My First Time Modelling at London Men’s Fashion Week

By Patrick Henderson

It's after 10PM on Tuesday night and my phone starts buzzing. It's my agent. I still haven’t got to grips with saying that. Why is she ringing me this late? Is she going to ask me to trudge across the capital for yet another casting for a London Men’s Fashion Week show that I’ll inevitably fail to be chosen for? I've only been trying to model for a couple of months now, but have already been to a countless amount of these things and still have fuck all to show for it. I’m beginning to question the value of having someone reject you after scrutinising every last detail of your appearance.

Yet my agent sounds markedly upbeat as she proceeds to tell me something I never thought I’d hear; I have a booking. After all this time, I've finally been confirmed for a major fashion label show, set for tomorrow afternoon. Yay, right? No. Anti-yay. I know I should be happy, but I'm shitting myself. I've put all this effort into being incredibly good looking and, instead of celebrating, the only thing I feel like doing is digging a hole in the floor of my flat and sticking my head in it. The true terrifying horror of standing in front of people while wearing clothes doesn't hit until someone tells you that you've got to do it.  

January 9, 2013

09:49
I wake up after a terrible night’s sleep and hurriedly shower and shave. A quick glance in the mirror and the paranoia sets in. I’m pretty sure I don’t normally have this many spots. Am I usually this pale? What’s with the sad, drooping bags around my eyes? Dragging myself away from the mirror, I get dressed and rush to the tube, enjoying a torturous 40-minute reflection of everything that could go wrong today.

10:55
I arrive five minutes early, because nothing says bad boy, model diva like promptness. The bloke at reception quickly pushes me through a door leading to a series of corridors I need to make my way through. Along the way, I realise I kind of need a piss, so I make a brief stop in the john. I quickly get the job done, pull up my light grey slacks, move over to the mirror and immediately regret both the speed of my urination and my choice of trouser colour, as I look down to see a patch of dark grey spread across my crotch. For fuck’s sake.

11:01
Having tried to elevate my groin towards the hand-dryer, only to realise that intentionally warming up my pissy trousers is worse than the initial act itself, I decide to go back to basics and try to cover the stain with my hand. That makes me look like I've either just broken my arm, or I have a fondness for limply cupping my crotch in public. Flustered and apparently incontinent, I enter the room and shake hands with the stylists and make-up artists. Sorry about the wee residue, guys.

11:34
My make up’s just been done. Nothing too fancy – I think the term they used was "raw". I’m quite pleasantly surprised, actually, since I was half-expecting something hyper fashion, i.e idiotic. I get up from my seat confidently and am beckoned towards another stylist. He scrawls some random patterns on my face with a paintbrush. I now look like a suburban club-kid dressing as a pirate on a paper-round budget.

12:59
A bunch of impossibly handsome models turn up and I shrink nervously back into my shell. Everyone’s talking among themselves about upcoming projects and networking opportunities, and I play Angry Birds in a desperate attempt to cocoon myself into a safety bubble of 2D cartoon animals. I’m pretty sure I look like I’m being really arrogant and aloof, but I’m actually on the verge of an anxiety attack. At least the piss stain is drying out.

13:18
Finally I’m offered some respite, as the head stylist summons me to don my catwalk outfit. 

13:50
The rest of the models and myself are being led like a bunch of cattle into an exhibition hall. I’m told to stand underneath a spotlight. Ten minutes later, beautiful people start filling the room.

14:19
Fucking hell this is boring.

14:36
I keep on phasing out and thinking about sex. Shit, I think I feel the twinges of a boner. I really don’t want to belittle myself even further by flashing my flesh in public. Maybe that would be edgy, though? Maybe I'd make headline news and be offered campaign jobs with brands who think photos of semi-erect penises squished into trousers sells clothes?

14:44
Erection averted, I’m starting to get sore legs, so I have a little look about to see what the other lads are up to. One of them is getting busy assuming all sorts of wacky poses, while I’ve just been standing here like a grade-A chump. Am I doing it wrong or is he making himself look like a fool? Why doesn’t anyone tell me these things? (I'm pretty certain he was making himself look like a fool. No man can pout can with hands on hips and not look like a moron.)

14:52
I swear to god, if I hear this loop of music one more time I’m going to go mental. This is definitely too long for a man to be left alone with his thoughts. Well, not alone – there was a middle-aged Japanese man in a bob wig caressing my shoulders for a while, but I'm trying to blank that bit out because it made me feel kind of weird and objectified.  

15:00
It’s over. That wasn’t too bad, although I’m still not sure I did it right. Is there a right way to model? We walk back to the dressing room and I’m expecting cocaine and babes, neither of which are delivered. I can’t say I’m not crushingly disillusioned, but I settle for a £5 bottle of artesan mineral water and make my way back home, vowing to become the new David Gandy, date mid-level popstars and spend the next ten years getting paid for wearing clothes in public.

Follow Patrick on Twitter: @spirit_of_yoof

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