Rocking The Runway: How to be a child model

Insider tips for strutting your stuff down the catwalk for children

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Being chosen to walk down on the runway, young child models must call upon more talents than just having a pretty face – though of course, that helps too.

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Read our insider mini guide to making it to the top of the children’s fashion world:

Love to dance! It helps, then, if models do not have two left feet… and can dance in tune. Most catwalk shows involve some form of dancing or upbeat showcase especially for children to keep it light and fun. At the 76th edition of Pitti Bimbo in Florence the season’s show by Italian designers Monnalisa included various dance moves to Gangnam Style (with interesting variations between the boys and the girls’ interpretations).

Beware of footwear Young models are often required to wear shoes that do not fit. It’s hard not to trip over your toes when your shoes are way too big – boys seemed to have particular trouble with heavy biker boots, while some girls shuffled (penguin style) down the catwork with toes (and teeth) clenched to try and keep their too-big shoes on.

Stay grounded As if it is not hard enough walking down the catwalk in ill-fitting shoes, young models must also contend with further hazards and obstacles by way of scene-setting props. The catwalk can be saturated with glitter creating a cloud of sparkle as models walked, artificial snow, rotating giant fairytale books and a cascade of inflatable silver letters (which prompted a frenzy of jumping children bursting balloons at the finale) are just some of the things we have spotted over the years.

Familiarise yourself with the garments Backstage at the fashion shows, the atmosphere can be chaotic and fast-paced. Amid all this, it’s a good idea to check that models know how to get out of their clothes too. Onstage at Il Gufo we witnessed a model in a stunning cream wool coat struggled with her button for a good few minutes before appealing for help from a willing audience member. The crowd gave the flustered girl a huge round of applause – you had to admire her tenacity!

Shine in the spotlight Of course it’s paramount that children look like they’re having fun – although the occasional pout doesn’t go amiss. Don’t be afraid to let your natural personality show through. Children with the oddest of poses always get the biggest applause, and noone can resist the cuteness of a teeny toddler – especially when they haven’t got a clue what their supposed to do. One word of warning: the lights at a catwalk show can be dazzling. Youngsters might like to practise by having a touch shone in their face or be prepared to see stars before their eyes.

Avoid traffic congestion Try and learn your catwalk route – including your exit route – before the show, otherwise there can be collisions between those starting and those finishing their struts.

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Keep calm and carry on There are good reasons why WC Field uttered the showbiz adage “Never work with children or animals.” Why? Children’s behaviour can be unpredictable, and they invariably steal the show. In a children’s fashion catwalk show, a little bit of chaos adds to the charm. And the audience always show their appreciation with plenty of applause.