A Model on Milan Fashion Week

Photo by Nicholas J H Palfrey

In the midst of Milan Fashion Week, VALLEY sat down with British model, Olivia Gadd, to talk about her own experience at her very first fashion week and on the ins and outs of modeling. Fashion week is held twice a year in every major fashion capital: New York, London, Milan and Paris. This month is highly anticipated by fashionable savants everywhere, but many are unaware of the hard work and dedication that goes on behind all of the glitz and glam the rest of us see.

Posted by @oliviagadd on Instagram

Modeling was not something Gadd always wanted to do, but after being scouted twice in one year she thought it was something she should pursue. Although she has only just started her career, the preparation for Milan Fashion Week has been non-stop.

“There was a lot of practicing walking; just going to the agency and going up and down, and having my agents critique it so that it’s as good as it can be. Also building up my book with test shoots, and the boss at my agency brought all the show girls in just before fashion week started just to give us all the lowdown and how it works and what to expect,” says Gadd.

With all of the running around involved in modeling, it can be somewhat isolating. There isn’t much time to really get to know anyone when you’re always working in a different place with different people.

“I’ve met a couple nice girls at castings, but it’s so difficult to make genuine friendships because, for example, if you meet someone at a casting you only spend 20 minutes or so together on average and then you’re off.” says Gadd. When she gets down, Gadd enjoys “just ringing my mom or talking to my agent; she’s the nicest person in the world and is honestly like a second mother.”

As a fashion model during this chaotic week, there is rarely ever a moment to rest. “It’s so hectic, there are so many castings and we all work through the weekend as well” Gadd says. “As models we have to be reachable at all times from  7 a.m. to midnight because we could be sent a casting at any time.”

Castings can be for anything, whether that be an editorial, advertisement or show. For show castings, Gadd says, “You go along and show them your composite card, which has a few pictures plus your measurements, and then they look at your book. Then they’ll ask you to just do a quick catwalk for them, sometimes taking a few basic pictures on their iPhones or asking you to try on their clothes and thats about it.”

In spite of all of the rushing around models do during fashion week, there is also a lot of waiting around. Castings are nerve-wracking enough without the suspenseful waiting around afterward to see if you’ve been chosen. Olivia recalls waiting for two hours after a casting this year. “Having to learn not to take rejection personally — waiting for hours on end at castings all to have the directors show absolutely no interest — it’s really hard,” says Gadd. “But when you meet a photographer or casting director who just falls in love with you it often feels worth it.”


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