Author:  Christina Reid

This past Saturday, I – along with hundreds of other Cornellians – packed into Barton Hall to watch the annual Cornell Fashion Collective Runway Show. From the moment I entered, I was impressed with how the dedicated students and crew members had transformed the indoor track into an overwhelmingly beautiful home of fashion for the night.

The show opened with six students providing a look back at 150 years of Cornell fashion. And then before I knew it – Boom! Lights, camera, action – the 31st annual CFC had begun. I felt like a big shot in my seat, tapping my feet along to the awesome music and nodding in approval as each model rocked the catwalk. Why I was nodding, I’m not quite sure — I’m not Tyra Banks.

To say that these designers are talented is simply an understatement. It was clear that the fashion show was more than just models walking down a catwalk wearing cool clothing. These designers showed a clear vision in their lines, from their deliberate selection of lighting choices, to thematic music, to the actual masterpieces.

Yet what intrigued me most about the show was not the fashion, but what was going on in the heads of the models as they marched down the runway. I asked a few models in the show what it was like to be chosen for such an incredible event at Cornell:


Which designer did you walk for, and how were you selected to be a model?

“I walked for Riley Kilgariff, and I went to model calls in the spring where I just took headshots and did a walk.” – Victoria Li ‘18

“Toi Bly. She and I are really good friends and one day she just asked me to model for her.” – Jakira Shaw ‘16

“Greta Ohaus – I’ve modeled for CFC before and know Greta” – Allie Clement ‘16

“I was selected to model for Brandon Wen, a 4th-level student who is notoriously known for pushing the norms associated with fashion as we know it. As a colleague of Brandon’s, and someone who was looking to push herself out of her comfort zone, I feel like the stars aligned and thought it would be a great opportunity.” – Amy ElSayed ‘16

“I modeled for Caroline Donelan, and she picked me since she’s in Tri Delta with me and knew I modeled in the show last year. She asked me last semester and it’s been great working with her because she’s so sweet and such a talented designer.” – Rachel Robles ‘16

Photo submitted by Jakira Shaw ‘16
Photo submitted by Jakira Shaw ‘16

What was the most exhilarating part of the show? What was the most frightening part?

“The most exhilarating parts of the show were also the most frightening. Besides walking on the stage, the moments behind the curtains leading up to being on the stage in front of an audience of a thousand faces were the most anxious.” – Victoria Li ‘18

“The most exhilarating part of the show was modeling and also being the makeup artist. There was a bit of pressure, but I really enjoy doing makeup so it was also really fun to come up with a look that would match the collection.” – Jakira Shaw ‘16

“The most nerve-wracking part of the show is right before you walk up the steps to the runway. You’re thinking, “How does my face look? What do I do with my hands? How do my legs work again??” But once you start walking, the nerves go away and you settle into the moment. My favorite part of every show is getting my hair and make up done. It’s like going to the salon – it’s relaxing, and I feel so pampered.” – Allie Clement ‘16

“It was such an interesting experience modeling for the sportswear collection because we got to have a lot of fun with it on the runway by doing stretches and other unconventional things. We got to be creative and make up the moves we did on the runway, and I think we all really enjoyed being involved in the show.” – Rachel Robles ‘16

What would you liken the CFC modeling experience to?

“It reminded me of when I participated in Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.’s Miss Black and Gold Scholarship Pageant, except this was less stage time. That same feeling of being on a stage and everyone watching you was identical!” – Jakira Shaw ‘16

“It’s like going into a test that’s all common sense but you didn’t study. You didn’t need to study, but the fact of not studying makes you nervous, until the test is over, and you realize you aced it.” – Allie Clement ‘16

Photo submitted by Rachel Robles ‘16
Photo submitted by Rachel Robles ‘16

Any funny anecdotes or behind-the-scenes action to share?

 “We ordered Dominos while getting ready and were literally stuffing our faces while getting dressed and getting makeup done. Believe me when I say it was simultaneous!” – Jakira Shaw ‘16

“Our hair was teased and gelled and we had 30 inch extensions put in – I had formal right after, and I showed up with my hair like that and silver paint all over my face. Surprisingly, people were super into it. Poor Greta was sewing on fringes to Meghan’s dress until we walked down the runway. It looked AMAZING, though!” – Allie Clement ‘16

“We definitely were preparing until the last possible second. All of those movie scenes where the character makes it on stage at the last possible second are accurate!” – Amy ElSayed ‘16

Job well done, ladies! I couldn’t see the nerves at all. Thanks for giving us a peek into the mind of a CFC model. We think you have what it takes to be on top.