Confessions of a Fashion Shoot Coordinator

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“Nobody would believe the effort that goes into making these fashionistas look beautiful. Some of them don’t even bother to wax before a shoot.”

Being a fashion shoot coordinator is the most thankless profession in the world. For all those who live with the illusion that this job is a ticket to the glitz and glamour of Bollywood, think again. The first day on the job will kill all your starry dreams.

Low self-esteem to stomach all the yelling and stamina to run around, these are pretty much the only two qualities required to be a proficient shoot coordinator. The job description is fairly simple: you have to fix venues, chase photographers, ferry dresses around, withstand starry tantrums, and accept being shouted at. And at the end of the day, all the credit will go to stylists and fashion magazine editors.

You will be a jetsetter, but only as a courier girl. I have done umpteen assignments where I’ve flown from Mumbai to Delhi just to pick up dresses from designers who are running behind schedule. Once, as a designer worked on a dress, I finished endless cups of coffee knowing that my flight back had left, without the dress or me on it. I sat there for four hours glued to the phone, alternating between screaming at the designer’s staff, yelling at airline officials and being bellowed at, in turn, by a magazine editor for the delay.

And that’s just an ordinary day. It is when the Cruellas from Bollywood arrive that hell really breaks loose. Take this top Bollywood actress for instance; she made continuous demands all day, for everything from roast chicken to zillions of cappuccinos. A minute’s delay and her highness’s secretary would step out of her vanity van demanding an explanation. 

Nobody would believe the effort that goes into making fashionistas look beautiful. Some of them don’t even bother to wax before a shoot. While it is the responsibility of the stylist to transform them into divas, it is the shoot coordinator who has to magically conjure up wax, tweezers, bleach, and everything else within seconds. Finally, when these queen bees shine on magazine covers, no one can see the colony of pimples under the make-up. This job lets you see the world of glamour for what it really is: a place where nothing is what it seems. 

(She has been working in the fashion industry for three years)

As told to Avantika Bhuyan