“I can be a model,” said first-year Terry Daniels. “What’s holding me back? I can be fierce like them. I can be Tyra Banks.”
Come April 8, Daniels will be doing what Tyra Banks built a career upon: strutting up and down a catwalk. Except in this fashion show, the fashion will not be the focus.
“It is an intersectional fashion show,” said Daniels. “Everybody is included: black, white, Latino, Asian … big, small … everybody.”
“We wanted everyone to come out and not be afraid of being in their own skin,” said sophomore Jessica Canar, the president of HUG and Daniels’ assistant for the event.
“(The fashion show) is empowering Guilford students to be original and out there,” said Katie Williams, senior and one of the show’s models. “Guilford prides itself on being accepting of everyone. I think that for someone to promote that through fashion and have fashion be a way to express yourself … is really awesome. It’s about being fabulous and owning it.”
Owning what exactly? The models seek to own the different identities each of us have and show us how they intersect. This concept of intersectionality is a pillar of social justice that Daniels wants to address because of how it has affected her life and how she views herself.
“Intersectionality is important to me … because I know how it feels to have one identity intersect with another identity,” said Daniels. “One identity that I have is being black, … and another identity that I have is being queer, but they’re never mutually exclusive. They’re interconnected. … To me, they’re both important identities.”
Daniels talked about the role the media and pervasive stereotypes play in forcing people to limit the scope of who they are.
“(They) tell you that if you’re black and you’re queer, then you have to pick one,” said Daniels. “Throughout my whole life, I never wanted to pick one because I’m both.”
Growing up, Daniels loved fashion but felt she could never be a model because she did not fit into the category of what society labeled beautiful. But now that she has defined beauty for herself, and has an inspiring amount of confidence, Daniels wants to ensure that other people feel beautiful too.
“This fashion show is something I’ve dreamt of, and it’s finally coming true. I cannot wait for the final product,” said Daniels. “All the stereotypes (about beauty) — like you have to be skinny, you have to be white, you have to have straight hair, your hair can’t be kinky — I want to dismantle with this show. All of my models are different races and gender identities … and they’re going to show you that this is beauty. They all slay.”
While she and her models are slaying the runway, Daniels hopes that her message gets across and impacts Guilford.
“I want to (start) conversations about how there’s no standard of beauty,” Daniels said. I want people to take away that you define (what’s beautiful) for yourself and do not let society or anybody tell you that you’re not beautiful because you are.”
Canar expressed similar sentiments about how she thinks the fashion show will influence Guilford.
“It’s a way to bring everyone together,” Canar said. “In the MED (Multicultural Education Department), we talk about all of these cliques around campus, and I think that this is a good way to break that.”
Uniting the Guilford community to make us all feel beautiful while teaching us about social justice issues: If that doesn’t convince you to attend the fashion show, I don’t know what will. But I will throw in that Daniel’s runway walk could put Tyra Banks to shame. Trust me on this.
The fashion show will be held on Friday, April 8 from 7 to 9 p.m. in front of Founders Hall. It is sponsored by Pride, HUG (Hispanos Unidos de Guilford) and the SPC and is being hosted by Queer People of Color. The event is free.