What Being A Model At Fashion Week Is Really Like

Photographed by Meredith Hattam.
Ah, Fashion Month. Twice a year, we look forward to a whirlwind of collections, the most over-the-top after-parties, and an abundance of street-style shots. It's easy to get wrapped up in the glittery buzz when you're snagging front-row seats at some of the most covetable shows. But, what really goes on behind the scenes?

With all the emerging designers, Fashion Week regulars, and camera-hungry peacocks preening about, we tend to overlook one very important group that endures endless hours of plane rides, castings, and fittings: the models (unless, of course, they are reality stars turned style darlings like Kendall Jenner or Gigi Hadid).

Unlike the new crop of young celebrity mannequins, however, most models' lives off-duty aren't exactly glamorous. As a prelude to New York Fashion Week, we sat down with eight women (from a former Vogue Italia cover star to a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model) to discuss far more than your typical runway fare. What we got was insightful advice, with stories that go deeper than the usual diet and skincare tips. They shared the difficulties of actually making a living as a model, and talked about the unfortunate prevalence of eating disorders, racist clients, sexual harassment, and how lonely, difficult, and temporary working in the industry can actually be. This is what being a fashion model is really like.