Martha Hunt On The Harsh Reality Of Modeling Before Booking Victoria's Secret

Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images.
When said out loud, "Fashion Week" has a double meaning — and for anyone who's ever been a part of all the action, feeling weak is not only par for the course, it's often the reason we love fashion to begin with. So, in honor of the moments of chaos, beauty, and excitement that made us feel weak, we present My Fashion Week-ness: a compilation of accounts from some of the industry's biggest players. They're spilling their most memorable stories from Fashion Weeks gone by, and the ones that keep them coming back for more.

When a model complains, it's often kind of hard to feel bad for them — right? There are the free clothes, the ad campaign paychecks, and their Instagram accounts make it seem like they're on vacation every other week. But model Martha Hunt is here to tell you that what goes on behind the cameras can either make or break young hopefuls who are just starting out. And getting to the status of living that jetsetting, glamorous existence one might assume a model lives often comes after to a lot of rejection, and, of course, one big break.

Hunt, who just debuted her own sneaker, is using her hard-earned platform to speak about issues outside of the fashion world. The model recently paid a visit to R29 HQ to raise awareness for scoliosis, a spinal disease that she suffers from herself. And when we got to chatting about her participation in Fashion Week this season, it brought up memories from her rookie days, when hitting the catwalk wasn't always a guarantee. Nowadays, Hunt gets to skip the line from time to time, but that wasn't always the case.

"There've been times where I'd been up until 3 a.m. in a fitting, and then they say, 'Well, you'll do the show if your outfit is finished in time for the show.' So then, I'll go backstage at the show in the morning, wondering if I'm even doing the show. And in times like that, if it's a big show, so it has the potential to be a career changing moment to walk it. But usually, I ended up doing it, so that wasn't so bad.

"But I've gotten canceled for shows at the last minute, which is really painful, especially when I'd been up for so many tired hours for the fitting leading up to it. And that can happen to you with high-fashion, luxury brands, or indie designers. One instance I remember: I'd been at a fitting all night, trying on so many different clothes, wearing a nude body suit to try on with each different outfit, but then I was canceled. And that was really hard.

"Because the thing with Fashion Week is that you're doing so many other fittings and shows, and you really don't get to sleep. And something like that can mess up your entire schedule. I've been to fittings for shows where I've walked in and they've had cots laid out for us to sleep on while we wait for our turns. I don't think people realize how hard it is on young girls, especially at the beginning of your career. But once you establish yourself a little more, there's more leverage to negotiate a later call time.

"There've been so many moments where I just wanted to give up, literally quit, and throw my suitcase in the middle of the street and tell my agent, 'Get me the first cab out of here. I'm done.' But there are shows that come out of nowhere that you just can't believe it's actually happening. I've tried out for shows — not even necessarily because I wanted to but my past agencies made me — where I got so much rejection before things took off.

"But then, you'll get the random Givenchy couture show out of nowhere. That, for example, was my first big show. And I was so nervous, but it took a while for me to even be comfortable with myself; to understand why designers wanted to start using me. And I'll always have Riccardo [Tisci] to thank for that. He took a chance on me before anybody else did."
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