10 Steps to a Flawless Runway Walk
A mesmerizing walk is the mark of a great model and a pretty good hypnotist. Here’s how you can master the technique now that schools no longer consider it part of the core curriculum.
1. Become familiar with the outfit you’re modeling. Don’t walk yet—just stand. Notice how the fabric falls, and how your weight is distributed in the shoes. Shift from side to side, and feel how the outfit moves, even subtly. See how the slightest action can cause a collar to scrunch or a sleeve to slide down. There are structural weaknesses everywhere. Put on seven belts. No—nine.
2. Pick an object at the end of the runway to focus on. Your gaze should remain level for the entirety of the walk. But staring straight ahead is harder than it sounds, especially when there are distractions (read: photographers and possibly spies) on either side of you. To remain focused, concentrate on a single point. Do not let your eyes waver, unless you see someone cute. Then you should wink a bunch.
3. Posture is paramount. Your shoulders should be held back, and your head held high. Imagine a string coming out of the top of your head and pulling you up. Every so often, look to see who is holding the other end of the string. It is Tyra Banks. You are strength incarnate.
4. Take long strides that place one foot directly in front of the other, with your toes pointing forward. This gait will feel unnatural at first, but it is how experienced models walk. Be careful not to bump your ankles together when taking your steps. To get a lengthier stride, you can also lift your knees more than usual (or, if you’re modeling harem pants, sneak in some stilts).
5. Do not sashay. Your hips will sway plenty as a result of your walk—they don’t need your charity to get more attention.
6. Do not move your arms too much. They should move slightly and naturally as you walk. This can be difficult to remember on the runway, especially if the music makes you want to pretend you’re conducting an orchestra. Curb that urge.
7. Pose to suit the clothes. When you reach the end of the runway, stop and place your hand on one hip, with your other arm by your side. This is a reliable pose that shows off the cut and lines of the clothing. As you gain confidence, try different poses, whether by jutting out your opposite hip or just levitating a little.
8. The return walk should be equally fierce. Don’t slack off because the hardest part is over. The back of the outfit is just as important as the front—more so if it has one of those remarkable mechanical fasteners that moves so quickly it “zips.”
9. Adjust your attitude. Depending on what you’re modeling, your expression and the way you carry yourself should vary. Flaunting a breezy sun dress? Add a bounce to your gait and a smile to your eyes. Sporting a severe pant suit? Project authority by screaming “Boardroom meeting in 10!” at anyone who tries to take your picture.
10. Practice! The best way to feel at home on the runway is to practice your walk often. Strut your stuff in the living room when you’re home, down hallways when you’re at work, and on highway shoulders when you’re stuck in traffic. Soon, nothing will faze you, and when you walk on the treadmill, all other gym activity shall cease.
Mel writes about food and beauty trends. She would rather give up chocolate than onions.