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Model Bag Contents

What’s a “model bag” you ask? The Model Bag is indispensable in the life of ANY model. Your model bag holds the “tools of your trade” which may vary from city to city and model to model. In time and with some experience under your belt, you will learn what to carry in it and eventually you will be able to anticipate what your clients will want.

Let’s start with the “bag” itself: I strongly suggest that you use a wheeled bag of some sort. Use what would fit under an airline seat or in the overhead compartment. I would try to keep the size of your model bag to no larger than the size of a standard airplane carry-on bag (between 19” and 22”).

I know that 22” may seem pretty small to a model but you’d be surprised at what you can fit in that bag. Anyone who has done a fashion show at all knows that there is a usually a limited amount of space allotted to a model to prep and dress in. Models who come on set with more than one suitcase or with a bag large enough to carry a body in it can eat up space quickly and often times can wreak havoc with the heavy model traffic in the backstage area (i.e. people tripping over your bag(s) trying to move back & forth between segments). Ideally you want to find a bag that you can either prop on top of a chair (since that’s what you are usually given to “set up” your space with) or slide underneath it to keep it out of the way.
A shoe bag is a nylon bag with enough compartments for 6 or 8 pairs of shoes (and if you’re a creative packer, like I am – you can sneak a few more in). Unless you are specifically asked to bring a certain number or type of shoe – more than 8 pairs is really excessive. Most rolling suitcases come equipped with a bag clamp on top and you can latch your shoe bag handles onto that for effortless travel. You can find a 6-shoe bag online at Lillian Vernon (http://www.lillianvernon.com/) and an 8-shoe bag at Walter Drake (http://www.wdrake.com/) and it retails for about $15 to $20 dollars and believe me when I tell you it’s money well spent.
“Must have” items for your model bag: Keep in mind that you will probably have more luck at adding the below items in your bag if you fill it as many with “travel sized” products as possible. You can keep the full sized items at home and refill the dispensers as necessary.
Hanging Toiletry Bag – This will come in handy in keeping your bag organized and neat. An expandable bag is a good idea because it holds a lot, can hang when it is fully expanded and when it’s closed it only takes up a small amount of room in your model bag. In your toiletry bag you should try to keep it stocked with the following items:
· Band-aids/Mini first aid kit/mini sewing kit – Because accidents can and do happen!
· Clear nail polish – The polish is for the occasional run in your pantyhose and of course to add a shiny new top coat to your manicure if necessary.
· Nail file/Clipper/ Krazy Glue – Because nails break and snag clothing Krazy Glue is good for a temporary patch job and it’s also good for repairing jewelry on the spot.
· Double Sided Tape – For plunging necklines and to make a quick invisible hem if needed.
· False Eyelashes & Glue – Because often times makeup artists don’t carry them or they don’t have enough on hand for everyone. Note: If you’re going to carry the, know how to put them on!
· Concealers/Foundation Makeup/Mascara & Eyeliner – For the times when the makeup artist is late, is a no-show and/or doesn’t have foundation in your color.
· Deodorant/Wash Cloth/Baby Wipes/Soap – For freshening up after long hours on the set.
· Toothbrush/Toothpaste/Mouthwash/Floss/Mints or Gum – Because fresh breath counts – Always!
· Lotion/Baby Oil Gel – To combat occasional dry or ashy skin and to keep your feet, hands and legs nice and soft. Note: Use the baby oil gel carefully and sparingly – you don’t want to risk getting oil stains on the clothing.
· Hairpins/Hairbrush/Comb/Scrunchies – For controlling wayward hair and for quick touch ups or quick styling changes.
· Pencil Sharpener – For sharpening your eyeliner and/or eyebrow pencils. Have you ever tried to line your eyes with a pencil that needed sharpening or that you tried to sharpen with a scissor or knife? One word: Painful.
· Visine / Saline Solution – For dry and/or irritated eyes and for when your contact lenses need lubricating.
· Makeup Net/Scarf – For keeping the designer’s garments make up free as you get fitted or change clothes during shows and shoots.
· Makeup Remover, Q-Tips & Cotton balls – For gently removing the makeup from your skin after a show or shoot. Makeup remover is better than soap and water because it has ingredients that help breakdown the makeup quickly for easy removal. Q-tips for cleaning the makeup residue from the corner of your eyes on set. Cotton balls are good for removing mascara and eye shadows from the delicate skin area around the eyes.
· A couple of pencils (with erasers) – Erasers make really good earring backs in a pinch and they work especially well with heavier bejeweled earrings.
· Straws – Use these to drink beverages with on set to keep your lipstick on and to avoid staining your teeth.
· Safety pins – For immediate fixes when a zipper breaks, a garment rips or a clasp breaks on jewelry.
· Airbrush legs/Bronzer - If you are like me and have a few scars leftover from childhood or have varicose veins; leg makeup and or bronzer can help to give you a nice even overall tone.
· A Small Mirror – So you can apply your makeup and touch up your makeup when necessary.
· Fresh individual mascara brushes and lip brushes – You might need to use or borrow someone else’s mascara, lipstick or gloss in a pinch. To avoid transference of germs use a fresh new applicator every time.

Note: The more items that you can place in your toiletry bag the more room you will have for adding other things to your actual bag.

