The opportunity to report backstage from Fashion Week is one of the best perks of my job. Although it doesn’t have the cachet of a front row seat for the actual fashion show, working backstage comes with its own set of benefits. I love watching the best makeup and hair masters at work and hearing first hand about the inspiration for their looks, chatting with the world’s biggest models is a blast and soaking up the frenetic, creative atmosphere is my beauty geek happy place. It’s a crazy scene though — so I thought I’d share some tips on making the most of any backstage experience.
- Know who the boldface backstage names are. Often when you arrive, the pre-show prep area is a hot mess: hair and makeup stations crammed together with minimal space to move around, frantic PR reps with clipboards bonking you in the head, and photographers jostling to get a good shot. Being able to spot Eugene Souleiman’s infamous hat-head in the crowd without needing assistance saves valuable time and separates you from the amateurs.
- There is a hierarchy at play among beauty editors here. Generally, the friendlier another journalist is backstage, the more junior they are. Ironically, if you speak to these jovial, welcoming editors, you yourself look friendly and risk losing rank. Yes, this is insane.
- American editors use the backstage area coat check. Canadian editors keep our coats strapped to our backs. Probably because we’re expecting to be tossed out unceremoniously at any moment for being too friendly to other editors.
- If you should see Gisele backstage, do not approach her and certainly do not make a joke about football. Just admire her highlights and join the throngs of fawning groupies attempting to feign disinterest while crowding around her makeup station.
- Many of the biggest names backstage are British. Try not to develop a case of the Madonna’s after speaking with Paul Hanlon, Pat McGrath, Charlotte Tilbury or Guido Palau.
- Make use of the catering situation at every show you hit. Otherwise, you will never eat — and keeping your stamina high is key for survival. How else will you have the muscle power to thrust your recorder through the crowd of non-coat wearing editors and get the quote you need?
Important note: Get your interviews and reporting done first. Even if the food station has a dessert tray like the one at Phillip Lim. No one wants to be the one shoveling organic curried couscous in their mouth when the call to speak with Orlando Pita comes.