How a Runway Model Survives Fashion Week
We like to think a runway model during the throes of fashion month is akin to a long-distance runner pacing herself through a marathon. Though there are short bursts of high-adrenaline moments (namely, the actual walking of the shows), the majority of the race consists of keeping up your stamina at a steady pace, with the goal of finishing strong (i.e., preferably not crawling on all fours to the finish line). Having personally endured the gruelling, glamorous fête that is fashion week, we’re fascinated by how models manage to survive not just a week, but a whole month of running from show to show—from the piling on of makeup and the frying of hair to the champagne-laden after-parties. So, we were thrilled when It model Georgia Graham of Ford Models gave us a peek into how she keeps it together during fashion month (and still looks flawless). After walking for Creatures of Comfort, Tanya Taylor, and Osklen in New York, Graham is jetting off to London for the next leg of her journey—but not before sharing her fashion month beauty routine (and some witty repartee).
Keep scrolling to see how Graham’s fashion month beauty routine!
What are some of your favorite beauty products to help you survive NYFW, and why?
Graham: I love using cooling and hydrating face masks to rehydrate and refresh my skin, since it takes a beating from all the products and the stage lighting. I like super-thick ones, or those fabric ones because then you can take scary selfies and send them to your friends. The SK-II Facial Treatment Mask ($135) is amazing and is also great for Freddy Krueger selfies. The La Mer Intensive Revitalizing Mask ($165) is also a dream, and Aesop products are always beautiful and natural. Sometimes, I also like the special pharmaceutical brands you get from the drugstores in Paris, like Sisley or Biotherma. Also, it's not exactly a beauty product, but water. It’s really important to drink loads of water; otherwise you can easily get very dehydrated with all the running around and stifling backstage areas.
For you, what's the #1 challenge beauty-wise during NYFW?
Graham: Getting enough sleep. It takes a lot of self-discipline not to go out every night during fashion week, but getting as much sleep as possible definitely has a noticeable effect on both your appearance and your general mood. That said, dancing is good for the soul.
How do you keep your skin from breaking out after the heavy makeup from all the shows?
Graham: I always take off all of the makeup as soon as the show is over—even though sometimes it’s so beautiful that I feel guilty immediately destroying the makeup team's hard work! I carry my own makeup remover and moisturizer in my bag so that even if the make up team have left, I can still do a solo scrub-down backstage after the show. I use Bioderma Crealine ($18), like everyone! And I've started getting paranoid about aging because all the other models are so young, so I've been using Boots No.7 Early Defence ($18) creams. I also use a clay mask called Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay ($8), which I buy from Whole Foods. It sucks out all the impurities from your skin and unclogs your pores of any residual makeup or oil. I don't know if there was ever an Aztec fashion week, but I’m sure this would have been their go-to as well.
Courtesy of Georgia Graham
What's your hair routine like during NYFW? Any products you swear by?
Graham: I'm pretty low-maintenance hair wise—usually just wash and go. During fashion week, I use deep-conditioning treatments like Aveda’s Dry Remedy Moisturizing Treatment Masque ($36) to undo the damage done by all the heat styling. Otherwise you finish the week looking like Sideshow Bob because your hair is so dry.
Fashion week parties are notorious for being wild and glamorous—what’s your makeup and hair plan of attack?
Graham: Often you end up going straight from a show, so you just cross your fingers that the hair look will look equally good off the runway! The best example of that was Sam McKnight's amazing punk hair for Vivienne Westwood in Paris last season. He created it using sugar water, like the proper punk formula, and I wore it out all night.
In terms of makeup, I generally just put on some bright lipstick and eyebrow gel so that your skin doesn't suffer too much from caking on even more makeup. I think if MAC ever stopped making their clear brow gel, I might have to shave [my eyebrows] off—I can't live without it. In terms of lipstick, I like MAC's Lipstick ($17) in Cyber, or Lady Danger and Ruby Woo mixed together to make the perfect red. Nars and Illamasqua also do amazing matte pigmented lipsticks in groovy colors. I also always carry some massive J.Lo hoops in my purse, which add some ghetto glamour to an otherwise boring outfit.
How do you unwind after a long day of shows?
Graham: Always take off your makeup! And slather on as much moisturizer as you can bear before bed so that you wake up all glowy and hydrated. I like the Boots No.7 Night Cream ($21). Putting moisturizer on your face is weirdly therapeutic as well.
Japanese makeup artists do the most incredible draining face massages, which I once tried to replicate at home. I ended up bruising my eye from being too aggressive, so best leave those to the professionals.
What's the first thing you do after your last show?
Graham: Go out! Often, it’s the only time of year when all your friends are in one city, so it’s fun to go out and catch up with everyone. However, the day after, I usually am super anti-social and spend the whole day sleeping and doing face masks at home.
Follow Graham on Instagram for a behind-the-scenes look at her life, plus plenty of fashion and beauty inspiration.
Want more fashion week inspo? Click here for the 13 best manicures we’ve seen backstage.