Behind the Scenes at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show--From Backstage to the After-Party!

by Catherine Q. O'Neill

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The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show might last for an hour on TV, but behind the scenes, the day is actually a 36-hour nonstop race, from hair and makeup to the late-night buzz of a downtown nightclub. "Don't worry, I've only been up since 6 A.M.!" joked makeup artist Dick Page. We headed backstage, to the show, and to the after-party and tried to keep up.


9 P.M. (the night before) After finishing the rehearsal, the models stop by spray-tanner Kristyn Pradas's hotel room to get bronzed. "I contoured their bodies, accentuating their curves, muscles, and long legs," says Pradas.

10 A.M. (the day of) The 40 Victoria's Secret models stream into the New York Regiment Armory, which is decorated floor to ceiling in giant pink curtains. They slip on robes--but some keep on one accessory. "I always wear heels with the robes. It makes it feel not so homey and gets me in the mood for the show," says model Doutzen Kroes, who wears a black-and-white pair by Tom Ford.

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Catherine Q. O'NeillCatherine Q. O'Neill

10:30 A.M.
Model Alessandra Ambrosio (that's her above) fills up her breakfast plate at the buffet and sits down so hairstylist Orlando Pita can start to prep her hair, working mousse from the roots to the ends and blow-drying it. "We dry it very smooth so it's supershiny and healthy--not dry and beachy," says Pita. Once dry, he sprays the hair with Victoria's Secret So Sexy Finishing Spray and curls two-to-three-inch sections with a one and a half inch curling iron. To keep the hair looking loose and wavy, he skips the roller set and lets the curls drop down loosely. This is model Adriana Lima's favorite part of the day. "It's very relaxing to have someone touching my hair," she says. "I'm nervous!"


photo: Catherine Q. O'Neillphoto: Catherine Q. O'Neill

11 A.M. Once they're finished with hair, the models head over to Page, who's waiting for them with fluffy brushes. "There are no edges," he says. "Everything is diffused and soft." To give the models a lit-from-within glow, he swirls a peachy nude lipstick (Victoria's Secret Color Drama Lipstick in Melt) on their cheeks and nose before foundation. Then he lines the eyes with rich chocolate liner, blends deep brown shadow on the lids, and taps shimmery bronze shadow on the inner corners--followed, of course, with lots of mascara. Model Lindsay Ellingson applies her own. "My signature look is lots of lashes!" she says.

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photo: Catherine Q. O'Neillphoto: Catherine Q. O'Neill

2 P.M.
The models start the process of getting dressed--including strapping on 28 pairs of wings and lacing up their six-inch Nicholas Kirkwood heels.


4 P.M. to 8 P.M. The models walk in not one but two shows with two different live audiences, sharing the runway with Taylor Swift (who danced on stage with her close friend Karlie Kloss), Fall Out Boy, Neon Jungle, and A Great Big World. The glittery runway transforms from a British castle to a foggy evening road in Paris to a snowy winter wonderland in a matter of minutes. Adam Levine sits in the front row and gives fianceé Behati Prinsloo a standing ovation when she walks by in giant, flowing white wings. Oh, and Candice Swanepoel (above) wears a $10 million bra. "I get goosebumps all over my body when I walk down the runway. I think it's from the nerves. I'm like, 'Oh, my God, can everyone see my goosebumps?'" she says.

9 P.M. Show over. Everyone heads to Tao Downtown, a nightclub in New York City's meatpacking district. Kroes and Lima dance on chairs in the corner of the dance floor, while Kloss makes her way through the crowd, stopping every few minutes for pictures. By midnight, all the Victoria's Secret waves have been swapped out for slick ponytails, topknots, and--in the case of Cara Delevingne--a floppy black beanie. And no one shows any signs of slowing down. "The adrenaline keeps you going," says model Lily Aldridge. "This is the biggest day of the year!"


The Victoria's Secret fashion show airs on CBS December 10 at 10 P.M. ET/9 P.M. CT.

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