Sophomore takes on the runway

March 9, 2020 — by Esther Luan and Tiffany Wang

Thirty minutes before the Silicon Valley Fashion Week show at Bloomingdale’s in Westfield Valley Fair on Nov. 9, sophomore Kristina Meier was getting her hair done in the midst of a backstage flurry. She wore a grey wool coat and a black dress with big hoop earrings. Models frantically ran around getting last-minute touch-ups on their makeup and clothes before making it onto the runway. 

“For every show, I get nervous right before I have to walk,” Meier said. “But once we get on the stage, my adrenaline and confidence rushes in.”

From a young age, Meier’s mother encouraged her to think about being a model. But she often felt camera-shy and nervous, making it tough for her to fully pursue the profession.

She finally decided to step out of her comfort zone before her sophomore year began, applying to and later signing with San Francisco-based talent agency Halvorson Model Management (HMM) in July. In January, she signed with another San Francisco based company, Star Alliance Culture Inc.

Under these agencies, Meier has done both runway and photoshoot modeling over the past six months. In September, she walked her first show, a couture runway hosted by the San Francisco Fashion Community Week, at the Fairmont Hotel.

For the event, international designers traveled from all over the world to San Francisco, where they provided the clothes for Meier and other models to walk in.

“I was a little nervous because it was my first show, but after doing it once, I got more comfortable with it,” Meier said. “It was really new and a lot of fun.”

Despite the whole experience feeling surreal, the strict standard models are held to surprised her. 

“A girl got yelled at because she fixed her own makeup,” Meier recalled. “You're not allowed to do that; you have to have the makeup or hair artists fix it, because everyone has to look the same.” 

For other runway gigs, Meier is participating in the spring San Francisco Community Fashion Week, which began on March 5.

While runway modeling can be fast-paced and strict, Meier said that photoshoots “have a whole different vibe.” At the beginning of February, Meier modeled prom dresses for Trudys Prom’s Instagram page and website. It was much more relaxed than the runway shows and Meier said she felt less pressure because there were multiple takes.

“Sometimes the photographer will tell you what pose they want you to do, but usually they just let you do whatever you want,” Meier said. 

Runway modeling, however, comes more easily to Meier because she easily gets nervous and feels awkward when posing just for the camera, she said. Another aspect of runway modeling that she values is the opportunity to meet new people while working. Meier has made countless friends and acquaintances through her different gigs because they often see each other again at different events, she said.

Regarding future plans, Meier said that while modeling is not something she would seriously consider as a career, it’s still an enjoyable and worthwhile activity.

“Modeling has definitely helped me become more confident in myself,” she said. “Overall, I am happier with the way I am.”

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