Vancouver International Fashion Gala

This week I had the pleasure to walk in the Vancouver International Fashion Gala (VIFG) on Saturday night. The theme of the night was Renaissance, which focused on the change in art in culture in Europe between the 14th and 17th centuries. 

About a month ago, I applied for the casting call for the fashion show but unfortunately, I got sick the night before and couldn’t make it. I’m not going to lie, although I was sick, I was also extremely nervous to walk in front of a panel of judges since the last time I went to a casting call I didn’t make the cut. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to receive an email a few days later from the head coordinator of the event asking for my measurements and just like that, I was in the show. At this point, I couldn’t turn down the offer and this wasn’t an opportunity I wanted to leave in my inbox.

The event was held at the Vancouver Club, near Coal Harbour. I showed up for call time at 1:00 pm and walked into a room of complete chaos. Since this event is run solely by volunteer work, there were people running around everywhere. But to be quite honest, I thought it was absolutely amazing. The amount of real emotion you saw from people made the entire experience feel like the real deal. 

My designer, Helene Hawthorn was unable to attend the show, so me and a group of three other girls got fitted last. Despite that, it was such a surreal experience to have someone personally fit me into my garment. After, I got my makeup professionally done for the first time. I’m so used to doing everything myself that I felt extremely special when I had others doing it for me. Halfway through makeup I was told that it was time for my section to head to the ballroom for the practice walk. 

This was the most daunting part of the entire night, I was told that we’d be walking toe to heel which is different than most runways as you are putting the majority of your weight in your toes. Due to the theme, we were supposed to pace ourselves as if we were walking down a wedding aisle as it gave the audience enough time to look at our entire ensemble. The runway was in the shape of a ‘U’ which makes your overall duration on stage much longer than an average catwalk. I only got one chance to practice down the runway, and in that moment wobbling all over the place I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it. Although there was much self doubt, I knew that I had come much too far in the day to back out because of my raging nerves.

After I finished the practice walk, I went back upstairs to get my hair done. The team wove a large five pound crown into my hair and any finished the final fitting for my garment. The doors opened at 7:00 pm but we didn’t go on stage until half past. My section opened the show, and as we were lining up behind the stage, a wave of anxiety washed over me. It was as if everything I had been working up to in my career came up to this one point in time. 

Runway is extremely daunting being well below the average height. I was the shortest model to walk that night besides the child of the production manager. After I was all dressed up, I felt like I belonged right beside all the other models. The minute I walked on stage, I took a deep breath and let my vision focus on one single point. From there I began walking and I wasn’t anxious or scared, I felt like I was completely in my element. 

Lastly, I was lucky enough to have Gary Mo (@yuen.wm) as my special guest. I’ve written many blog posts about Gary, and I was very happy to have him there supporting me. 

After nearly a semester worth of blog posts, I’m beyond excited to be able to share this moment not only with those from VIFG, but with you. I’ve been apart of many different things in the creative industry, but never a full-scale fashion show and I really do feel as if it tested all my strengths and weaknesses. I still have one more post for next week, so to almost come full-circle, I am beyond thankful to Nina Pak for asking me to join the show. This was one of the most telling moments for myself as I was allowed to do something that I’d normally not be allowed to do because of my height. It was an incredible night and I hope to be walking in more runways in the near future.

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