Have you ever thought about how one coincidence can change your life by introducing you to unfamiliar places and challenges? Madelaine Olsen, a junior International Studies major from Norway, experienced just that when she was asked to walk the runway for one of the designers during New York Couture Fashion Week last week.
A young girl Olsen had met in Hawaii while she vacationed there, contacted her over Facebook and told her about an excit- ing internship she is doing in New York City, working with Andres Aquino, a designer and host of NY Couture Fashion Week. She asked Olsen if she was interested in coming to an extra cast, a modeling audition where height, modeling experience, size and so forth is measured, that they were hosting. At the time, Olsen was already in Manhattan with some friends, so she immediately agreed.
If she hadn’t been in Hawaii on vacation, and hadn’t met this girl who was interning for the fashion designer, she wouldn’t have had this opportunity.
“The next morning I got an e-mail from the cast informing me that I had been chosen to walk Couture Fashion Week. The e-mail gave me the entire schedule for fittings, shows, and designers. I didn’t really think twice at that point,” Olsen said. She was asked to walk the runway for several Couture de- signers.
Being asked to do a cast doesn’t neces- sarily mean that you got the modeling job, however, she said. You need to be picked out by one of the designers, and at Olsen’s fitting, only a couple of days before the actual show, there were about 150 girls, ranging from 16 years and older. Some even flew in from Chi- cago and several other cities, Sweden, Russia, and other countries.
Unfortunately, some of the girls had to head home without getting signed with any designer. Olsen already knew she was going to walk at her fitting because Auquino had previously asked her and introduced her to his designer, Laila Wazna.
There were usually about 12-18 girls in each designer’s show, Olsen explained. And even though you think you have been signed, you can still get kicked off the show. She heard about a girl who had a tattoo on her back, which the designer didn’t notice until she was styled, and she was therefore fired.
The first day, Friday, February 15, was Olsen’s favorite day. She got to wear her designer’s largest piece of work, which was a wedding dress designed by Ruby Johnson. Getting to be the model that ends the show is a very big deal, she said.
She admitted that was nervous, but excited. Some of the girls she met had modeled for seven or eight years, and compared to them, Olsen felt inexperienced; she had never done any kind of modeling before.
Does she want to be a model? “I would love to say yes, but my Mom would kill me,” Olsen said, laughing. Different photographers and designers gave her their cards before and after the shows, but finishing her education is more important to her than modeling. She said that she might do a couple of shoots, as long as it’s fun and she has the time to do so.
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