Before you know it you will be running out of the door trying to grab everything you need for your next big audition, photo shoot, or fashion show. You want to make sure to always be prepared on the go by having a model bag with you 24/7. This “Model Bag” should contain everything you need in an emergency model situation (will explain more on this later) and in a professional setting. A few things will vary in your bag depending on your designer’s preferences (for example they may require a red pump or silver flat to go perfectly with the outfit they have you wearing in the show) so be sure to always ask your designer at the fitting or as far in advance as you can, if there are any specified wardrobe or shoe requirements for their garments. That way you can be ready to rock the runway and look glam while doing it. And for the record I am not just a beauty queen (Ms. Illinois World 2018, Miss United Nations 2015, Miss United America 2012, etc) I am also a professional model. I’ve modeled in Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week, LA Fashion Week, Paris Fashion Week, Chicago Fashion Week, and completed a World Super Model Tour in China. So let’s get to the important stuff:
We all have those moments either as newbies or as professionals when our designer requests the certain something last minute and there we go on the run. We also have those moments when we see the perfect audition opportunity pop up on facebook, instagram, or other sites… but shoot, we think to ourselves, “what do I need and where do I start?” A model bag will get you ready for your audition and have you ready for show day so you can grab your bag and go. When I model overseas or out of state, like during New York Fashion Week for example, I have found it easier to use a small carry on luggage with swivel wheels as my “Official Model Bag.” I use one with swivel wheels because lord knows after traveling through subways all day, walking down several city blocks in New York, and sometimes up several flights of stairs… the swivel wheels are a saving grace (helps to reduce the strain on your back!) Whereas for local shows I tend to use a cute Victoria Secret duffel bag. I always get compliments when I use my cute duffel/shoulder bag but I prefer to be as organized and as professional as possible so I tend to use a carry on sized luggage. After all, first impression is everything in this business. Now do not get overwhelmed by the items I am going to list below. I will start with the essential items that you should pick up and then I will post additional items so as you progress in your modeling career you can work on staying organized. I specifically wrote this article a month before our Kentucky Derby Fashion Week event and our for our 2nd Ireland Fashion Show, to get our models ready before the shows. I love you all and I hope you find this informative.
Model Bag Items
Essentials that every model should have on the go!
- Shoes: 5 inch Nude Pumps, 5 inch Black Pumps (have a smaller heal for under age 14, make it age appropriate, and if you are not used to wearing a tall heel practice in shorter ones and work your way up). I also carry 6 inch heels and sometimes 7 inch heels since I am on the shorter end as a Runway model. Designers may request other shoes but those two shoes are very standard. A big mistake newer models make is wearing a shoe that is too big (loose) or too tight at model auditions and it shows during their walk. Have a pair of heels that you feel super confident in and practice your work in them every day. I also teach a runway class called Runway Model Boot Camp so if you are in Chicago, Kentucky, New York, Paris, Ireland… check it out. I may be in town, holding a class. I also hold an event called Model Boot Camp where models can build their portfolios. Your walk and your photos are your resume in this industry! It starts with a good pair of heels.
5 inch nude pump
- Proper undergarments: strapless bra(s) of varying kinds (when starting out buy the regular strapless bra and eventually buy varying types like ones without sides, etc), petals work great if the garment requires no undergarment up top, and seamless underwear including full underwear, thong, and shorts. Remember to always stick to nude and bring black or white as a backup. Remember, seamless or smooth undergarments (no lace or bright colors which can show easily under clothing unless your designer requests). Again, ask your designer if they require something special or a specific color. Nude is always the safe answer and is the “essential” color to have when starting out and I might add, nude undergarments are typically the ones you use most often than not.
- Black leggings and black tank top paired with black high heels (or black dress shoes for men). I always have a couple pairs that I leave in my bag so when preparing to leave I simply grab the matching set from my model bag and throw it on. This way I am less stressed and do not have to worry about where I left it. Plus as a professional model (among many other job titles I hold) I am constantly traveling and out of state, so keeping my legging set in my model bag allows me to be on call the moment an opportunity arises. Typically for auditions you need to walk in wearing a fitted outfit consisting of all black. This is because designers and producers need to see your body shape to know which garments will look best on your body type. They need to take your photo and send it to designers. The designers need to review your photo for their vision board they create for the show. If you walk in wearing obnoxious colors and/or loose fitted clothing it is very hard for designers and producers to know what your body shape looks like. Some auditions will require a certain wardrobe requirement, the black legging/tank is the most requested, and when there is not one listed it is always safe to arrive in the black tank and black leggings with your high heels already on walking through the door. This shows that you know what you are doing and that you understand how the business works.
- Fake eyelashes (several different pairs, you can buy multi packs at Walmart), eyelash glue, backup eyelash glue (they tend to dry out easily), little pair of scissors to cut the fake eyelashes to fit your eye shape (watch a youtube tutorial on how to put on fake eyelashes if you do not know how). Remember you must always wear eyeliner with your fake eyelashes so be sure to pack that too! Pack different shades of lipstick and lipgloss to match the designer garment.
