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Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Runway Walk: Make It Your Own--Don't Be a Clone!

Nothing makes aspiring models want to be in the industry more than the idea of strutting down a catwalk.

I've had my fair share of messages and inquiries from people asking for tips, resources, tutorials, advice, etc. related to how to do this type of walk.

In answering all these inquiries, I realized that it is important for me to point out that when it comes to practicing and developing a solid runway walk, it isn't about imitating exactly what is seen on television and YouTube videos.

Male models and female models alike, take note of the title of this blog post. When learning how to do your runway walk, it isn't about copying other people. I often tell newbie models to refer to videos of fashion shows in order to study the models and the different styles of walks there are. These resources are more for inspiration--not to be copied exactly.

Truth be told, there are many runway models in those videos whose walks aren't that good. If you've watched enough of them, you can easily tell which ones have a great strut (male and female) and which ones are eh, so-so but were good enough to make the cut.

Because no two models walk exactly the same way, it doesn't make sense to try and copy any of them. Below are some quick reminders as to what should be kept in mind when it comes to developing your own strut:

Use Videos for Inspiration Only

It's fine to watch fashion show videos and experiment with your walk based on what you see. This is a great way to figure out which styles of walking you feel comfortable doing and which ones you'd rather not attempt (or know you need to work on to master).

The goal when watching these videos isn't just about learning the actual walk but observing how each model in the fashion shows commands the room with their presence. Check out their facial expressions, posture, how they pose at the end and top of the catwalk, how they work with the clothes and incorporate certain aspects of the wardrobe into their walk (i.e. dresses with pockets, jackets, capes, scarves, etc.).

When you think you're ready, start off by trying to copy what you've watched but start branching off and adding your own spin to things. That's how you form a signature walk all your own.

Don't Take That Last Sentence Too Literally

Modeling isn't an exact science. It's about going with the flow, being in the moment and adapting. Developing your own style of walking doesn't mean coming up with a way to walk in a fashion show that's never been seen before. No need for that level of creativity (so if you're thinking that blowing a kiss and kicking up your heel each time you get to the end of the runway is a great idea, don't do it!).

For the love of all things modeling: keep it simple. You'd be surprised how much more of an impact subtlety will get you when it comes to this topic.

The more you practice your walk, the more you'll start doing little things that make you feel at your best whenever you're strutting. This could be anything from adding a touch more sway to your hips (for women) to shooting a sexy smirk when you pose at the end of the runway (for men or women).

Those don't sound like the most original ideas, right? That's because there's not meant to be completely original. However, great models are able to take those subtle movements and incorporate their own brand of body language into their walks that makes them memorable. And you can do it, too.

The Bottom Line: Practice

The quickest path towards developing your own style of walking is to practice. A lot. Not till your feet break out into blisters but you should be working on your walk at least a few times a week. For how long? That's up to you. Squeeze it into your schedule as best you can--it's not a hard exercise to accommodate. Even 10-15 minutes a day would be ideal.

The more you practice, the more at ease you'll feel about adding things and/or experimenting with the way you walk. To get the best results, have a full length mirror to practice with. Set it up to be as upright against the wall as possible (if you're not able to mount it to the wall) and work on walking towards it and away from it. Observe yourself from head to toe and tweak things as needed.

Over time you'll find yourself walking in a whole new way and, hopefully, in a way that makes people remember you, whether you're working it in a local fashion show or the big leagues at Fashion Week.

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