Tag Archives: beauty

OFA’S 2nd Annual Spotlight Gala: walking the red carpet + speaking out on human trafficking

When I found out about OFA, I was ECSTATIC. OFA stands for Operation Freedom Awareness. It’s a non profit organization dedicated to raising awareness in local communities and ultimately preventing Human Trafficking, beginning inside the United States. The long term goal of OFA is implementing prevention, and later introducing and operating a rescue and rehabilitation shelter. Mallory Charette is the official founder. She currently works in the Marketing & Public Relations Department for a prominent restaurant group in Downtown Greenville, South Carolina. Her determination has made such a huge difference for victims everywhere.

The Spotlight Gala shed a light on the progress & success this dedicated organization has made. As we arrived, a sparkling red carpet led the way into a club no other than the Poinsett Club. A glamorous spot for most charity events in the Greenville, SC area. Vintage patterned wallpapers & gorgeous tan drapes made the perfect vibes for an event so powerful. The guest speaker’s name was Tajuan McCarty. She was trafficked all the way to Greenville. She started selling drugs at a young age to make her quota every night. She began to depend on her pimp. Soon, she started drugs herself. Hard drugs. She eventually developed Stockholm Syndrome. It’s where you defend your abuser because you’ve come to depend on them so profusely.

OFA has saved 115 children from sex trafficking. 15 just in the upstate. There have been 10 pimps arrested & 11 victims helped. Currently, there are 10 cases being investigated. If there was anything I absorbed that night, it was that human trafficking is happening EVERYWHERE. All over the United States. The hotspots are carnivals, fairs, truck stops, and sites such as Craigslist.

Greenville, SC is in between the #1 hub for sex trafficking in the U.S. (Atlanta, GA) and another city in the top 20 (Charlotte, NC).

For more information about this hard working organization, I’ll leave the link HERE. In the mean time, scroll down for a picture of a pretty cool ceiling I saw at the gala 🙂 THANKS FOR READING LOVESSS. (Huge thank you to OFA for giving me the privilege to cover the event & another to Janae Hunter for makeup and hair.)

“There is no time to be bored in a world as beautiful as this.”

Charleston Fashion Week: I sat across from Fern Mallis??

CHARLESTON FASHION WEEK WAS ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE. Huge thank you to the staff for providing our passes. On Saturday March 19th, I had the honor of covering this event with upcoming designer/close friend Makaila. You can check out her shop here and I’ll put her social media here. She’s also an upcoming photographer from Atlanta who kindly agreed to come along and photograph the event.

First of all, just being in Charleston was fascinating. Although it wasn’t my first trip, getting to explore on our own time was such a breathe of air. The palm trees gently brushed against a nearby Urban Outfitters, while the smell of food intoxicated the air. For those who don’t know, most of the movie The Notebook was actually filmed on King Street in Charleston. Plus, even though the fashion show was in Marion Square, we were walking distance from Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Passing the church where so many innocent people were killed was eery, but inspiring. Just another addition to a life changing night.

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The Youngest Models of the Night

 

On arrival of the event, we headed to the media section to pick up our press passes. I was literally shaking with excitement. Fern Mallis was the lead judge of the show, who traveled all the way from New York. As Creator of New York Fashion week, she leads fashion shows worldwide including Miami, Los Angeles, and Moscow. Fern was a host of 92Y Fashion Icon series with guest such as Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs, and Dian von Furstenberg. She appeared on Project Runway, America’s Next Top Model, She’s Got the Look, and The Fashion Show. I actually read an article before the show from September. Fern was offered a front row seat at Kanye’s Yeezy Season 2 collection but Kanye was a little upset that she didn’t show up. You can read the article here.

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Makaila (right) and I

The lavishly furnished tents reeked of preparation for what lie ahead. Security guards and policeman surrounded the tents. There wasn’t a model in sight, just eager guests waiting to see what the designers had in store. (You can watch my video of the BELK tent here.) I arrived to my seat early. Sparking VOSS waters comfortably sat on each chair. The seats on my row were all labeled media. I was seated on the second row mid stage.

During the show countdown, I noticed a lot of commotion on the other side of the runway. It turned out, all the designers and special guests were right across from me. Including Andrea Serrano. She arrived in a stunning red dress, gracefully greeting the guests around her. Andrea wasn’t only a weekly judge, she’s a popular fashion blogger in the Charleston area. Not only did she do the costume shopping for Army Wives, she also worked with national brands such as Refinery 29, Williams Sonoma, Macy’s, QVC, Maybelline, Sony Records, and more. You can check out her blog here.

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Fern Mallis (middle) acting as Lead Judge

I was fortunate enough to acquire press passes to the Emerging Designer Competition. (You can watch my videos of the other lines hereherehere, and here.) Everyone’s lines were so unique but the one that really stood out to me, and apparently the judges as well, was Destani Hoffman’s line. She expressed her emotions in her pieces which were dark, leaving everyone hopelessly mesmerized. As the winner, she received $10,000 as well as an internship. You can see the clip of her line I got here.

After the show we skipped the after party and headed back to the hotel. Some locals informed us that even at such a late hour, most of the restaurants on King Street were still open. So we headed into a taco shop. Thankfully they had a vegetarian menu. On our way back to our car, I noticed there was a women behind us trying to get through. I moved to the side and she noticed my swag bag from the fashion show. “Were you guys at the show?” she asked. We explained that we were press and she introduced herself as ONE OF THE JUDGES. There we were. Walking down King Street with Karen Lee Grybowski. She served as the director of scouting for Wilhelmina, Pauline, and Elite Model Management, as well as traveled the globe looking for new faces. In 2009 she started the Karen Lee Group, a scouting firm that places models with amor agencies around the world. (You can check out her website here.)

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Andrea Serrano (left) and Karen Lee Grybowski (right)

As we walked down the dimly lit street, I jokingly asked her if Makaila and I had any chances at becoming models. She stopped in her tracks and immediately studied us. Although Makaila didn’t reach the height limit, she said that I had an interesting look but I needed to get in shape. She proceeded to give me her phone number and encouraged me to shoot her an email. I was dumbfounded.

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The BELK Tent

As we made our way to the car, tacos in one hand and swag bags in the other, we both silently knew that what we experienced that night was so rare. Everyone on that runway was stunning and I’ll never forget how fortunate I was to be in attendance.

“Clothes mean nothing until someone lives in them.” -Marc Jacobs