Runway Castings - Drea Vujovic

March 2013

Drea Vujovic (right) with Chantale Nadeau's Alanna Whittaker
It's almost Toronto Fashion Week!

You know what that means?
RUNWAY castings for all of our favourite Canadian Designers!

So what does a casting director look for? How should you walk? Where do you look when you are walking at a casting and at a show? What should you wear? How far do you walk? Do you pose? For how long?

These are just a few questions that go through every new model's head during this crazy casting period in every fashion capital in the world.

I have had the privilege of working as a runway and model coach with every top agency in Toronto for the past five years, answering all of the above questions and making sure every girl that leaves my classroom stands out at castings and on the runway with a walk that was designed just for her. I have coached some of Canada's newest rising runway stars who have walked for Prada, Balenciaga, Valentino, Miu Miu, Givenchy, Dior and Helmut Lang... just to name a few! I have also been blessed to work with power casting director Paola Fullerton from the shOws for several seasons where I learned everything from the casting procedure to running shows featuring top Canadian ex pat designers.

I want to share some tips so you all feel ready, excited and positive during Fashion week!

If you are serious about being a model, you must do your research.
  • Study: designers, models, photographers, fashion magazines, trends etc..
  • Check out websites like under the heading “Fashion Shows,” to see what the runway walking trends are this season
  • Take a look at as many shows as you can - walking in a long summer dress is very different from walking in a fitted fall coat
  • Pay attention to the speed, arm movement, length of step and pose (if there is one) on the runway
  • Compare the pace of the music to the pace of the runway walks
  • PRATICE! Practice makes perfect!

    SHOES: Modeling, like most things in life, is an investment. I always tell my girls to invest in a great pair of classic heels. These heels will last you several seasons and should only be worn in your home when you're practicing and at your castings. A tall skinny heel that has a slight front platform is always my first choice! They are comfortable and give that amazon long leg illusion.
  • Tip: make sure the bottom on your heels aren't slippery by sticking outsole grips on the soles. This will also prolong the life of your heels!
  • Avoid: wedge heels, high boots and small heels
  • Here is a interview I did with CHCH news on different kinds of heels and how to get your legs show-time ready:

    OUTFIT: Your casting outfit should be plain and simple whilst showcasing a bit of your personality. Wear something that shows off your figure like a little black dress with a cool belt or a mini black skirt with a tank top and your favourite rocker t-shirt on top or black tights with the same tank top and t-shirt.
  • Tip: Once you have your casting outfit put together, wear this outfit to ALL of your castings! Yes, you read that right, wear this outfit to ALL of your castings. Modeling expenses can add up, and this is a great way to save money - you won't have the “I don't know what to wear,” problem either. Remember, the biggest investment goes towards your heels! Wear a skin-coloured bra and a skin-coloured g-string to your castings incase you're asked to try something on! Avoid white undergarments because they will show through most fabrics.
  • Avoid: clubbing clothes - you want to look young and fresh not 16 trying to be 25, jeans that can add bulk, tops and bottoms that have an a-line shape - we want to see your figure. Also, don't over accessorize. It is distracting and time-consuming to take off if you're asked to try on an outfit. Your best accessory is your personality!

  • Skin: No makeup or very minimal makeup. A casting director wants to see what you look like naturally. Your portfolio will show how your look can change, but in person we want to see you! Plus, you don't want to get makeup on the designer's clothing if you're asked to try something on.
  • Moisturize your skin, paying particular attention to your elbows and knees which can get super dry during the winter season. My favourite moisturizer is Aquaphor - it's fragrance free and can be used on the body and lips! It comes in a 50g tube that you can carry with you all the time.
  • Hair: Please go to your casting with clean, straight hair and a hair elastic around your wrist if you're asked to tie your hair back.
  • Tip: always show up with clean and/or natural polish on your nails.
  • Avoid: perfume

  • Arrive on time! Your call time was scheduled for you!
  • Change into your runway heels right before you enter the location - remember they're your investment and you want to take good care of them
  • Introduce yourself and smile! Your smile means more than you think!
  • You may get asked a few questions from the casting directors - ie: What's your name, how old are you, what agency are you with, how long have you been modeling for, who took this picture (know your photographers!) etc...
  • I always do a mock casting when I am coaching my girls - having a confident introduction is important! THE WALK:
  • The casting team will tell you where to start and finish your walk.
  • If you're not told where to stop, I suggest stopping at least 5 feet away from the casting team. We want to see what you will look like at the end of a runway, not up your nose.
  • You may get asked to walk again, to walk faster or slower, pose or not pose etc... Casting directors may be casting for more than one show and want to see a variety of walks from you.
  • I always get asked, “where do I look?” Look straight ahead! Have a focal point that is at eye level and make that's your target. If the casting director is taking a video - look directly into the lens.
  • Tip: Listen to direction and don't be scared to ask if you don't understand something. Don't let more experienced models intimidate you! You are at this casting because you're going to be a great model one day too!
  • Avoid: Being late and being loud while you're waiting at the casting

  • Your agency will send you a schedule of your week and call times
  • make sure your nails are clean with a sheer natural nail colour and that your hair was washed the night before
  • Snacks and water. You may be at the venue for a full day!
  • A phone charger: Your phone should be full on battery at all times if your agency has to get in touch with you
  • a book
  • a variety of undergarments: black and nude bra with matching seamless g-string underwear
  • insoles incase your shoes are too big
  • a scarf that may be used to cover your hair and makeup when you're changing into your looks
  • streak free deodorant
  • a few extra comp cards
  • When you arrive, check in! The person in charge of checking you in will usually have a clipboard and ask you what your name is and what show you are doing
  • The hair and makeup team have an allotted time for each designer so make sure your hair and makeup are finished during that time. When you see an open seat - get there! Don't forget to check in after you're done at each station. If you have back to back shows, make sure you get back to H&M; as soon as your show finishes!
  • When everyone is done - you will head backstage
  • If there is time, a walk through will happen, if not listen carefully to the backstage team on what your pace should be and what the pose will be like if there is a pose
  • Each model will have a dresser - this person has been trained to help you get in and out of your outfit. Remember where your rack and dresser are!
  • Once everyone is in their first look, media may take some backstage photographs before you're put in your lineup
  • All the models will be lined up and told when to walk out
  • ALWAYS walk in the middle, and when you're passing another model move to the right and then back to the middle once you've passed one another. Nothing looks worse that a wide runway with a model walking on the edge.
  • Remember what was asked from you: pace, pose, mood etc... You don't want to be the only model who doesn't flow with the overall theme
  • BREATHE and RELAX! A lot of new models hold their breath and exhale when they reach the end of the runway. This results in body builder like necks in their runway photographs.
  • HIGH HEELS - heel, ball, toe - that should be the order of each step - many girls walk on their tippy toes when they're in high heels.
  • LOOK straight ahead! I tell my runway girls to have powerful eyes from beginning to end. Don't try to look around at all the cameras - just the one straight ahead at eye level (which you won't even see)
  • TURN back and keep that strong powerful walk until you exit the runway - you will turn left walk back up the right hand side (YOUR right, as you're walking back) of the runway and exit on the right side (opposite side you entered the runway unless you're told otherwise)
  • CHANGE quickly if you have another outfit and get back in you lineup - someone will be there to help you get in line. Make sure you are communicating and answering if you hear your name being called!
  • IF you are closing the show - you will walk down the MIDDLE on your way back also!
  • FINALE - with at least arms length distance, follow the girl in front of you
  • CONGRATS - you just finished your show!

    For more tips, updates on models that have trained with me, or if you want to book a runway class, check out my runway coaching page:

    Drea xo