24 Hours with Samantha Swan

This year at New York Fashion week, former SCAD student Samantha Swan modeled in numerous shows. We’ve all been following the endless glamour and excitement of fashion week, but what is it like to be part of? Here, a snapshot of 24 hours as a NYFW model.


I typically wake up between 5:30-7 AM; it really just depends on the day and on how many castings I have. I wake up, shower, and get ready as quickly as I can, because I somehow always manage to sleep in a little bit too long. I get the schedule that my agents emailed to me the night before, so if I have a lot of castings, I have to do some strategic planning in order to make it to all of them.

I always intend to make a quick, healthy breakfast, but that never works out during fashion week. Instead, I make a raw, organic meal replacement smoothie that has a ton of protein and probiotics. They’re really quick and last me until lunch time.

6:30 –  7:30 AM: I’m out the door and on the way to the first casting. Commuting into Manhattan takes about an hour, so that’s something I have to think about.

How Castings Work

You wait until the client will see you. They take photos/digitals of you, and you walk for them either once or a couple of times (a couple times is even better!!). If you are what the client is looking for, meaning your “look”, or if they just like you, they will ask you to try on some of the clothes. Castings can be hit or miss, regarding time. The wait can either be 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours, 3 hours, etc. There can be hundreds of girls at big castings for huge designers. This fashion week, I waited at a casting for 7 hours just to walk for a very important casting director who casts for top designers. (I didn’t get home until 2 am.) I usually have about 6-8 castings in a day.

8 – 9:30 AM: I’m probably at my first casting by now, and I’m probably very early. I learned this the hard way: don’t arrive on time. Don’t even arrive 30 minutes early. Your best bet is to arrive over an hour early, because by the time you arrive on time to your 9 AM casting, there’s probably over 30 other girls waiting ahead of you.

Commuting to each casting via train, taxi, or Uber takes around 30 minutes.

10 – 11:00 AM: 2nd casting. Repeat process. I also have to remember to drink water, because it’s already 100 degrees and dehydration is a very real thing.

12 – 1:00 PM: 3rd casting. Repeat process, but luckily I know some other models at this casting so it’s fun and time goes by quickly. Drink more water.

Sitting down for lunch is very rare, and something that probably won’t happen. Truthfully, there’s no time for lunch! I’ll try to grab quick things to eat from Starbucks or something, if I’m lucky I’ll come across a smoothie place.

1:30 – 4:00 PM: Confirmed for a show (great!!) with a call time of 1:30 PM. I run from casting to the location of the show. Hair, make-up, rehearsal, change into my clothes for the show, then the show starts and I’m walking.

4:00 PM: Confirmed fitting (very good thing!). Run from last show to this confirmed fitting. A confirmed fitting is basically a “we like you, you almost have the job, but we need to see what the clothes look like on you.” They try the clothes on you, you walk for them, then get to next casting.

5:30 – 6:30 PM: 4th casting. Repeat process. Eat a granola bar.

7:00 PM: Confirmed hair and makeup test. A confirmed hair and makeup test is another “we like you, you almost have the job” type of thing. Here, they do a test run, arranging your hair and makeup like they want for the show that is tomorrow.

8 – 9:30 PM: 5th casting. Take off all makeup before casting (astings are no make-up). I usually hang out with some friends while I wait.

9:30 PM: Usually the day is over by now. I finally get to head home.

10:30 PM: I get home, shower, and FaceTime my boyfriend before knocking out, into a coma.

New York Fashion Week in September is a lot of work. Running around the city all day and doing your best to keep your energy up takes a lot out of you. At the same time, it’s a lot of fun. Looking at my schedule, maybe it doesn’t seem like it, but in-between all the madness, you get to meet a lot of other models and people from all over the world. Every day is different. Sometimes, you have two shows and a few castings in one day, sometimes you only have castings and fittings, sometimes you only have one show in a day. It’s hectic, but so worth it. This was my first season, and I booked six shows in total. I can’t wait to see what the next fashion week brings!

Images courtesy of Samantha Swan

More Stories
Ladylike at Irina Vitjaz Fall/Winter 2018