*Hey ya'll! I had to take a blogging break while I worked at the box office of the Cleveland International Film Fest for a few weeks because it was just too much to keep up with, but I did do some wonderful fashion stuff and decided to do a quick recap of events...
I volunteer with the Renee Jones Empowerment Center and was invited to host a fashion show at the Columbus Statehouse on March 23, 2018 for the 2nd Annual Human Trafficking Youth Prevention Summit and it was a success! We tried to do it back in January but had to evacuate the area immediately due to the weather but it was postponed for March, which made it even better to showcase spring fashion!
After several break out sessions and a highly informative sex trafficking survivor Q&A panel, I gathered my models and got ready to show. When dealing with a teen audience, I love to first get them to understand the difference between fashion and style (fashion is what you wear, style is how you wear it) by using Beyonce (fashion) and Rihanna (style) as perfect examples and then I show them how they can look fly on a dime- meaning you don't have to spend a lot of money on an outfit to look good.
My models were all Columbus based (except for one young lady, Nina- who arrived from Cincinnati with her mom!) some were professional, some amateurs and some were just brave enough to answer my model call and at least one was an intern plucked out from the crowd who I asked to participate 30 minutes before the show started (Ray)!
I had prepped my models via social media and text messages by telling them to bring basic items- tank top, jeans, skirts, heels and at least one trendy item- body suits, track pants, etc and so it made it easier to pull something together when they arrived at the venue. As always, I mixed their clothes with my styling and extra accessories to create unique but wearable looks and I love it when my models like their outfits because it always shows in their strut! And baybeee did they strut!
Walking over the sound of my voice and the sounds of Jaden Smith's "Icon" along with Miguel's "Sky Walker" playing the background, my models were feeling themselves as the crowd went in hyping them up one after one! I wish I could have recorded it, but my phone was being used to play the music. It was cool though, because my models had fun and the teens appreciated the fact that my models were very diverse in shape, size, color and gender- which drives home the concept that representation matters!
The best thing was after the show was done and how many teens came up to me and my models asking for pics and questions and just wanting to talk to us and be heard about any and everything. I also received a very nice recognition letter from state representatives Teresa Fedor and Tavia Galonski highlighting my work with human trafficking. I was surprised and deeply honored because volunteering with Renee Jones has allowed me to use fashion and style as a way to talk about self esteem, self confidence and personal style- which all go hand in and hand.
Villains who prey on young women (and men) look for those with visibly low self esteem and who lack the confidence and ability to defend themselves and if I can help reach just one person and make them look at themselves differently- or just look at at themselves at all, then I have done my part and it makes me happy.
I'm forever grateful to Ms. Renee Jones, Teresa Fedor, Tavia Galonski and the Columbus Statehouse for the opportunity of allowing me to use their platform and host a fashion show (the first ever!) right there in the atrium!
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