Spending a week in the company of the world’s top models sounds like it could be quite soul destroying, but it’s been fascinating to watch them in action.
If there’s one thing I learned at New York Fashion Week, it’s that personality and being yourself count for more than anything else. In a sea of beauty, a person’s energy and personality quirks become a hundred times louder.
Pamela Bernier, Joan Smalls and the girl with the annoying combo of being tiny with big, perky boobs, who had the audacity to keep walking past me at Jeremy Scott, all made me want stick my head in the nearest oven, of course. But my favourite girls had attitude, unconventional beauty and a toughness that shone through the common editorial bone structure.
I know walking along a runway for a few minutes isn’t exactly toiling away at the coalface, but what you don’t see is that, behind the scenes, these girls are poked, prodded and pulled from pillar to post for hours on end, multiple times a day, before they float serenely down the catwalk with their game face on. They work really hard.
But let’s not feel too sorry for them – they’ve all got Chanel bags. Here are the girls with a little something extra than just physical beauty, who caught my eye this week…
1. Leona ‘Binx’ Walton
Backstage is a pretty stressful place to be. Dozens of people frantically trying to make a show happen is not conducive to a calm atmosphere. I was in the firing line of hairdryer slipstreams and unexpected clouds of hairspray mist in the face more than once. In the hair and make-up melee, I noticed a girl who looked like she was wondering what she did wrong in a past life to end up here. But behind that sad face, you could tell there was core of steel, augmented by her tough-as-nails undercut. I love her a bit.
2. Hanne Gaby Odiele
I told Hanne I liked her Hooters jumper while she was having her make-up done for Michael Kors. She looked at me like she wanted me to die. Strangely, this only made me like her more. She was amenable to having a Polaroid taken half an hour later and she liked one of my Instagrams, so perhaps we’re friends now.
3. Julia Nobis
As they say in her native Australia, this girl has heaps of spunk. She’s also clearly deluded because she seems to think I could have a go at contouring, à la the DVF show, to get her cheekbones. I like that Julia has a strong nose, tattoos and badass yet graceful poise. She also did the Donna Karan runway rehearsal while shoving a cupcake in her mouth, which I loved.
4. Ola Rudnicka
Or ‘Shmushy Nose’ as I christened her on Day one. It was really interesting to see top models with imperfections – it made me feel better about my own weird nose. Ola looked like the human version of a unicorn – white hair, bleached eyebrows and I swear she actually glowed. I had to change my camera settings quite dramatically to take a photo of her because her skin reflected way more light than anyone else. I’m still not convinced she’s actually human.
5. Natalie Westling [on the left]
This girl could, and definitely might, beat me up. She walks like a builder and she’s got a bit of a gob on her. A week of watching people ordering the models around like dogs was tough to take, so I enjoyed her talking back to a rude photographer immensely.
We had a bit of a fashion moan together while she had her make-up done at Marc Jacobs. Lexi has soldiered through 23 shows with Red Bull running through her veins. That was her beauty tip.
Black Friday 2021
During downtime between shows, Karlie, who is taller than most giraffes, likes to work out. She particularly enjoys a SoulCycle session. On the one day I had downtime between shows, I went home for a nap. I’ve done SoulCycle before, so I can say this with absolute confidence – a nap is a much better way to spend your downtime at Fashion Week. That’s my beauty tip.