Back in May a friend with albinism contacted me to let me know Diandra Forrest (a well known model with albinism) was putting on a charity fundraiser and fashion presentation for the third annual International Albinism Awareness Day. They also let me know she was looking for models with albinism to join her. I was instantly interested. I’ve never been a part of something like this and the idea of making a quick trip to NYC seemed a little crazy. But after exchanging a few emails with Diandra and the producer putting the event together, I booked my ticket and anxiously waited for the day to arrive.
Getting Ready for the Event
It was June 13th at 2:30pm and I was the first model to arrive in midtown Manhattan at the meeting place where we would get ready for the event. I did a quick fitting with the producer before I met with the makeup artists and began getting my makeup done. Soon the other models trickled in. There were eight of us in total. Diandra came by and joined as we did our hair and began getting dressed.
We had a quick bite to eat (NYC-style cheese pizza of course) before we got dressed and had final touch-ups done. Our clothes were provided by designer Vaughn Terry. Terry is a respected designer most known for being the creative force behind the fashion from Prince’s Purple Rain era along with having designed for Oscar de la Renta and others. We took a few group pictures before heading out onto the street to catch our rides to the event venue.
Our Time To Shine
We arrived at the event venue, Beautique Lounge at 8 West 58th St, just before we were to make our debut. Prior to our arrival Diandra had begun the event with a speaking portion and a vocal performance by Mem Nahadr, a successful singer who also has albinism.
Then we came in. The bright lights shown down on us as we got into a square formation in the center of the room, ending with us in pairs holding hands.
Proceeds from the event went to benefit the Salif Keita Global Foundation, a charity that “brings media attention to the global plight of people with albinism, has advocacy for their rights and social integration, and raises funds to provide them with free healthcare and educational services in the US, Africa and around the world.” After the presentation the real party started! We took a few photos and then headed to our designated table to pop some bottles and dance, dance, dance. It was a beautiful night for a great cause.
Cover photo by James X Nova Photography with other media courtesy of me, my sister, and the other models