Model Paige Morgan wrote a nifty Facebook note about why you shouldn’t pay to be in a runway show. Her thoughts on it, in my opinion, are spot on. Here’s a excerpt:
Anything that requires you to sell tickets to walk runway is not a good look for a serious portfolio. Here’s why:
1. They have no standards, by and large, because they’re looking for anyone whom will make them money and sell the tickets, not the most qualified models for the task at hand.
2. Any event that’s using anyone whom agrees to model/sell tickets most likely not going to attract the sort of people whom make good connections or networking possibilities for future work, as most of the people are not qualified/experienced potential models, so the working professional photographers/MUA/Stylists are not going to attend. (Aside from whomever the event promoters hired to be there for the purpose of the show running at all)
3. If the company/ event will give you such great “exposure” or contacts, why would they need models to hawk seats to cover their production costs? Why do you have to pay for the supposed benefits via ticket sales? The short answer is they are probably making empty promises about what they are able to do for you. They can’t even make their own events break even without using models as unpaid sales/promotional labor, let alone promote you effectively.
4. Let’s say you didn’t notice points 1, 2 and 3. You sell the tickets, walk the show, and list it as a credit on your resume, along with your new flyer/press kit/whatever the fuck.
It won’t matter to your next potential client, as you didn’t get there by being the best possible choice for the job. You bought and paid for your catwalk turn, which anyone with a spare 20 friends and some available cash could’ve done. Take the $200 you would’ve forced your loved ones to spend and/or paid out of pocket and put it toward things that will actually benefit you and your career.
I highly suggest reading what Paige has to say about companies like Raw:Artists, FUZE IT WORLDWIDE, and Icon, who require models to, essentially, pay to walk in their shows. Especially read her note if you’ve been contacted by one of these companies (or one asking similarly of you) and accepted into one of their shows.