A Word On Self Discovery: My Walk on the Runway

I stood there vowing to myself that I would never, ever, EVER do this again. My heart was pounding, my hair was teased to the side in a style reminiscent of the late 1980s, while my bangs screamed 40s. I was wearing more makeup than I quite possibly ever had worn in my life, and I had no idea what I was going to do once I got out there. What was I doing in a one of a kind, designer suit ready to walk down a runway? People were watching, and I was expected to walk in heels, not trip, be professional, take off the suit jacket, pose here, pose there, pose for the camera and what else…oh yes, breathe! How did I get myself into this anyway? Ah yes, the sign in the window.

My husband and I had been walking in our city and passed a sign that said “Model Casting Call”, and my dear, sweet husband said, “You should do that.” He is very kind, but I am constantly asking him if he needs to go to the eye doctor and get an exam. Me? I’m old (for a model, ok?), a mom of three, and well … hmmm, the wheels started churning. My husband knew that I had attended the last fashion show with friends and loved it. What my husband did not know, was that although I enjoyed the atmosphere and the clothes, I secretly, deep down, wanted to BE one of those girls. I wanted to wear something pretty and walk up and down the runway.

So, when that near blind husband of mine suggested that I go to the casting call, my insides went, “Really? I think I will!” And I did. You better believe I did. I showed up, put on a LOT of moisturizer (last minute wrinkle control), donned my skinny jeans and toted myself down to the casting location. I was one of the first to arrive, which was almost a mistake, because one by one, I saw beautiful girls enter. Did I mention they were young? Did I mention I was old? I was measured, photographed, asked to walk (ha!), and then I was asked to try on a wedding gown. A what? Oh wait … the very fact that I was being asked to try something on meant that I was being considered, so off I went. The gown was beautiful, made of silk and feathers, and … it FIT. Wow, that was easy. Honestly, that was the easy part for sure.

In the next weeks, there were more fittings, more outfits, a lot of  “youtube-ing” to learn how to walk (because I was told that my walk was too athletic and bouncy), as well as running and watching what I ate. Yes, I will admit to that. Oh, and lots and LOTS of extra moisturizer and eye cream. And there I was…in all my glory, waiting to walk. With a short run through the night before and hair and makeup that had consumed most of the day, there I stood. Nervous. Mad at myself AND mad at my husband. Who was I to think that I could do this? Who was HE to suggest that I should? Surely I would trip or have a wardrobe malfunction or not make it into the next clothing change (which I had to do while two people walked … I was model #1 and #4 in a clothing line of only 5 pieces). So here it is again…heart beating, hair sprayed, false eyelashes on, thinking “Why, why, why?” Then, our line started, and I had to walk. I mustered up the courage, and I did (basically because I had no choice).

I walked out. I did not trip or drop my jacket. I felt the rhythm of the music. I saw the brightness of the lights. Then something happened. I heard clapping. I heard people calling my name to cheer me on (I still do not know which friends of mine were there, but they made a difference). I saw my ever encouraging, loving husband on the front row. Then I felt it. I sensed support. I experienced a sense of community. I knew that the group of fashion lovers was there to watch and cheer on the art of style. I turned, I posed, I walked, and…I loved it!

In about a minute flat I went from, “I will never do this again,” to “I can’t wait to do this again!”

That wedding dress change for piece #4? It was accomplished before model #2 was done walking. I had the pleasure of walking 4 different pieces on two different runways that evening, and I can truly say I haven’t had that much fun in a long time. The love from the audience combined with the camaraderie among the models and new friendships made along with, of course, walking a runway (hello?) all made for a fun experience. I actually put “walk a runway” on my bucket list so that I could immediately cross it off…it was never on there because I really did not think it would ever happen.

Old? Maybe comparatively. It’s nothing that a little extra moisturizer and water intake won’t stave off at least for a while. More running and healthy eating to stay in shape for the next show? Absolutely. Actually scratch that…I say absolutely, positively, without a doubt.

Doing something a bit outside of my comfort zone allowed me to discover a new part of myself - a part that someone else saw. My saunter down the runway taught me not only that I could overcome my fears but also to pay attention to what others see in me. The power of believing in yourself is only equaled by the power of someone else believing in you. I am already saving the date for the next show.

 

A huge thank you goes out to my husband of 23 years for always encouraging me to be myself and follow my dreams. XO

 

Author: Jennifer Prince @hillcitybride http://www.hillcitybride.com/

Photos: Gabriel Gonzalez @gabrielfoto http://gabrielfoto.com/

 

 

Jennifer Prince