The Science of the Catwalk

Defying Gravity?



Whether on reality television or the broadcasted fashion shows of major clothing brands, we've all seen models strutting their stuff in six-inch heels and unrealistically impractical garments and wondered how such a thing was even physically possible. How can these models make...well...modeling look so easy? The secret is in the sauce, or in this case, the walk. A model's signature strut is no walk in the park (pun intended), as there is an exact science to this runway stroll. 

Runway Rules

As you can imagine, there are a few rules for a runway walk, and TIME interviewed modeling casting director Natalie Joos to find out just what those guidelines are. You can read the full article here. According to Joos

  1. Posture makes perfect- No slouching allowed in this industry.
  2. Long strides and hip swings are essential- Big steps and relaxed hips exude confidence.
  3. No clenched fists- Relaxed hands and arms with a slight swing look more natural.
  4. Have attitude!- Confidence is everything. 

Sounds easy, right? It isn't! Joos also says that they look for perfect, so practice is key! Casting directors can weed out the unexperienced in a heartbeat, and one small trip in those heels can mean a broken ankle and months of unemployment. 

Too Cool for School

For the few male models that are regulars on the runway, the walk is even more of a science. Just like female models, males aren't expected to casually stroll like they would on their way to the supermarket. Their walks, too, require lots of training which usually comes from their casting directors or agencies to be rid of their youthful poor posture and natural walk.

The science for these men, however, is more in their attitude according to a New York Magazine interview with NY casting director Douglas Pernett. Pernett says that in these high-fashion castings, they don't look for mere confidence, but rather almost an "awkward" look of apathy and "I don't care to be here" smugness. 

Tricks of the Trade

Whether male or female, a good model needs to be properly trained, because proper training (aside from helping you avoid a super awkward face plant in front of a casting director) is where the confidence to walk the walk comes from. So before you try to land a booking with Prada, maybe take a class first. We have some! Take a look at our Modeling Classes page to learn more. 

Written by Katherine Rhoden / August 25, 2016