Rocky teen walks runway at NY Fashion Week
LANDING at an airport in Los Angeles, Rockhampton's Charlie Austin was greeted with a 15-hour delay.
Not an ideal situation when you're supposed to be modelling at New York Fashion Week the next morning.
The 17-year-old model was among five other Australian and New Zealand models who landed themselves spots on a pilot program which saw the girls participate in five NYFW runway shows, several photo shoots and training sessions.
However Charlie's acceptance into the program wasn't as traditional as the other five girls.
"I knew the lady running it and one of the girls couldn't go at the last minute and the lady called me up and offered me a spot,” she said.
"She had seen me modelling and I had worked with her before.
"She thought I would fit in with all the girls going, I was up to the right standard and she thought I was at the right time in my life to take on this challenge.”
Charlie was offered the spot the week she was graduating high school, last year, and only had two days to make a decision.
She quickly snapped up the opportunity saying it was a case of "some thing you just have to do”.
So Charlie set off overseas on February 9 and after delayed flights and a two-hour sleep was on stage for her first NYFW show.
"Basically the first show was chaos, actually all of the shows were chaos, but becuase we had never experienced anything like it before we thought the first show was absolutely crazy,” she said.
"Backstage is insane, it looks great on-stage but it is very much a hurry up and wait process which isn't suited for everyone but I don't mind it. I like the hurry up part but not the waiting part.”
For most of the shows, Charlie and the girls didn't have a set designer so they showed up and went through what was almost like a casting process.
"The designers go around and the models walk for them, and some of the designers just honestly picked us out of a circle,” she said.
"It's all about if a designer can use you and if you're the look they want. It can be intimidating but I loved it, I love that kind of thing.
"It's just a judgement on you, it's very subjective, if it's a plus size designer they're not going to want me or if they're looking for a brunette they are not going to want a blonde.
"And a lot of the clothes were almost prototypes because a lot of them were up and coming designers. They were beautiful and absolutely gorgeous but they weren't always finished.”
Charlie landed back home in Rockhampton yesterday and said she learnt a lot about the industry while she was in New York.
"I definitely learnt a lot about the American industry, which I'm not even sure is where I want to end up because I love Australia so much,” she said.
"But I have learnt a lot about the industry and there is always someone who wants it more than you and you have to be pushy but polite and sell yourself basically. Don't step back, you need to be in the right place at the right time.
"That's how I got casted for a lot of things, I'd be waiting around and another designer would ask me to wear something of theirs and you just need to be ready to roll with it.
"You're there to sell the clothes, it's not about you, it's not about how pretty you look, you're just doing a job.”