Charleston Fashion Week 2012 is what's happenin' in South Carolina right now. I wish I could be there but we all know why I can't be... (ahem - baby bump). I have been patiently waiting to log this mini memoir about how lucky and how awesome my experience was when I, Ashley Marie, got a chance to walk a real runway in front of a butt load of people.
I was one of those awkwardly skinny and tall teenage girls that really didn't have a figure. If I wasn't a victim of blatant jealousy (that I didn't understand... I wanted curves) I was repeatedly told, "You should be a model!" Ummm... yeah right. Pretty was not something I felt I had going for me. Then, at 22, I had a baby... I sure as hell knew it wasn't going to happen then. Who wants to look at stretch marks and thighs? Turns out, people like girls with figures. Imagine that! You can read about my first real photo shoot (at age 24) here: That Time I Was a Pin Up Model. Fast forward a couple of months and read about how those photos landed me my first runway show here: Cavortress Part 3. Julie Wheat, designer/creator of Cavortress was amazing and passed my information to an agency in Charleston that signed me just a few weeks after that... at age 25! I was on my way... I was ecstatic. I was floored. I looked so completely different than the other girls. For one, I'd given birth and there were signs of that. Two, I had tattoos. Three, I was over the age of 20. I was lucky enough to be asked back for another show late that summer where it was insisted that I audition for Charleston Fashion Week.
Ya gotsta be kidding me. I heard they were expecting 9000, yes... 'THOUSAND', people to attend!
I showed up though... and walked. 800 girls auditioned from 3 different states. 60 of us were chosen. Although I was picked by three designers to walk - a break up with my abusive ex cost me the early morning fittings for 2 of them. Bastard. Luckily, I still made it in time to the fitting for featured designer Jamie Lin Snider! She's originally from Vegas and has a client list of awesome people like Kat Von D! I really remember the whole thing as if it were a dream... but I have proof it happened! Check it:
Everyone else had apartments or hotel rooms,
I snuck into the 4 star hotel next door and got ready in the bathroom...
cuz I was broke and I'm supa fly like that.
This was our practice walk the night before the big show...
"that's a loooong way to walk" was all I kept thinking.
I am not gonna lie, I seriously considered backing out.
This is me backstage before the show, after hair and make up.
All we did was wait and watch the other shows.
We're all staring at a flat screen here,
I assumed the other girls were working up courage like I was...
Yeah, so I wear a 7 1/2. My shoes were a 6 1/2.
I was able to pull it off to the designers relief because I was raised by a Southern grandmother
who often informed me that 'it hurts to be pretty'.
Backstage before the show! The photographer caught me in a ridiculous stance.
In my defense, I seriously thought I was going to fall off of the runway so I practiced.
Over. And over. And over.
I walked around for ever it seemed with my hands on my hips.
Here I am! Posed at the end of the runway!
Shaking like a leaf on the inside...
threatening myself if it showed on the outside.
Walking in front of hundreds of people to a wall of dozens of
photographers with flashing lights is quite a daunting task.
I thought I was going to pass out, if not start crying!
Here is an edited video of the show. The beginning makes it real doesn't it? I clipped the video and I appear second at 2:15 if you want to jump ahead. Around 9:30 the guy holding my camera (aka Bubba Bryant... from Army Wives. Uh, yes! Bragging corner: I kinda dated him for 2 days... I had no idea who he was until he was flocked by screaming girls in the parking garage... word.) does a round about to capture the audience. I think my face is hilarious. I blacked out as soon as I started walking and stepped around the corner and didn't regain consciousness until I was standing in front of the photographers. I really don't ever want to do it again. I kept telling everyone who came up to me afterward I was probably the only model there that didn't want to be there. Although in hind sight, I conquered a bashful fear and nailed it! Boo-ya.
Soooo, yes. That's about it. Except for the dozens of pictures of dozens of experiences I had while down there, which I'll share with you tomorrow. I loved every minute of it (minus the actual show... I still shiver thinking of it) but honestly, I can say, I am glad that I did not pursue a career of runway modeling. I much prefer studio modeling, there's much more pressure but a lot less eyes!
Thanks for listening to me recollect the awesomeness that was one week of glory for me!