Fashion Week may be over, but the editorial doesn’t stop. There’s always been another side to fashion’s biggest season that tends to be overlooked. Before New York is saturated with fashion enthusiasts, creators and the uber stylish from all over, and the lights dim for the runway at Spring Studios, there’s the beauty of a bustling backstage of assistants, models and PR in a fast-paced mode to deliver a raving show.
To get a closer look, Girls United caught up with model Ebonee Davis as she got prepared to walk the Bronx & Banco show at the illustrious Ritz Carlton in Central Park. Gazing through her photo diary, makeup artists and hair stylists are at work architecturalizeing a soft yet stunning maquillage, adding rhinestones to her middle part, pin-straight strands- which perfectly marries her embellished look that glistened through the platform. Photographer Kadar Small captures an Instagram-worthy shot of beauty products from shimmery eyeshadow palettes, lip gloss and blushes to a clothing rack hanging a designer’s cheat sheet of each model and their look number. It all seems so alluring to an editor, that this is the real NYFW.
Scroll ahead as Davis reveals what life as a model is like, and how to keep up in one of fashion’s biggest seasons.
Girls United: What was it like walking in the Bronx & Banco show and how would you describe your look?
Davis: Walking in the Bronx and Banco show was a lot of fun because it wasn’t a traditional runway experience! We had room to play and incorporate our personalities into the walk, and of course, I did the most! It felt more like a dance party than a runway show. I would describe my look as PRESSURE because that’s what makes a diamond shine!
GU: Sometimes backstage can be a bit swift and chaotic. How do you mentally prepare for the runway?
Davis: I pray every single day before I do anything. Whether I have a day of runways ahead of me or a day of rest, I feel grounded in the spirit. Instead of absorbing other people’s vibe, I maintain my own authentic frequency and that inner peace inevitably trickles outward.
GU: As a Black model, you may not always find yourself in the seat of Black MUA or stylist. How do you establish boundaries when it comes to configuring your hair for the show’s aesthetic, or even the shades used for your makeup?
Davis: I ask a lot of questions! Things like, ‘do you mind giving me a rundown of today’s looks and the products you will be using to accomplish it?’ I don’t wait until things are too far gone to speak up. I take preventative measures to ensure we are all on the same page. That way it’s less traumatic for all parties involved.
GU: We have to ask who is that adorable puppy on set?
Davis: His name is Tyrone and he is a 6-month-old French bulldog. The sweetest pup in show biz! Tyrone is teaching me a lot about love, nurturing, and compassion. He has taught me that care is not just meeting basic needs, but prioritizing affection. It’s been healing.
GU: What are four things a model should keep in their bag at all times plus one snack?
Davis: I always keep a concealer stick in my bag so that in the event no one can match my skin tone, at the very least, I won’t have to walk the runway looking like Casper. I also keep lip gloss, lotion, and water in my bag. Hydration is the key to our beauty! A snack I like to keep on me is those little Biscoff cookies you get on Delta. Those SLAP!
GU: Give us three pieces of advice for surviving New York Fashion Week.
Davis: Number one is don’t take anything personal. A lot of times, designers and casting directors have a specific vision they are going for. Now, whether that vision is rooted in white supremacy is another discussion. That said, don’t absorb the rejection and equate it to your value or lack thereof. You cannot miss what’s for you.
Number two, confidence is key. Personally, I find that confidence comes from non-attachment to outcomes. When you mentally decide that you will be okay whether you get the thing you want or not and understand that it doesn’t change your identity in God, it allows you to be yourself authentically. There’s no conforming or reconfiguring. Existing in that fullness of who you are creates space for your confidence to shine.
Number three is be yourself! There is only one you. Lean into who you are rather than stepping outside of yourself to fit in. It’s much better to be rejected for who you are than accepted for who you’re not!