Confessions of a New York Fashion Week Security Guard

I have been doing fashion week for seven years now , going on eight. And I have an adjective for it: Crazy. Crazy in a good way. But it is crazy. And we look forward to this craziness. I personally do, I must say.

My job is to keep everyone and everything safe. Many times people will show up and try to go where they know they shouldn’t go, and sometimes they will try to take the merchandise! I am always polite–it’s all about customer service–but there are times when we have to rough things up to let them know their place. For example, we’ll be backstage and there are shoes near the dresses that models are going to be wearing in a bit, and someone will pick up the shoes and say “Oh, how wonderful these look,” and they will start to walk around with them! You can’t say to people, “Don’t touch that!” but you keep an eye out and you notice that they have it much longer than they should.

One time I did an event for Ralph Lauren, on the red carpet. I see him coming in with about 20 of his family members and they’re all supposed to be wearing colored wristbands and none of them are. Now, I knew who he was, but I had to do my job and show him why I was there on the red carpet. I said to him in a nice way, “Sir, please hold your hand up so I can see that you belong here.” And he was so polite. All he did was bend over to my ear and he said, “Well, my name is Ralph Lauren.” And I said, “Well, sir, you are the party so on that note, please go right along.” I know who Ralph Lauren is but my job is to stop you if the color wasn’t right. I’m sorry--this is what it is. And he called my boss and was very appreciative.

We have crashers all the time, but we know them. We know them so well that we just use our eyes to signal our other security members. If someone who is well known shows up and tries to get in, the word would not be crashed. Most of the time, the fashion designer will say to us who they want in, so we know ahead of time who to let in. Say someone from the New York Times comes–he might be well known, but maybe that designer and he do not get along or whatever, I don’t know, and he says, “Do not let John Doe in.” So when he comes, with all his big words, like, “well, I work for so-and-so, and I am going to get in.”

That’s when I become the lady pit bull that will say “I’m so sorry, but it’s not going to happen right now. It might happen tomorrow but not today. I cannot let you in, I will not let you in, and you’re not going to get in.” There are a few photographers who know me, and when they show up and see me, they say “Oh my God, not you again,” because they know, if they’re not supposed to be in, and once I’m at that door, they’re not going to get in. So, there you go. It’s a love and hate relationship, but I love it more than hate it.

We wear our uniforms when we work, but if I’m going out, I like that when I walk through the door, somebody’s going to take a good look–you know what I’m trying to say? I just like to be in something that represents my structure, my body, something I can walk out in and I’m feeling like I’m floating, like a nice-fitting V-neck with a little flair. If it’s a wonderful print that lets me look like a butterfly and fly like a butterfly and wave myself like a butterfly, I’m happy as a butterfly.

I remember once, I was backstage, and there was a [stylist] who was dressing this female in a beautiful dress, and she was very, very thin. For some reason, he turned to her and said “Oh…” [in a disappointed tone]. “This dress is a very small dress, and I think you are just a little too…BIG!” And he said it like that! Well, she started crying, sobbing like you would never believe, and I felt so bad! I wondered how is she going to do this job that she is there for? She was a young girl, just starting out. So I gave her a hug. I remember I said, “Honey, you look so wonderful, let no one tell you anything different. Here’s what it is you’re going to go, you’re going to rock this dress!” And believe me, that girl went out there, and she got the cheers that you would never believe. I was not the one who told his supervisor, but it went around and he got fired, on the spot, backstage, right in front of my eyes. That was Max Studio, backstage, a few years ago. They stood up for her.

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