Learn how to conquer the runway like a top model with these tips offered by Award-Winning Fashion and Runway Photographer Anand Jayaraman (AJ).
Who is a “Runway Model”?
The modeling industry today is breaking barriers and changing stereotypes, thereby becoming more inclusive and creating a broader space by providing equal opportunities and resources.
Connecting the fashion world to the audience is a huge responsibility, and a runway model is trusted to perform this role with confidence and certitude. The task incumbent upon the model is twofold - to showcase the vision of the designer and to create an impact with the audience.
How to Walk the Runway
Walking the runway with purpose and strength is vital for both the model and the staged designer. To have a successful modeling career and to exemplify the designer showcased, one must practice the fundamentals of ‘Walking the Runway. Posture, walk, expression, the stop, attitude, and focus are critical for this purpose and a successful outcome.
Following are some basic guidelines to ensure success on the runway:
Posture - Confidence can be conveyed to the audience in many ways, but it must start with body posture. Standing tall and walking straight conveys a manner of confidence to the audience, boosting the impact of your presence. Shoulders should be arched slightly backward for girls and kept broad for boys.
Pro Tip. Visualize a string running from the bottom of your spine to the top of your head
Walking - Walking tall and straight is going to highlight your presence on the runway. Body language is key.
Arms - Keep arms relaxed, hands loosely cupped, with light spacing between fingers. Hard fists or separated fingers make you look tense on the runway.
Foot placement – The placement of the foot determines walking patterns. Females turn into rope walkers, keeping one front of the other, projecting your confidence, and helping hips to sway to the sides like a classic model and walk with long strides. Males walk naturally with feet slightly less or at shoulder width.
Speed - Walk should not be too fast or too slow; it should be uniform and right enough to captivate the audience.
Pro Tip. Practice walking at home, preferably in front of a mirror or with a friend. Don’t forget to wear high heels or boots when practicing.
Stick to the middle of the runway, unless instructed otherwise
Expression - Facial appearance and expression are the keys to perfecting your impact on the audience. Facial expressions should not contradict what you are wearing. It is essential to keep your mouth closed in a natural position or naturally parted. Avoid smiling.
Pro Tip. Practicing a cold face look in front of a mirror.
Focus - Avoid making eye contact with people, as it will distract your appearance and outlook on the rest of the audience.
Pro Tip. Find a focus point; this should be something preferably straight and center of the media pit at eye level. If you know your house photographer, pick the person as your focus.
The Stop - When you stop, remember to stay confident. You can let your focus break now, pose, and turn the head slowly to the sides. You have only 3 seconds at the stop, no less, no more. When you are walking back, remember to walk with the same composition you did while walking out.
Pro Tip. Stop, count 1001 (right look), 1002 (left look), 1003 (center look, turn and walk)
Don’t under stop or overstep the stop line. Photographers work with runway designers and lighting technicians beforehand to calibrate the runway for the best lighting conditions. If you don’t stop correct, you could end up in a dark or a bright spot and thus not offer the best photo opportunity.
Keep looking straight; don’t drop or raise your head as you pose and turn.
How do you remember all of this? Practice!
Ask a friend to read these tips and make sure you are following all the guidelines and looking the best you possibly can. Watch top runway models, pick a style to follow, and develop your own — audition and walk as many shows as possible.