From Blogger to Fashion Week Model

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Hannah Rogers from The Modern Girl on the runway at Carena West’s New Zealand Fashion Week 2016 show.

Walking the runway at New Zealand Fashion Week is something few people other than professional models and fashion designers can claim to have done, but Auckland blogger Hannah Rogers from The Modern Girl recently got to live out her runway dreams. A quick scroll though her blog’s Instagram will tell you how much Hannah adores fashion, beauty and working out so when Carena West approached her to model in the designer’s NZFW show it was a perfect match, as Hannah was already a Carena West fan and friendly with the designer.

While modeling on the fashion week runway in front of a crowd of media, buyers and photographers could certainly be intimidating for any new runway model, doing it in a bikini is definitely a bit scary. We chatted to Hannah about what it was like to be out there on the runway and how she felt to see herself afterwards on blogs and in the media.

How did you appearing in Carena West’s NZFW show come about and how did you feel about it initially?
Originally Carena West asked me over Facebook; I was pretty shocked and excited and naturally had a billion questions. I thought it was an exciting thing for me to look forward to and I always believe in saying yes to new opportunities so I said yes!

What was the process leading up to the show, did you have to attend fittings or anything else beforehand?
Just like a real model I had to attend the fitting which took place on Saturday prior. I popped on my bikini for Carena, and my photo was taken for reference. Even trying to decide what to wear to that was nerve racking.

Since you were walking in a bikini what preparation did you do leading up to the show and on the day, so you felt good on the runway?
Feeling good is pretty important to me. I kept to my diet plan (as best I could). I got a spray tan for the fitting. I also got my lashes done and my hair cut and coloured! It was my birthday that week, so I was all about pampering myself, and I wanted to look my best for Carena.

What happened on the day from when you arrived at the venue to when you walked the runway?
My call time was 11 am, and I met a few of the other girls outside the venue so we could go in together and get the ball rolling. First stop was the tan. We stripped down, and the women at St Tropez gave us a 24-hour bronze. Then we headed to hair and makeup. Nails were painted and then we went backstage and did a quick walk through, before I knew it I was in my bikini, and we were starting. It all went so fast!

The hair and makeup look was really stunning, what was it like to get made up like that and did you want to keep the look on afterwards?
It was the best experience backstage. It is very much like a mechanical line as we were moved from station to station. I had two hairdressers working on me, and I had zero idea what the look was going to be but I ended up loving it and tried to recreate it this week. The makeup was so good I didn’t want to take it off. In fact, I waited till about 11 pm that night and dragged myself into the shower. While my makeup was being applied, I had one hand behind my back getting my nails painted. It was crazy. I actually may have also brought some white OPI nail polish to keep my nails the same as on the runway! They make me pretty proud.

How did you feel right before you went out and what was it like to be walking on the runway at fashion week?
I was excited it was so weird. We were all backstage taking selfies. Then when the girl in front of me walked my heart hit my throat, and I was shaking like a leaf. My mind was racing with all the things I wanted to remember. Stand tall, shoulders back, chin up and even while I was on the catwalk I was adjusting and thinking. Remembering to smile and have fun where key but also hard to remember as a first timer with everything else to consider.

Seeing yourself on everyone’s Instagrams and in the media coverage of the show must have been quite surreal, how did it feel afterwards when it all sunk in?
It took a while to relax and enjoy post show to be honest. I am a perfectionist; I didn’t compare myself to other models, but I was quick to be negative about myself: I walked too fast, my walk isn’t graceful, my stomach is blah, I could go on but I think that was because the excitement had all worn off and it was back to reality. After a few days had passed I was really proud. I did that! I modeled in a bikini at Fashion week and not only that, as a person, I have grown so much. I was also proud to represent a brand I truly love and own myself.

What was your favorite bit of the experience?
The girl time! The other girls were so nice. We took selfies, smiled, giggled and supported each other. I will never forget being backstage saying “I feel like a model” only to have one of the girls say “You are a model silly!” – That I will never forget.

What was your favorite piece from the collection on the runway?
I love all of Carena’s works but the Bikini I was wearing, hands down. It will always have a special place in my heart, and I will be buying it for sure!

What’s next for you and do you think we’ll see you on the runway again?
A long-term goal of mine is to compete in a Body Building Bikini Contest next year. I have been training for eight months, with a focus on building muscle and learning how to lift weights. This time next year I should be in the best shape of my life. It’s a big goal, but I have loved the learning progress and seeing changes in my arms and shoulders in particular. As for the runway, If I were asked to do it again I wouldn’t say no! I would love to do it again.

Runway images by James Yang Photography.

Backstage image by Jono Parker for NZ Fashion Week.

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