On a cold Sunday in a nondescript Huntsman Hall classroom, two Penn students begin a long afternoon. No, they aren’t cramming for midterms or working on problem sets; they’re picking out the models for Dzine2Show’s spring runway show.
At first, the process seemed surprisingly straightforward. Once summoned from the holding room down the hall via gchat, each model entered the classroom where the group’s booking editor and modeling coordinator sat. Each student handed over a form with basic identification information, posed for a headshot, walked, posed, and left. “That’s it?” I asked. “Well, there’s a little more to it,” explained one of the ladies, before she told me exactly what they were looking for.
They want diversity. Age, gender, dress size, skin tone, you name it, they want it. The show, they explained, should represent Penn’s diversity, but the models better know how to walk. Everyone who entered had a distinctive stroll, from stiff to slinky and everything in between. Sometimes, one of the girls asked a model to walk again, which, she explained later, gave a sense of potential and ability to take direction.
While they barred me from watching deliberations, I certainly don’t envy their task. I was honestly expecting a roomful of train wrecks, and I was admittedly disappointed when the vast majority of hopefuls gave admirable showings. Sure, it was entirely obvious which auditioners were returnees and which were newbies, mostly given away by the latter group’s nervous laughter, shaky legs or admitted jitters, but there was nothing embarrassing on display.
Between the time they receive their acceptance emails this week and the show on April 2nd, the 25 or so models will go through a number of training sessions, fittings and rehearsals. Sounds like hard work, but who said fashion was easy? However, the professionalism from the girls in charge and the ease of the audition process almost made me want to get up and strut my stuff. For the good of everyone in the room, though, I refrained.