We've heard all about how models prepping for a Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show have been known to eat no carbs, do months' worth of planking, and consume tons of steamed kale. But what does that level of pressure and spray tanning do to a woman’s psyche? Does it work its way into your subconscious?
Backstage before the show earlier today in London, the Cut attempted to get to the bottom of this by asking ten models a question: Do you ever have anxiety dreams? Read their detailed, and occasionally harrowing, responses below.
“About a month before the show, I start having weird anxiety dreams. Usually it’s that desperate dream when you don’t make it in time. Like, I’m dressing and the show is going on, and I miss my spot because I’m still getting dressed. But the last one, Alessandra [Ambrosio] was in it. I don’t remember exactly what happened, but I feel like she stole my wings.” —Candice Swanepoel
“Last night, I had kind of a nightmare. I fell asleep for, like, 20 minutes, and I dreamt that the two friends I invited to the show didn’t show up, and I was freaking out because I wanted them there.” —Elsa Hosk
“I had the same one twice, I think — exactly the same thing. I’m in a place that looks like a square, but with nothing inside. And I’m trying to find something. I’m going around and around and around the inside of the square but I can’t find it. [Mimes panic.] I’m like, ‘Where is it?!’” —Ming Xi
“Honestly, I don’t really have anxiety dreams. If I ever have nightmares, they’re about zombies. Nothing happens — I’m just running, and it’s pretty intense. But I love zombie movies.” —Lily Aldridge
“Last night, no, but sometimes when I get very excited. Last week, I dreamt I was playing volleyball with Gisele — that was fun. I was just thinking about the whole Victoria’s Secret thing, and I get excited and crazy dreams come. I didn’t have a chance to finish the game, so I don’t know who won.” —Lais Ribeiro
“I’m running and it never ends — I’m constantly running away from something. I just feel really stressed out, and then I wake up and I feel even more tired.” Did you have any dreams in the run-up to this show? “It didn’t even hit me until yesterday when we were doing the rehearsal — the whole time I was just like, ‘This is fun!’ and then I saw the stage and I was like, ‘Oh my God, it’s real.’ I think it’s more scary during the day. Going to sleep is like an escape.” —Taylor Hill
“Anxiety dreams … totally. You know, I wish I understood more about dreams. I have friends who are really well-read about it, just because they’re interested, and I love hearing about the psychology behind why our brains have dreams. I always dream about travel — I get really anxious about missing flights. I think it’s because I have a tendency to cut it too short in real life. Knock on wood, I have only missed three planes in my whole life — not bad. But in my dreams, I miss them all the time. Now that I’m an angel, I should just spread my wings and fly. I’ve got my own transport.” —Karlie Kloss
“I haven’t had any anxiety dreams leading up to the show, but I once had a really random dream where my brother was sentenced to something, and then he had to murder me in order to free himself. So we had lunch and talked about how we should do this, because I didn’t know if we could get away with it. It was so weird — what is that? And I woke up before I knew the ending. I love my brother — I told him and he was laughing hysterically.” —Grace Mahary
“Not recently, but I have two anxiety dreams. You know when you’re dreaming that you’re walking, and you’re going downstairs, and you slip? And you wake up from the slip? That’s the one that gets me. Or being trapped in a room, and not having an escape route. That’s the anxiety dream I have the most.” —Joan Smalls
“It’s so funny that you ask me, because this morning I was talking about it with one of the girls. I’ve been dreaming this same dream for a long time now, on and off, and it happens exactly the same from beginning to end. There’s a lady trying to escape from a guy, and it takes her so long but then she’s able to make it. I told my friend and she said to me, ‘Oh, so that means you’re in a cage,’ and I was like, ‘No, it has nothing to do with me! It’s just a weird dream!’” —Izabel Goulart