Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Model Behavior

Courage - noun. the attitude of facing and dealing with anything recognized as dangerous, difficult, or painful, instead of withdrawing from it; quality of being fearless or brave.

Who wants to be a model - you know, catwalk and all that? I did, at least, while I was in my sophomore year at the University of Florida. Being 5'-6" and 100lbs. isn't going to cut it, at least, that's what I thought ...

Walking across the college campus, a fuschia flier caught my eye on a bulletin board - BSU Presents: A Fall Fashion Show. Tryouts were being held two days later on a Friday night in an on-campus auditorium. I jotted the info down and ran to class. What good luck, I thought. There didn't appear to be any restrictions on height - hooray!

I didn't tell anybody (including my sister) for fear that I would jinx the whole situation. Strutting out of my dorm room on Friday night, I felt pretty sassy - black pants, super high heels, sexy shirt, lots of big hair (this was the '90's), and full make up. I hope I am selected, I think to myself as I approach the auditorium door. I open the door with sweaty palms and enter the room. The door creaks and 1,000 people turn to look at me.

Uh oh, I must be in the wrong place, as I look back at a room of African American men and women. A man on stage smiles and says, "Are you here for the fashion show audition?"

It's at this point that I realize BSU does NOT stand for Boston State University, it stands for Black Student Union. Okay, so a little insight about me, I am not one to shy away from uncomfortable or nerve racking situations. In some ways, I am drawn to them. Put me on an empty dance floor and watch me shine.

"Yes, I am here for the audition."

It went very well and the next day I was called and informed that I was officially in the fashion show with roughly 40 other people. We had rehearsals (almost everything involved choreography) five nights a week, four hours a day, for four weeks before the actual show. Ultimately I was selected for the evening gown, swim suit, and dance sequence (because although I was a white girl, apparently I could shake my booty and represent).

About half way through training for the fasion show, I mentioned my "star" status to one of my siblings, Tulip. I asked her not to tell anyone and I received the promise. The night of the show arrived quickly. While I was sitting on the shoulder of Derrell in a miniscule bikini two-piece swimsuit, waiting for the fashion show to start, I thought it would be nice if I knew someone in the audience. The curtain went up slowly. I kept telling myself, embrace your pasty-whiteness because you are the ONLY one (and I think I am reflecting light). I was wrong.

Tulip had secretly invited 30 of our sorority sisters (go Chi Omega!) to support me. As nervous as I was, I was so grateful for Tulip's support. The night progressed in flashes: my swimsuit riding up into the great unknown, tripping, but catching myself in my evening gown, "shakin' it" during the Janet Jackson "Miss You Much" dance sequence.

What a great night to remember. Could you do it?