- Nail Kit: nail polish remover travel wipes, nail file, light colored polish (you never know when a manicure will chip). Picture below. Always have your nails freshly manicured and painted a “Model Approved” color for the runway. Those colors include: nude, light tan, pale or very light pink. If your designer approves you can wear a french manicure nail or if you are like me and always on the go you can wear the quick glue on nails. If you do it right they look professionally done (I always receive a million compliments when I wear them and it takes me 5 minutes to apply). Here is the link to the brand I like… I stick to the nude or pink base color in the french manicure style (be careful not to buy the clear french manicure set, as it does not look real) Click here.
Travel size polish remover
- Hair products: hairspray, bobby pins, hair ties.
Hair brush (teasing brush for volume and big brush that works for your hair type, it may be travel sized if it works for your hair type). Bring your hair extensions if you wear them.
- Lint brush roller, they now sell a travel sized one that is amazing called Flint Lint (super awesome!) It is available at Bed Bath and Beyond or Walmart. Click here. If you read about this product online or see it in person, you will know why I love it so much. flint brush
- Rescue Kit: bandaids, small alcohol pads, small sewing kit, safety pins (many outfits are actually a size or so too large and sometimes a zipper breaks or a button falls off, safety pins come to the rescue every time. Before using them ask your designer if it is okay as sometimes material can be damaged by safety pins), sanitary products, baby wipes (the floors get dirty backstage when walking barefoot), contact case/solution with a pair of back up contacts if you wear them, and more!
- Technology Kit: pack an ipod or music on your phone, external battery, and phone charger. I always have a back up phone charger packed in my kit and it stays there.
- It usually is cold backstage so I always like to have a small blanket, robe, or warm fuzzy zip up sweater to throw on.
- Flat shoes for when you are leaving the event or driving home
- Dressy outfit (example: little black dress) to wear once the fashion show is over or for the after event. Make sure its something that does not wrinkle so you do not have to stress about it. Bring a backup outfit in your model bag or in your car just in case!
- Jewelry bag that rolls up with zippers: start collecting different ab jewelry, long earrings, studs, etc. Sometimes designers forget their jewelry at a show or shoot. Sometimes designers will ask you to provide your own. Lastly, earrings and jewelry always makes an outfit pop on stage or in shoot. Always ask your designer first before wearing jewelry, see what their preference is and allow them to choose the piece that matches best. Sometimes they prefer no jewelry at all or they are working with an accessory designer.
- Try to pick out a luggage that has a built in lock (one with a code so you do not have to worry about losing the key). This is needed especially when modeling overseas. Things do end up stolen or missing at many events so it is always better to play it safe if at all possible.
- As your career advances you will want to have your model business cards, comp cards, and portfolio in your model bag at all times. That way when someone important (like a designer, photographer, artist, news media member) asks for your information, you have a business card on hand.
- Snacks and bottle(s) of water. You would be surprised… in this industry there is rarely food backstage or during a show, models are often forgotten and not fed, even during major productions. Days tend to be very long during runway shows or shoots so always pack snacks and water. Never drink or eat in a designer garment. That is why it is important to pack that robe I mentioned early, to slip that on in between outfit changes to quickly eat/drink before you go back on set/stage. Passing out is not cute and not cool. Take care of yourself by packing items you can eat. Water is a must!
Do not be overwhelmed by this list. Build your model bag one step at a time. Remember the core essentials like your high heels, undergarments, makeup and hair products (you never know when a hairstylist or makeup artist will be a no show on the day of a fashion show or shoot, yes this has happened many times to me working in the fashion world). I plan to go live on facebook under my personal facebook page “Sherrie Gearheart” to show some of the items I place in my model bag. Also, when needing to pack extra items you can bring a small carry on luggage paired with a duffel bag.
In my next article I will be discussing how you can dress like a superstar during your shoots at absolutely no cost at all! If you have an article topic you want me to discuss or if you have anything to add to this one, please leave a comment or email firstname.lastname@example.org
President of Tiara Magazine
Professional Runway and Print Model
To see Sherrie’s model resume go to www.sherriegearheart.com
Sherrie Gearheart has modeled in Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week, LA Fashion Week, Paris Fashion Week, completed a World Supermodel Tour in China, rocked the runway in Bridal Shows in Tennessee, and more!
Tiara Magazine is a print and online publication that focuses on pageantry, fashion, and modeling. In print, Tiara Magazine is read in 4 countries. Online, Tiara Magazine is read in 177 countries. Tiara Magazine is excited to relaunch its print publication this summer July 2017 and will include photos of models in our fashion shows across the world and USA, Model Boot Camps, and more!
Text: Saif Rahman Sozib