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Wayne Post
  • Intrepid reporter walks the runway for Fashion Week of Rochester

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  • About six months ago, I received a text message from my mother.
    “They are looking for models for Rochester Fashion Week. Send wedding pics.”
    Several years ago, I first read about Fashion Week of Rochester’s inaugural season. The brainchild of community residents Chantiza Stern and Meghan Mundy, Fashion Week of Rochester is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to bring a taste of big-city style fashion events to Rochester by hosting fashion-based charity events, which benefit the Center for Youth.
    The annual four-day event includes daily runway shows at various places around the city featuring hip fashions from local designers and national chains, entertainment by renowned DJs and the piece de resistance, community members as models.
    Though I wasn’t sure if I would fit in among a community of local models, I decided to give it a whirl and sent over a couple pictures from my Rochester-area wedding back in September 2012 to Mundy for review.
    While I didn’t have any professional modeling experience, I was a theatre minor at Nazareth College and enjoy acting in community theatre productions from time to time. Plus, I am down for any experience that involves a free afternoon at a Pittsford salon followed by playing dress-up in beautiful fashions.
    After a few weeks of obsessively checking my email, I thought I was out of the running. Several months later, I received an email from Mundy’s assistant sharing the good news. I was going to be a model in Fashion Week of Rochester!
    Panic ensues.
    What was the time commitment? What would I be wearing? How do I ‘work’ the runway?
    Honestly, I didn’t know if I was cut out for the runway, but my editor jumped at the story idea of local reporter turns model, so I guess I was in it for the win.
    After turning to a few episodes of America’s Next Top Model and practicing my runway walk in the living room, I was starting to feel more confident. Soon enough, I was meeting with the good people at Feltro Fashions and Headz Up Hats, two local designers whose creations I would model on Friday, Oct. 17, at the runway show at The Third Presbyterian Church in Rochester.
    On the day of the runway show, I arrived at Pittsford’s W Salon for hair and makeup, where a team of stylists prepared me for the main event.
    45 minutes later, looking runway worthy and with a goodie bag of styling products courtesy of W Salon, I headed to the nearest drive-thru for a quick bite before the show. No worries, I was careful not to smudge my makeup, but I am sure a real model wouldn’t hit up fast food before hitting the runway. But, that’s why the fashion gods designed Spanx, right?
    Page 2 of 2 - By 6:30 p.m., I was doing a quick practice walk down the runway and locating my outfits backstage, donning a gorgeous baby blue fascinator from Headz Up Hats.
    30 minutes before the show, I asked a fellow model if there was any specific way to strut down the runway.
    “Yes," she told me, "walk towards the center of the stage, then pose. Then, walk towards the right and pose. Then, walk towards the left and pose. Then, walk down the runway, return and strike a final pose.”
    Tyra Banks didn’t cover this on America’s Next Top Model, and apparently, I missed the rehearsal a couple weeks prior.
    I decided to call on my inner theatre minor and improv. Within minutes, I was standing in line with my fellow models outside the stage door and nervously hopping around. Then, I heard the strains of our entrance music from the DJ. It was George Michael’s, “Faith,” the 1980s pop anthem that always gets me moving.
    “Ladies, we can do this,” I announced to my fellow models. As Mundy started to cue each of us out onto the runway towards the full audience, I couldn’t help but start smiling. In that moment, I became a model. I even managed to get out a few poses. As my designer at Headz Up Hats said to me, “Make sure to work it!” Thankfully, I did.
    For more on Fashion Week of Rochester, visit www.fashionweekofrochester.org

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