Above: Elona Hope Mitchell-Strong shows models how to walk at an audition for a fall fashion show hosted by the 2 Strong designer at Da Clearport in Schenectady. Photo by Kiki Vassilakis.

Whether you’re a designer or a model, preparing for a fashion show is something like the NFL or the NBA draft pick. 

Take it from someone who has played on both sides of the field—the pressure is on.

You’re working hard all year trying to be the best you can be. Everything seems to be at a boiling point—from buying every VOGUE magazine to working out everyday—when casting day has come. 

If you’re a designer, this is the moment you get to pick your models, It isn’t as stressful as auditioning as a model. Actually it’s hands down the best part. But it can be, if a model lies on his or her comp card (insert eye roll emoji). From a model stand point, this could make or break you. As designers, we work on our collection as we await our model list. Things could get difficult—and frustrating—if a model lies about his or her measurements. Sizes are everything and we have to get it right. 

As a model waiting for auditions, you’re in a room full of other experienced models who have worked and walked in tons of other runways. This shouldn’t discourage you at all but it can be a little intimidating. As you stand waiting to be called into the room to walk for the designer and producers of the show, I suggest you practice your walk and your end pose. Like football and basketball players perfect their skills before draft day.

Finally your number has been called, along with a couple other models, and it’s time to show the producers and designers what you have been working on. You are preparing yourself for this walk, the walk you’ve been working on all year. It’s time to show them all those Tyra Banks compilations paid off. It feels like you’re running down the field with ball in your hand or you’re Michael Jordan in “Space Jam.” This is your moment. 

You hit the end of the runway. It’s your final pose. You know the saying, “If looks could kill?” This should be just that. The final pose should feel like you made the game-winning touchdown, you hit the slam dunk right before the buzzer. That feeling. But even this is just preparation for the true big game. 

When you are cast and the day has finally come, it’s like the Super Bowl. Designers and models are everywhere, hair and makeup artists are hard at work. It’s showtime. Models are being lined up, preparing themselves for the walk. As both a designer and a model, this is the moment you live for. 

Whether it be your collection going down the runway or your turn to model someone else’s designs, it’s a dream come true. It’s an unexplainable feeling of joy. 


Schenectady-based Elona Hope Mitchell-Strong is an artist, model and designer of 2 Strong. The fashion line has been featured in Atlantic City Fashion Week for several years and officially debuted in New York Fashion Week in February 2019 as a model and designer, including the “Walk Fashion Show” Independent Artist Showcase.