To the layperson, there is seemingly no rhyme or reason to what makes a good runway model. Hey, that stupid girl over there is tall and skinny and has a nice face and learned to walk at some point in her life, she’s perfect!

Get it together, person speaking. No, no she’s not, and there’s just so, so, so many reasons why. But don’t worry – it will be my pleasure to condescendingly explain this to you, which will serve the dual purpose of educating you in the gentle art of occupational discrimination, as well as making me feel like a real big shot. Shall we begin?

First off, let’s start with an easy one: runway models absolutely cannot have a nice face. They can have an interesting face, a striking face, an angular face, a childlike face, an old-like face, an architectural face, an androgynous face, or a blank face, but NEVER a nice face. Send that girl over to your high school’s yearbook committee for a possible cover shoot, because that’s the only organization that cares about a nice face.

Secondly, what KIND of skinny is she? Didn’t think about that, now did you, you paralegal or rare car mechanic or fuckin’ whatever you are. Is she LA skinny, with a toned body and big, probably-fake boobs? Is she New York skinny, with slender limbs and an undefined waist? Is she Brooklyn skinny, which is the same as New York skinny, but in an ironic way? Is she Miami skinny, with a big ass and a full butt and a nice caboose? Is she Chicago skinny, and by that I mean fat in all the cities I mentioned previously? Or is she runway skinny, which is to say human wire hanger-like. Runway skinny means that nothing, nothing is in excess on your body. Skin, bone, muscle, hair, teeth, nails – keep it minimalist, or be banished to rap videos and/or Kohl’s print ads. Designers want the clothes to be the focal point, not some rotund uvula or a pair of chubby earlobes.

Thirdly, and I cannot stress this enough: is she tall enough? And the answer is no. Stop it. Game over. Actual current runway models are not tall enough, so how would that girl over there be? I don’t care if she can reach the spices on the tallest shelf in your pantry – wait, do you know this girl? She’s your cousin?? Oh my god, why did I even bother…

To sum this shit up already, show me a person who’s vaguely ugly, the right kind of skinny, and the tallest, and I’ll show you someone with potential to be a runway model. Show me someone who doesn’t meet the above-outlined requirements, and I’ll show you your cousin. However, get ready to have your mid-western mind blown, for there is indeed one shortcut to walking NYFW, and the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate: Taylor Swift, the deus ex machina of modeling. Her friendship contract includes trips down the runway as a standard perk, no matter your size, shape, or bone structure. So while I’m around 156% confident I know the answer to this question, I am obliged to ask: is your cousin friends with Taylor Swift? Of course she’s fucking not. Now both of you scamper on and remember that runway models are not the only kind of models. There are showroom models and print models and editorial models and car and boat show models, and while your cousin probably can’t be any of those either, it’s nice to have a goal.