At a New York fashion show Wednesday night, the ladies strutting down the runway weren’t supermodels — but some people might call them role models.
The show featured 14 women with some military might: Many served in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some are veterans, some still on active duty, CBS News correspondent Lee Woodruff reports.
Lacey Szekley and Kelly Smith are military pilots and sisters.
“You want to be able to serve your country, as a service member, as a veteran, that’s something that’s in your heart,” Kelly said. “But that doesn’t mean that you always want to have slicked-back hair and no makeup and boring fingernail polish.”
Designers like Calvin Klein, Michael Kors and Betsey Johnson donated dresses for the runway show, all designed to bring awareness to veterans’ struggles transitioning from military life to civilian.
Lacey retired from her position as an army helicopter pilot in 2012.
“It’s your job, it’s your identity, it’s who you are for a really long time, and when you get out, you lose that and you have to start from scratch,” she said.
For women more accustomed to combat boots than cocktail dresses, they appreciated the catwalk lesson from supermodel and Victoria’s Secret angel Hilary Rhoda.
“You know, the advice I gave them was just to have fun, and really enjoy the moment,” Rhoda said.
Makeup artist Bobbi Brown chose this runway show as her only event during fashion week.
“So much about how you look is how you feel, and so much about how you feel is how you look,” Brown said. “Makeup and concealer and getting your hair done make you feel better and give you more confidence.”
For Kelly, going to war was no big deal compared to walking down the runway.
“Even just sitting there as he was doing my hair I was like, ‘Alright, you just got back from Kuwait, you just had to deal with flying into Iraq, you can walk 50 feet and turn around and come back.’ But for some reason, it is so scary!”
But when the show began, these vets, more familiar with taking off from a runway, seemed completely at ease walking on one, too.
“You can be gross in combat — it is after combat that you want to be pretty,” Kelly said.
With Bobbi Brown doing their makeup, and iconic model Lauren Hutton in the audience, several of the women told CBS News they would love to walk a runway again.