The past two weeks, I had been participating in the United in Style event, an ambitious project involving fashion designers, models, musicians/DJs, emcees, show production people, and other supporting folks, culminating in three full days of musical shows and fashion shows.
When I found out about it, I figured I'd offer to walk as a backup model. I didn't want to participate as a designer, because I don't have much time with all the RL travel and projects I have until August, and I already participated in two other events as a designer earlier this year (the Fashion for Life clothing fair and the Fantasy Faire). And I also said that I couldn't start until the end of June when I came back from a 3-week travel.
At first, I was assigned one outfit designed by the amazing Sonatta Morales. Then, somehow, with all the people leaving for various reasons, I ended up with increasingly more responsibilities, some of which I volunteered for, just to keep Prissy Price (the founder of the event) from panicking. So I got a second outfit to walk, two teams to coordinate, which grew to four teams, and four other teams to help out with, emcee scripts to compile and distribute, music streams to collect, two group photos to take and process, three days of helping direct models/emcees/musicians/DJs during the shows, and an hour taking over as emcee at the last minute. Thank goodness, they didn't ask me to sing.
I am in awe
Some people called the event a disaster. Many people forget that it's not about them, that it's about raising funds for cancer research, that it's about saving real lives.
The project was chaotic, yes.
There was lack of communication all around, yes.
It could be improved in so many ways, yes.
It fell way short of its fundraising goal, yes.
It may have been a disaster, but it wasn't a failure. Not from my perspective. It would only be a failure, if we don't get anything good out of it. Personally, I did. Because, in those two weeks, I met many amazing people and I was awed.
"The true measure of a man is not how he behaves in moments of comfort and convenience but how he stands at times of controversy and challenges.”
- Martin Luther King Jr.
Both the teams in the Evening category -- "Breathless" and "Nocturnals" -- recovered well after being abandoned by designers. I bow to their resourcefulness.
Even Breathless's DJ Xerxes Ixtar recovered on Day 3 after an embarrassing conversation between him and his wife that was unintentionally broadcasted on his stream on Day 2. Well, embarrassing for him but funny to us. I bow to his commitment to delivering the best job he could and to making it right when he couldn't.
Rachel Dooley (Evening Team 1 "Nocturnals") stayed up late to clean up her team's emcee scripts and style cards after a designer withdrew at the last minute. RhiannaLynn Lane (Casual Team 1 "Fusion") compiled her team's emcee scripts and style cards in the same order as the line up and saved me a lot of time. I bow to their organizational skills, management skills, and dedication to their teams.
Avacar Bluestar, BillyJo Riler, Galdriel Inglewood, and Leigh Mialifo of "The Problem Children" (Casual Team 2) had the worst lag and even server crashes during their shows. I bow to their resilience.
Memory Thorne of "Disharmony Dream" (Haute Couture Team 1) and Rex Requiem of "Retro Glam" (Retro Team 1) bugged me to make sure their team's shows ran smoothly. I had to tell Rex he needs a good talking-to about panicking. Rex, here's your talking-to: "Keep clam." (Quote borrowed from my favorite seafood restaurant Ivar's.) I bow to their initiative to get things done and to continually follow up.
Katherine Comet and Aspen Parx of "Estilo" (Retro Team 2) were unable to pull together outfits for the competition, but they insisted on doing the designer showcase anyway. Even Blue Porchers, whom everyone thought had disappeared from the team, appeared on Day 2 to showcase additional outfits, in spite of incredible lag. I bow to their professionalism.
"Moda Hermosa" (Haute Couture Team 2) had disagreements and clashes within their team, yet they set their personal differences aside and came together on Day 2 to present the best show they could. I bow to their work ethic.
Lopez Fairlady and Memory Thorne, competing with each other on Day 3, collaborated with each other to sync up their poses for their finale. I bow to their broader sense of "team spirit".
I bow to Pooky Amsterdam for remaining calm under pressure. (And thank YOU so much, Pooky, for wearing opals in my honor. I AM honored!)
I bow to Wurlitzer Seisenbacher for his hilarious verbal antics.
I bow to NyuNyu Kimono for her foresight to wear a communicator to coordinate directly with the current modeling team while she emcee'd.
I bow to onyx Warwillow whose quiet empathy calmed me while I was pulling my hair out.
I bow to Rhianna's ear that patiently listened while I vented at the end of Day 2. (Thank you for the tea and sandwich!)
I bow to the many emcees/musicians/DJs/models who went with the flow as schedules and plans changed around them at the last minute, including Harlee Lane, Wurlitzer, WytchWhisper Sadofsky, and many others.
I bow to the many people who were willing to stretch themselves and do things they had never done before.
I bow to all of you who remembered why we are doing this and who saw this project through to the end.
And, finally, I bow to Prissy Price's vision and her tenacity to bringing that vision to reality. She may not be the easiest person to work with and I personally don't agree with her management philosophies, but she has good intentions and she listens to ideas. And, without her vision, this would never have happened at all.