Accessories/”Bling” Earrings/Sunglasses - Most designers already have a specific “look” in mind when accessorizing their garments, generally when a model does a “mainstream” shows, the designer will bring along the accessories that they wish to accompany their clothing on the runway, so you don’t have to pack your entire jewelry bag. Occasionally on the local level the same thing will occur but when it doesn’t (which is more often the case) it helps to keep a few pieces (a gold or silver bangle, a rhinestone hoop, stud or a “bling” earring) will usually come in handy in a pinch. A standard pair of black or brown tinted sunglasses (I like the Jackie O. look myself) is a good thing to keep on hand too!

Body Foundation/waist nipper/Spanx/Nude and Black Undergarments & A Strapless or Convertible Bra – A model should never come out of her house without a proper body foundation. Actually a smart model will keep several different ones on hand. A Spanx is a requirement because it keeps the “jiggle factor” down to a minimum. Your foundation(s) should come in both nude and black and a convertible bra in the same colors will drastically lessen the number of bras you need to pack.

Black Slacks/Turtleneck/Little Black Dress and/or Camisole
– There will be many a time when you will walk for a designer who is showing furs, hats and/or accessories; the designer will usually ask that a model wear all black underneath the coat or head to toe black so that the fur, hat and/or accessory remains the focus of the showcase. Since black is always considered chic you should keep it in your bag because you never know what last minute invitation may pop up and you’ll always have something stylish to wear.

Robe – Models spend an inordinate amount of time in their underwear or nude. Nothing can make you more uncomfortable than having to prance around naked in a room filled with strangers.

Comfortable Active Wear or Yoga Pants – Good for lounging around in as you sit in hair and makeup and also useful when you have a lot of down time between shots. You will need to either wear of bring something that’s easy to get in and out of when you are on the set of show or spending long hours backstage for a show.

A Crisp White Shirt – A white shirt can go a long way when you are shooting pictures. You can dress it up or dress it down. It’s sexy and versatile and it photographs like a dream and when your clothing isn’t up to par, a simple white shirt and some accessories can get you an awesome photo!

Curling & Flat Irons and Ponytails & Wigs – It is definitely a good idea to keep one in your bag when doing local fashion show. You might have to pull it out at the last minute and do your own hair if the hair people are running behind or are totally overwhelmed.

Slippers/flip flops – To protect your feet while you are walking around on set and to give your feet and legs a break before you put on heels.

Sneakers/Gym Shoes – Keep a simple pair of white Keds in your bag. You’ll probably need them more if you are doing catalog shoots but it’s better to ask beforehand if you need to pack them.

Pantyhose & Black Tights – Some designers like them and some don’t; it’s smart to keep a few pairs in the zippered pouch part of your bag just in case. I would suggest you have a few pairs in nude or suntan, black and perhaps a gold or silver shimmer color.

Snacks & Bottled Water (Fruit & Nuts, Trail Mix, Energy Bars/Drinks) – Not every producer will be thoughtful enough to supply the models with food & beverages on set. More than likely you won’t have a chance to run out and get something to eat (unless you are waiting for hair and makeup and have some down time). It’s good to keep some trail mix bars, some nuts and/or fruit along with a bottle of water in your bag to keep you hydrated and to keep your energy and blood sugar levels up while you wait. Note: Try to pack snacks that are not greasy and/or messy to eat.

Music (CD or IPod) or a Good Book or Magazine - You will find as you progress in your career that you spend a great deal of the time on set waiting for things to begin. It’s a good idea to pack an iPod or bring a book to read during the down time. You will avoid trouble and on set drama this way.

Static Guard - Tide To Go - To control annoying static cling on clothing and for quick stain removal.
Makeup Brushes or a Brush Roll – Always toss your brush roll (the bag you keep your brushes in) in my bag, so that when necessary – you have the proper tools to apply your make-up. If you've ever searched in vain for that errant lip brush or wondered where that enormous blush brush could have disappeared, you already understand the importance of owning a quality makeup brush bag. This is a fantastic investment for anyone who regularly employs cosmetic brushes as part of her daily regime. Not only does it keep them clean and separated from each other, it also provides brushes with an ideal storage space and it won’t take up too much space in your model bag.

The following should go without saying but I’m going to say it again anyway just in case you don’t know. The veterans and the pros in this game already know that you NEVER LEAVE HOME WITHOUT
these six things:                                                                                Your Appointment Book – So you can keep track of how your day is lining up and so that you know where you are headed next.
Small Notepad for taking notes or a Journal– You will probably learn something or meet someone new on every set or at every show. Remember to write things down.
Cell Phone/Blackberry – A model is on call at all times. Put your phone or blackberry on the vibrate setting when on set to keep from disrupting things but always keep it on.
Composite Cards – You can meet a new potential client anytime and anywhere. Your comp card is your business/calling card. If you’re going to call yourself a model you should always have a few on your person.
Portfolio – And that potential client might want to take a look at your book. It helps to have it handy.
Vouchers - Proof of work performed – it’s how you get paid, keep a few in your bag at all times.

Remember This: Having a properly stocked model bag will make you much easier to work with and will convey to others that you are professional. So pack it carefully and remember to check it after a few shows/gigs and restock as necessary. Remember, your looks, your attitude and your professionalism will either make or break you in this industry. It’s always better to be well prepared than unprepared. Add or edit things as you feel you need to but always keep your bag packed and ready to go at a moment's notice!