they’ll actually recognize the VIPs, and it saves you awkward questioning.
  7. Related to above: there are no stupid questions except the ones you don’t ask but assume you know the answer to.
  8. Photographers and camera crews can and will go wherever they want, knock shit off your table, and rest their equipment on your shoulders while you work so they can shoot directly up the model’s nose. It’s all part of the fun, but if you’re tight for time, politely insist upon the space you need to get the job done.
  9. “Don’t masturbate over the makeup.” – Viktorija Bowers, on speeding things up. Backstage makeup is no time for a spa day for models; knock out the big parts of the look and fix what needs fixing, but in a crunch, don’t let perfectionism slow you down.
  10. The key designed the look and knows what the designer wants to see. Don’t take feedback, edits, or changing your work personally. You’ve already proven yourself by being selected; the rest is details that the key will know much more intimately than you will. (Of course you need to pay attention to the details, but don’t flog yourself over mistakes or requested changes.)
  11. Don’t apologize when you make the model look away from her smartphone. You need her eyes and chin UP for a goodly portion of the makeup, and she knows that. Don’t let a 17-year-old walk all over you!
  12. That said, be nice, and be as gentle as you can. Most models are friendly and so poised and professional that you’ll forget they are teenagers/young adults who are routinely poked, prodded, dragged around like props, and have precious little claim to personal space (or modesty). Be respectful.
  13. Prominently display the sponsor’s products and use them as much as possible – this stuff DOES get photographed. (Keep the “contraband” products off to the side or in unlabeled containers if possible.)
  14. Many models will be coming directly from another show and will be covered in makeup. See above, re: wipes. But if you’re pressed for time and can work over some of the existing makeup without compromising the end result, go for it.
  15. Eat, drink water, sit down, and visit the restroom every chance you get (because you won’t get many!)

BeautiControl makeup station backstage at New York Fashion Week

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