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Sep 13 2016
by Mia Renee Cole

The Story Behind Gordonnay Gaines, The College Sophomore Who Fainted During Yeezy Season 4

By Mia Renee Cole - Sep 13 2016

Gordonnay Gaines, a sophomore at Seton Hall University, has found herself famous overnight after walking in Kanye West's Yeezy Season 4 show at New York Fashion Week. The show, held on Roosevelt Island just outside of Manhattan, was presented in the humid, summer heat of the September afternoon. Fans, critics and even the Kardashians sat in the blistering sun for nearly two hours before the show actually began, some spectators even choosing to leave before it started. The show, called a "hot mess" by multiple media outlets, featured exclusively multi-racial models who, while owning the runway, struggled to stay strong in the heat of the afternoon. While there was some criticism seen over the models who struggled to walk in their shoes, most of the public's attention went to the models who were dropping like flies in the middle of the park. That's right: one could say that it was almost too hot to model.

One of these models was Gordonnay, or "Gordie" for short. 

Fresh U had the opportunity to talk with Gordonnay about her experience with Yeezy Season 4 and how she transitioned from full-time college student to New York Fashion Week model (and back again) all in less than a week. "Fashion week is very busy, though, very busy, and being a college student puts a whole other load on your back," Gordonnay said as she explained how she balanced her schoolwork with her glamorous modeling in New York City. She even made sure to do her assigned readings while out of class - completing her Calculus homework and reading four chapters from her textbook in her spare time, like during costume fittings. 

"When my dad came to get me from school after I found out that I was going to be in the show." (via Gordonnay Gaines)

In fact, she was even in class when she found out she'd gotten a spot to model in West's show. It was the very beginning of her English class - before it had even begun - when she checked her email and saw she'd been selected: "I was like 'oh my gosh, oh my gosh!'" Gaines told us with her excitement still lingering on, nearly a week later. She said she texted her parents, sisters and close friends before leaving class so she could go to her first fitting. 

While most would be more than willing to tell their professors that they were missing class to model for Kanye West, Gordonnay felt differently, taking unexcused absences in her classes for the few days she spent in New York:

"I kind of just took the unexcused absences. I don't know. I'm just very low-key, I guess, about my modeling."

She explained that not many people knew she modeled, unless they followed her on Instagram. Now, most don't have to be following her on Instagram to recognize her face immediately.

"I was featured in 'Elle' which was crazy to me."

She's been receiving whispers on the streets and recognition everywhere she's gone in the last couple of days. While at a party last week she said someone recognized her and exclaimed, "Oh my gosh, that's her!" Gaines explained that this, like all the other situations she's had with people recognizing her, feels extremely weird to her: "I felt so awkward. Like it was so weird!"

But it's hard to not be recognizable after fainting in the middle of a Kanye West fashion show. Having been modeling for four years now, Gordonnay has never had a problem with falling or passing out while walking. "I never felt like that before," she told Fresh U, "I just got very dizzy and I tried to sit down to, like, not pass out. That's what my intentions were because, honestly, I didn't want to mess up the show."

She explained that her stubbornness is what helped contribute to her perseverance throughout the entirety of the show:

"When I walked back out I heard someone yell, 'Girl, just sit down!' But I guess I'm just so stubborn, I was like 'no.'"

After the experience was over she said she was thankful for the models surrounding her. "Models aren't, like, required to help other models," she said, "I'm glad I got to stand beside the girls who actually did help me." She explained that the other models were telling her to "just breathe, just breathe," as they waited for someone to come bring her water and take her to the EMT. Little did the crowd know, she'd be back on her feet and back out on the runway in no time.

"I don't blame Kanye West for what happened to me because it wasn't under anyone's control," Gordonnay firmly stated, "I feel terrible, but I don't feel bad for myself." She agrees that it was just the situation - the weather - that caused her to pass out and that she doesn't like when others try to blame West for the events that transpired at Yeezy Season 4.

Like any situation gone bad, there are lessons to be learned here, and Gordonnay hopes to send one out to her fellow college students: "Never let a negative situation get you down. Whether it's like you bomb a test or don't get the grade you want, you have to make it positive because you never know what comes out of a negative situation." In her case, this college sophomore has certainly gained a career.

Lead Image Credit: Gordonnay Gaines

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Mia Renee Cole - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Mia Renee is currently the Senior Editor with Fresh U and a student at UNC Chapel Hill, where she is studying Spanish and French. In her free time she enjoys knitting, photography and drinking hot tea while writing on her personal blog. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @miareneecole or her blog at!

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