Walk Like Naomi

Curtains open to show the illuminated runway, lights flash, the music cues up, and a tall, beautiful model wearing only lingerie and huge angel wings emerges from the back of the stage while the crowd cheers. This is the basic formulation of the widely anticipated Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, and, for a few hours, all eyes are on the glowing women strutting down the runway. That, in my head, is what I want to look and feel like while walking down Newbury Street (except fully clothed).  

Nothing feels better than putting on your favorite outfit, listening to your favorite song, and walking down the busy streets like a supermodel walking down a runway. Whether it’s running to the grocery store or sauntering into your 8:00 a.m. class thirty minutes late, there’s no doubt that a confident walk can make an entire outfit look that much better.

British supermodel Naomi Campbell is known to have the gold standard of runway walks. Her signature strut comprises a fluid movement of hips and a whole lot of attitude. I like to think I look like Miss Campbell (long shot, I know) when I’m on my way to work on the weekends. Though my walk makes me feel confident, I wanted to find out how I could make it look more like a runway model’s.

Albany Alexander, a freshman Journalism major, has been modeling since her sophomore year in high school and has walked for Raul Penaranda and Solutions Bridal. Her model-walk, however, doesn’t stop after exiting the runway. Alexander says she regularly does her walk down streets to boost her confidence.

“Models are super guilty of walking across crosswalks like they’re catwalks,” she said. “I definitely am aware that when I change my walk and do more of a model walk when I’m just walking down the street, I feel better about myself, and I feel more confident.”

The major tips Alexander adopted from walking in shows and taking classes include keeping her chest out, ensuring her arms are relaxed, and consciously extending her neck.

“I was told to imagine that there’s glitter on your chest, and you’re showing people the glitter,” she said. “That opens your shoulders, shows your collarbone off, and keeps your chest up.”

During the ‘80s and ‘90s, the runways showcased models walking pigeon-toed—one foot after the other like walking a tightrope. Alexander says she sees a lot of girls in runway deviating from that today, and though she still incorporates a little bit of it in her walk, she says the common misconception is that it has to be perfect.

Alexander also encourages others not to worry about people looking when doing a model-walk down the street.

“People are going to notice that you’re confident, but they’re not going to notice that you’re trying to model-walk,” she said. “Do what you want to do with your walk and don’t worry if other people are looking at you.”

Naomi Jones, a freshman Creative Writing major, also promotes this positive personal perception. “Imagine that you are on your own stage. When you walk, everything should be about you,” she said. “Really feel like the outfits you put on are what you like because you are beautiful in every single outfit that you put on.”

Jones did her first runway show and took her first runway class at sixteen under the Shiloh Debutante program in Connecticut. She has since participated in Emerson’s Black Organization with Natural Interests’ Blackout fashion show.

Jones’ main technical tips from her runway experience include keeping your head high, walking like a string is attached to your head, and keeping your arms at your sides.  

“With arms, what I usually do is cuff my hands like doll hands and put them on my thighs,” she said. “When you keep your shoulders square and you have your hands on your thighs, it prevents you from swinging your arms.”

Jones also gave major tips on walking with different footwear. With heels, she advises not to slouch because it may look like your legs hurt. With flats and more comfortable shoes, she says that sticking out your neck or leaning all the way back can be tempting, but you should keep your body on the same plane as your shoes.

Above all, for Jones, confidence is key to a killer walk. “Personal perception is how you’re going to carry yourself,” she said. “As long as you are looking at yourself like you are royalty, people will admire you like you are.”

Photo by: Mike Zahar