dont walk: a model interview

Jo Flashman interviews Ruari Bell about life as a dont walk model.


With The St Andrews Charity Fashion Show last week, this semesters fashion season is now in full swing. Yet, despite being a crucial part of the show it is often difficult to imagine what being one of the show’s models is actually like. Is it similar to modelling outside the university? How does it feel to walk the runway? Why do they choose to sacrifice end of night Dervish?

Happily Ruari Bell, dont walk model, agreed to meet to answer some of these burning questions.

The Saint: How would you explain dont walk to someone who knew nothing about it?

Ruari Bell: The first thing is that it is a charitable fashion event run by students. It’s a little bit quirky, little bit different; there’s always some surprises. We try to keep it fun as well. Not to compare with other fashion shows, but we like to interact with the crowd when we’re going out; take some drinks, you know. Play around with it because I think the more fun we have on stage the more fun people have.

TS: What does dont walk mean to you?

RB: The cause that we’re putting it on for [This year, FHI 360 and Comic Relief to combat structural inequality and violence]. We raise a lot of money for charity [and] I feel strongly about that which is good. I don’t have any personal attachment to them, but I just think it’s important that especially with St. Andrews being a pretty privileged university – everyone’s pretty privileged to be here, it’s good that we give back to the charities. Also the enjoyment factor is a big thing. Getting to know a bunch of people that you’ve probably never come across before […] and trying something different. I used to play rugby, but I can’t anymore because I had too many concussions. Going from a rugby pitch to a catwalk has been very different and exciting. You get the same sort of buzz from going out there as you do on the pitch in a funny sort of way.

TS: How long have you been a part of dont walk?

RB: This is my third year. Started in first year so I’ve been in the last two years and looking forward to this one as well.

TS: Have you done any modelling with any other groups?

RB: Yeah, at home actually I do a bit of modelling in the North East of England with an agency called Tyne Tees agency. It’s quite chilled out, I’ve done some surfing shoots and other bits and bobs

TS: How does dont walk compare?

RB: They [Tyne Tees] are pretty serious, as in you’re getting paid to do the shoot and it’s not catwalk stuff, it’s photo shoots. So although [for dont walk] we do photography and videography leading up to the show, which is serious as well, [for Tyne Tees] obviously you’re there to do that job and you actually get paid at the end of the day.

TS: How would you describe the feeling you get on the runway for dont walk?

RB: It’s a massive rush of euphoria and a massive adrenaline rush, it’s pretty cool. I try not to think about it too much so I don’t get nervous. I get more excited than nervous, just to enjoy the moment.

TS: What are you most looking forward to with the event this year?

RB: I’m pretty excited for the music of the after party. AJ Tracey’s playing which is quite a big deal because he’s quite a good musician. Seeing the weird and wonderful stuff that we’re going to be wearing as we go down the catwalk. And the new venue – it’s at a different location this year so I’m excited to see how that goes.

TS: What has it been like in the past with the ‘weird’ costumes?

RB It’s fun. I’d never wear them walking down the street personally, maybe a few things. When we had the Vivienne Westwood stuff, I can’t remember if it was my first year or last year, they had some cool stuff that I would more like to wear. Other times, blue suits with stripes down the middle, or luminous necklaces. We had some quite cool underwear last year, from Beaufort and Blake which was quite fun. Yeah it could be anything. I had a three quarter length suit that had error written all over it which was quite funny.

TS: Has any of it ever made you feel uncomfortable?

RB No, not really. I don’t mind because you’ve just got to throw yourself into it. So if you’re given something a bit quirky, it’s more fun in a way. It’s actually quite fun to wear something different. Just trust the people that put the clothes on you.


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