The Haitian Student Organization held its 2nd Annual 50 Shades of Beauty Fashion Show on Saturday, March 21. The show was held to raise awareness about HSO and to help those in Haiti, as well as to get donations for Love-A-Child, a nonprofit organization that works to feed, house and educate children in Haiti. The turnout more than doubled that of the preceding year and was hosted by Clarke P. Jean Baptiste, a.k.a. YouTube comedy sensation Zoe Poze.
Belk of Gulf Coast Town Center, The Tuxman, Unique Apparel, #14fortyapparel and AddictionCo sponsored the show. There were three categories of outfits: casual, business casual and swimsuits. The outfits were each given commentary by Poze. The night was highlighted by a lot of dancing from the FGCU Dance Troupe and Tanm Kreyol, a Haitian dance group, as well as an open dance floor and live singing.
According to Josue Valbrun, former HSO president and fashion show event chair, more than 100 donations were collected from the guests at the show and went to Love-A-Child. Melissa Paniagua, a member of the Delta Sigma Pheta sorority and a modeling volunteer for the show, says she thinks the show was a success. “[We raised] as many donations as we could for the people in Haiti,” she said.
Zoe Poze couldn’t have said it better when he claimed that diversity was the best part of the event, both in the show and in the audience. Allison De La Cruz, a modeling volunteer, agreed.
“Just the diversity, and how everyone’s background was able to surface,” De La Cruz said. The cultural differences were what made the show fit.
Volunteers such as De La Cruz and Austin Dennison felt that one of the most rewarding parts of the event was the backstage antics, getting ready for the show and socializing with new people.
There were several speakers representing different groups who made the fashion show come together. Claude Villers, the faculty adviser for HSO, spoke to the audience and shared that the real beauty of America is its opportunity.
Rachel Torres from Love-A-Child said that even though we live in a world of great changes we have a responsibility to help, and Love-A-Child has done that by providing for more than 7,000 children. It’s not nearly enough, but it’s a start toward helping the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. With inspiration like this, it’s hard to go wrong.
“That even though we live in a world of great changes we have a responsibility to help,” Torres said in her speech.