Diary of a runway model: What fashion week looks like from the other side

Busy, apparently.

Adelaide Fashion Festival has been and gone for another year. And while we could recap the event for you, this time we decided to view it through the eyes of runway model, Gemma Cowling. Here’s how her week went down.

Day One

Today was: amazing, overwhelming, exhausting, exciting, hilarious.
Today I: started with a fitting with Pip Moroney (who happens to be the fashion editor of Vogue Australia), then after a short coffee break I headed straight to the fitting for the AFF Opening Show. I stayed in that same building until about 8:30pm, getting hair and makeup ready, WAITING, rehearsing and finally walking the show.
Highlight of the day: the moment I walked out from backstage. The lights were so dramatic and the music so beautiful, I felt like I was part of something really special.
Biggest challenge of the day: not falling asleep.
Favourite show: the opening show, of course!
I wore: a body suit/condom? Yeah, a mesh body condom layered with a silk dress and mesh boots. Very Yeezy!
I ate: a smoothie (The Rubus from Argo/the healthiest thing I’ve eaten in several days) and three x chocolate macarons. Maybe a bowl of pasta now that I’m home but really, who knows.
I met: Meaghan Coles the amazing and lucky photographer who gets to follow me around all week.
I wished: I had food in my hands at all times.
I laughed at: myself. I’m so funny.
I was scared of: falling over, missing my cue. The choreography in general, apparently!
I tried: not to fall asleep.
I learnt: what a mesh body condom looks like.
I bought: myself to the places I needed to go. (I am very poor).
I felt: elated.
Favourite person today: myself, obviously.
Best text message received: “dude people were crying”
Quote of the day: “really land the clop. Just really go for it, I need to hear it.”
Final thought: God I’m so lucky, my life is amazing.

Day Two

Today was: scary and exciting.
Today I: walked for the BNKR and Contemporary shows. My day started with my 11am call time, and I was so busy doing rehearsals, last minute fittings, getting my hair and makeup done, and of course walking the shows, that I didn’t see the outside of the tent until 9pm!
Highlight of the day: losing my shoe halfway down the runway and having to complete it in a pair of mustard socks.
Biggest challenge of the day: trying to make ‘nothing but mustard socks’ a fashionable look. Trying not to panic about the consequences.
Favourite show: I’m a huge fan of the team at BNKR so being chosen for that show was a bit of an honour.
I wore: C/MEO COLLECTIVE, Finders, Millicent Elizabeth, Namoi.
I ate: a handful of chips (stolen from a friend), a few apricot squares, a butt-load of canapé sushi.
I met: too many great people to name individually.
I wished: for flat shoes.
I laughed at: myself, again.
I was scared of: my shoes falling off – came true as well!
I tried: socks on the runway, I like to think I succeeded as well.
I learnt: that fashion people are far more forgiving than I’d been led to believe, everyone was very kind about the shoe dilemma.
I bought: guys, I don’t have any money.
I felt: nervous, then fierce, then tired and sore.
Favourite person today: my agent! Thanks for believing me.
Best text message received: “I felt like a proud soccer mum.”
Quote of the day: “God ow! My ears!”
Final thought: God I’m tired.

Day Three

Today was: stressful, exciting, busy!
Today I: rushed to get to a fitting I didn’t know about in half an hour. Arrived at the tent for rehearsals, then hair and makeup while I coveted the looks in the couture dress rehearsal. Showtime, makeup change over during the couture show, and then the second show for the day.
Highlight of the day: meeting and having the pleasure of chatting with pose-extraordinaire Coco Rocha before the cameras whisked her away. Such an incredible and unforgettable moment.
Biggest challenge of the day: heels. Heels will be the death of me.
Favourite show: RTW had some of the best music all week, it toed the line between runway and party.
I wore: Acler, Naomi Murrell, Elizabeth V, The Daily Edited (guess who scored themselves a free monogrammed bag!).
I ate: so much sushi I lost count, literally just handfuls of shredded cheese.
I met: Coco MF Rocha!!!
I wished: for a lifetime supply of avocado sushi, I think I might be developing an addiction.
I laughed at: the poor cameraman who kept getting his shots ruined by my dashes to the catering table
I was scared of: shoes again. I hate heels.
I tried: not to mess up the very simple choreography.
I learnt: what Coco Rocha looks like in person (just as breathtaking, in case you were wondering).
I felt: close to a Britney ’07 breakdown.
Favourite person today: all the show runners for enduring, if not embracing, my chatty delirium and constant double checking.
Best text message received: “well done last night you rocked it.”
Quote of the day: “wait there’s food?!”
Final thought: I REALLY love sushi.

Day Four

Today was: lots of fun.
Today I: finally got a sleep-in before my 1:15pm call time for A Night Of Fashion, then as usual, rehearsals followed by hair and makeup. And trying to perfect my walk backstage. PUTTING DION LEE ON MY BODY and finally showtime at 9:30pm. Then a big night of partying to congratulate myself for a job well done.
Highlight of the day: absolutely getting to strut my stuff in Dion Lee/having people know that I’ve now worn Dion Lee.
Biggest challenge of the day: removing myself from a Strateas Carlucci knot turtle neck dress. Totally worth it.
Favourite show: A Night Of Fashion at the Art Gallery of South Australia.
I wore: Strateas Carlucci. Bianca Spender. MUTHU HECKIN DION LEE.
I ate: a salad, cold rolls, popcorn, lollies, an embarrassing amount of alcohol, a cheese quesadilla I made drunkenly at 4am.
I met: the most efficient dresser I’ve had all week. I even gave her a hug after wrap as she did such a stellar job.
I wished: that AFF could last forever.
I laughed at: Lily Nova. I might have finally found someone as funny as me!
I was scared of: my arms. I had a little walking class with some of the models and realised I should probably do something with them when I walk. Shocker, right?
I tried: to have a regular diet for one damn day.
I learnt: what to do with my arms!
I bought: I made my agent buy me a salad, does that count?
I felt: like the hottest person in the building.
Favourite person today: our stylist, Pip Moroney, and our creative director, Chris Kontos (yeah I know they’re two people but they’re so in sync you can hardly tell). They did such a great job with the festival and I’m really honoured I got to spend all week around them.
Best text message received: “protect my food please”
Quote of the day: “I can wait for you to finish eating.”


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