Hundreds turn out for runway audition


Nadia Chareuf knows there are tricks to getting chosen for a runway show.

“Honestly, black makes you look skinny and these are like, the fittest pants I have,” said the 18-year-old Carleton University student from Gatineau.

“I tried out for an agency awhile ago and I got rejected… they said my hips were too big. But I think it was ‘cause my jeans were too wide, so I figured, wear tight stuff this time.”

She wasn’t alone.

It was a wide array of form-fitting jeans and sky-high heels at the Westin Hotel on Sunday.

More than 200 aspiring models auditioned for Ottawa Fashion Week, hoping to score a coveted runway gig.

“We have a total of 16, possibly 18 shows we’ll be putting on, and we need to get at least 12 girls for each show,” said OFW artistic director Alison Hughes.

“It’s tight competition, especially today.”

There was no sign, however, of hair-pulling or catfights.

“It’s not competitive. It’s more relaxed, fun, outgoing,” said model Pia Herkstroeter, 14, from Orleans.

“I don’t see any of these people as my competition, because everyone’s just a friend to me,” said Lilly Nguyen, 18.

“We’re all in the same boat, so we should support each other. That’s how I feel.”

Gladys Mayanda, 22, drove in from Montreal.

She’s already had experience with Fashion Week in Montreal and Toronto.

“I love runway, and I love design. I love fashion, so for me, it’s a good opportunity and I want to do like, all the Fashion Weeks in Canada,” said Mayanda.

This is the first time OFW has held one audition.

“We’ve tried doing separate castings on separate dates at different locations, but you can imagine, it’s a bit like the Amazing Race,” said Hughes.

“We have models all over the place, trying to get to different places.”

Eight designers were on hand.

“We’re going to try to pick our models, do a little fitting on the girls, and have them walk and see how it goes,” said couturier Frank Sukhoo.

Montreal-based designer Andy Nguyen is bringing his own models but has room for eight more.

“I’m not looking for a pretty girl or a beautiful guy. I’m looking for a vibe. And if I feel them, it’s all good,” he said.

OFW runs February 17 to 19.

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