Think your job is tough? Try walking around in only your underwear and heels, for eight hours straight, pausing only long enough to change into a different — but equally skimpy — outfit from your boss’s collection.
For fashion models who are hired to work the three-day CURVE Expo lingerie and swimwear shows in New York and Las Vegas, the job description is simple enough: loiter around your brand’s booth, making pleasant banter with potential buyers and trying not to feel self-conscious as they pluck at your bra straps, twist the waistband on your panties, caress the soft lace or let the shiny satin drift through their fingers.
This is not a job for the shy, the easily bored or the self-doubting. In fact, the brave women (and a few men) who work big lingerie trade fairs like CURVE Expo give new meaning to the term body confidence.
They endure three days of gawking, poking and prodding from sharp-eyed retail buyers who have no interest in the models or their figures but come armed with endless technical questions about stitching, fabric provenance, performance, wearability and washing.
This isn’t the glamorous life of the lingerie model that the public usually sees. There’s no glittering catwalk lined with cheering rock stars, no after-party on Leo’s yacht and no celebrity boyfriends waiting to escort you home. There’s nowhere to hide in the cavernous exhibition hall and, perhaps even worse, nowhere to put your cell phone.
Some show models have an easier time of it, especially if they’re not required to change frequently behind flimsy booth curtains or if they’re given a silky robe to cover themselves when traffic is slow. Others aren’t so lucky.
No one at last week’s CURVE Expo had a tougher assignment than Makenna Reeder (above), a fashion model who bravely served the Maison Close booth with infinite patience and good humor for three days. Makenna stood out more than most models simply because the French label’s seductive garments leave very little to the imagination. Think your job is tough? Try making small talk with your nipples on display.
Being a booth model at a lingerie show can also be a lonely experience, but this year’s exhibition offered some fun for both the models and the show’s visitors. At the end of the first two days, the models were rounded up and sent parading around the exhibition hall in a high-spirited alternative to a typical fashion runway.
Lingerie Talk photographer John Brown spent some of his time focusing on the busy but oft-overlooked models of CURVE, and submitted this gallery of candid moments. One thing’s certain: his job was a lot easier, and more enjoyable, than their’s.