The High School Boy Wears Prada

Senior’s Modeling Takes Off, Walks For Prada, Hugo Boss, New York Fashion Week


Photo Courtesy of Robert Sears

Senior Robert Sears is currently a model, and is being taken through a whirlwind of traveling, runways and New York Fashion Week. Sears began modeling at the end of his sophomore year and said the experience has been a good one. “The whole thing was just a series of good luck occurrences,” Sears said. “I thought I’d just be a little nerdy B team junior varsity football boy for all of high school, taking computer science classes and not catching footballs.”

By Kieren Garner, Cedar Park High School

It’s not uncommon for students in high school to have jobs. Whether it’s working in fast food or the local movie theater, it is often expected that students work. But senior Robert Sears has an unusual job that consists of flying abroad, cameras and his own face.

Sears began his modeling career at the end of his sophomore year when his sister, who had been dabbling in modeling and was looking for agencies, told him that he could be a model. Sears said that his girlfriend’s best friend was the one who put him in contact with an agent.

“My first photo shoot was a test shoot in Georgetown about a week after signing with a mother agency in Austin,” Sears said. “ It was a pretty chaotic experience that had me wearing everything from a button up shirt to a ruffled collar thing and no shirt.”

While for the typical teenage boy, wearing makeup can feel weird, according to Sears, his first experience wearing makeup actually made him feel more confident because people could not see his faults.

“Wearing makeup didn’t take much getting used to, but it made my face feel sticky,” Sears said. “I knew stage makeup was a thing just to make your face easier to see under lights, so I wasn’t too caught off guard. They never put a lot of makeup on me, usually, it’s just foundation, concealer, and Vaseline on my lips.”

Gender in fashion is fluid, according to Sears, who is regularly put into feminine clothes.

“I first wore feminine clothes at a shoot in Austin at the end of sophomore year,” Sears said. “My body type has always been very skinny and gaining muscle has been near impossible, so since the beginning, I’ve been styled in skin tight more feminine poses and clothes. I don’t really care who a T-shirt or pants are made for, as long as it looks good on me, I’ll wear it.”

While Sears models in feminine clothes, in the fashion industry his look is considered androgynous, which is someone who looks both masculine and feminine in appearance.

“I would very much consider myself androgynous looking,” Sears said. “I think it’s a mix of my body type and facial structure that’s more narrow and ‘feminine.’ Androgynous, to me, means a man dressing and posing in a more feminine way. I wear men’s clothes 99 percent of the time but especially in Europe, men’s fashion has almost always been tighter fitting and more feminine clothing.”

While many think that modeling only consists of sitting in front of a camera, Sears said that modeling actually consists of a lot more.

“Modelling consists of a lot of walking, not only at castings but to castings, which are what you have to go to to essentially audition for a fashion show,” Sears said. “You go in, they take your picture a couple of times, and walk in a straight line like you’re suddenly going to forget how to walk. There is also a lot of last minute travel. Most times that I have to leave for modeling I find out either the day before or a few days before. Most importantly, I feel that it consists of being a part of other people’s art. Whether it’s walking on a runway or posing in a photo shoot, there is a photographer or designer who made the clothes or captured the photo that you are now helping come to life.”

Modeling has provided college money for him, but Sears said that it has also helped him in his self confidence.

“I used to be the least confident person in the world,” Sears said. “I was riddled with acne, second string on the football team, and just plain awkward. Freshman year was like the opposite of my peak. I used to go into football for an hour and a half in the mornings, and an hour during school and maybe catch three footballs in that whole time. I genuinely had zero confidence in myself or my abilities. Then my acne went away, my bone structure finally sorted itself out and I finally found my style.”

Sears career picked up fast, and he says that he has been to New York Fashion Week twice and has modeled in various big shows.

“My latest NYFW was pretty relaxing, I ended up doing one show for Peacebird and the New York Fashion Week before that, I did the show for Hugo Boss,” Sears said. “Both were pretty routine, but the Hugo Boss show was double cool because I saw Henry Cavil and Dylan Sprouse in the audience which was kind of surreal. For Hugo Boss, it was the first casting that I went to when I got to New York and one of the last shows scheduled. I felt pretty disheartened during that first fashion week because I thought I didn’t get a show at all until a few days before the show. All in all, though, it was a crazy fun experience.”

In addition to Hugo Boss and Peacebird, Sears has also done a runway show for Prada in Milan.

“When I booked the Prada show at the end of sophomore year, I was honestly in shock,” Sears said. “I had just started modeling in Austin about a month before and then got a call that I would be flying to Milan and doing a major show that people try for years to get. Granted, I didn’t even know who Prada was until a few days before the show. Prada was the first actual modeling job I got and I was only 16 at the time The whole thing was just a series of good luck occurrences. I thought I’d just be a little nerdy B team junior varsity football boy for all of high school, taking computer science classes and not catching footballs.”

Sears said that the experience was very foreign, but still a great opportunity.

“Thinking back on the trip, it was a blur of anxiety and excitement,” Sears said. “I practiced my walk for hours in the hallway of the hotel and then when it was time to walk my heart was still pounding almost out of my chest. I was panicking in the lineup to walk until it was my turn. The stage manager had his hand on my shoulder and was watching a stopwatch to keep the pace of the show. My heart was beating like I was about to go on the scariest roller coaster of all time, and then he looked at me and just said go.

“When I started walking, I felt all of the anxiety leave and I was just trying not to smile, trip, and keep walking correctly. I remember seeing A$AP Rocky out of the corner of my eye as I was walking and had to repeat the phrase ‘dead puppies’ in my head to keep from smiling. It was the second craziest moment of my entire life. I got to leave the U.S. for the first time though, and eat wonderful food and see beautiful sights. Modeling has changed my life and given me opportunities I had never even thought were possible.”

This story was originally published on Wolfpack on November 7, 2019.