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Wannabe Models Work the Fringes of Fashion Week Waiting for their Big Break

By Janet Upadhye | September 6, 2013 6:11am
 Many aspiring models volunteer for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week or work on the fringes of the weeklong event to "get an in" in the industry.
Fashion Week Volunteers
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LINCOLN CENTER — The runway isn’t the only place to see a model during New York Fashion Week.

Aspiring models can also be found stocking water, passing out flyers, ushering shows, and handing out free samples because they believe that the best place to be discovered is Fashion Week. 

“Working Fashion week will definitely help me with networking and who knows who I may meet, there are so many different influential here within the New York fashion industry,” said Dominique Stroman, 23. “I have my business cards in my bag, I’m ready, and fresh-faced. Let’s go.”

Stroman was passing out flyers for a local salon called Dream Dry outside the Fashion Week tents but photographers repeatedly asked her for a business card and to take her picture.

And she’s not the only aspiring model doing Fashion Week odd jobs.

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week employs 400 volunteers each season. Most come from New York, but volunteers have come as far as Italy and Australia for the chance to work the shows and “get an in” in the industry.

Volunteer Juliana Provenzano, 25, has been working as a model for five years but says that volunteering helps her stay on top of the latest fashion trends — and might help her to book new gigs.

“Just to be around people in the industry and to be here, it’s amazing,” she said.

Others are hoping for the chance to make it big.

“I want to be the next face of Maybelline,” said Amina Allende who was handing out free mascara. “I’m here everyday at Fashion Week. It’s good to be part of the buzz. You have to be in it to be seen — and to win it.”