On Sunday August 23rd, I was fortunate enough to be part of this year’s Hairdressers’ Disco Ball & Charity Hair Show at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center. It is an annual event that raises money for HVCS’ HIV/AIDS programs and services. I got a call from K104 the Tuesday before the event, which coincidently was my birthday. I had entered their Make-Me-A-Model Contest a few days early and they informed me I had won! Which obviously led me to becoming involved with this year’s event. I also got a ton of grand prizes, which included:
- A makeover courtesy of Jackie Coy and Collage Hair Salon
- Three Tickets to the show for my personal guests & Official HDB T-Shirts
- A Gift Basket full of L’Oreal Professional Hair Care Products from Four Star Salon
- Skin Care Products and a Gift Certificate from European Wax Center
I was thrilled but really nervous. At photo shoots I am confident and I know how to channel the nervous energy I get, but the idea of walking on a runway in front of countless people, didn’t sit so well with me. To be honest I wanted nothing more than to grab my prizes and haul ass out of there the seconds before I walked out on that stage. But I’ll get back to that later…
I got fitted for my dress a few days after my birthday and had a makeup trial the day after that. I learned that I would become the Bride of Frankenstein. I obviously didn’t say this at the time but I thought to myself, “Could there be a less sexy or less glamorous figure for me to be? The Bride of Frankenstein? Really? How the hell am I going to pull that off and feel confident while looking like the undead? Do they not know I am brown? Or how hard is it going to be to make me ghost white?” However, the makeup was done beautifully and the special effect scars on my head and down my back looked frighteningly real. Over the next couple of days, I kept feeling a mix of dread and excitement. I couldn’t wait for the day of the event, just so it could be over. Just so I could stop thinking up scenarios where I fall on my face and have professional photos capture the glorious moment.
Fast forward to the big day and I am sitting uncomfortably still in a chair at Collage Hair Salon. I am being transformed by the extremely gifted makeup artists, Sabrina Petrie and Katrina Anthony Tudi. Jackie Coy and Ashley LaManna bring down an unbelievably big and heavy wig, that will somehow be anchored onto my head. We’re going to wait until we get to the actual show before putting it on me and I have serious doubts about being able to go through with this. I learn that I must spend a full two minutes on the runway – which seems like a crazy amount of time to be out there, but I put it out of my mind and focus on being a good model. Sitting still in a chair while someone does my hair and makeup has become second nature to me. I try to focus on the moment instead. I breathe in and out as I raise my gaze up and down, adjust the tilt of my head from time to time, and I try not to go blind when stupid lash glue gets into my eye and burns the shit out of my corneas.
Backstage was a chaotic mess of glitter, weaves, and wonder. I have never been around so many talented and creative individuals. There was a ton of hair stylists, makeup artists, and costume designers. You could tell the competition was fierce between these salons (even though there is no winner, well, besides me! Lol). Most people were in a state of getting ready or retouching their makeup and hair. There is a ton of food and I am starving. Ashley sees me staring longing at the food and asks, “Want me to get you anything?” I reply quietly, “No I cant. I get gassy when I eat,” and she erupts into laughter and that makes me feel a little more at ease.
The team at Collage and I share a room with a group of girls that are in the process of making themselves into super villians. There is one guy with them who is trying to airbrush himself black to be Batman. Poison Ivy is the fiercest. There is also a Harley Quinn, a Two Face, and a Catwoman. I need to restrain myself from showing them the superhero flip flops in my bag, or begging them for their costumes. I need to be dressed like one of them for NY Comic Con this year and I can’t decide which one. I slowly start realizing, about an hour before the show starts, that every single salon has at least three models walking the runway AND they each had their own routines. The DC troupe will do arguably the most fabulous routine, and all the ladies who are super villains rehearse taking down Batman. I steal glimpses of their practice routine and want to die. According to the line up posted outside, I am following their routine. I am the ONLY person walking alone and with only days to prepare, I am winging it. I can barely keep my head up straight in my hairpiece contraption that is making my neck cramp. Then, I hear that last year they didn’t even play the right music for the K104 winner. Finally, minutes before I go onstage, there cherry on my anxiety sundae plops onto the ice cream. One of the coordinators tells me that I will be staying on stage after my walk with the hosts so they can give me one of my prizes, which is ironically a bottle of Belvedere alcohol. I want to chug it so much that when he hands it to me minutes later on stage, I pretend to chug it in front of the entire audience. Did I mention my three guests was my little cousin, a close friend, and my mom? I am a classy broad.
I want to tell you that once I got out onto the runway, the moment felt surreal. I want to tell you it was magical and amazing and that all my nervousness melted away. But the truth is I walked out their and couldn’t breathe. I forgot to pick up the prop I was supposed to walk the runway with (a bouquet of dead roses). I DID NOT stay on the runway for two minutes. I almost ran backstage before Kate Cinz from K104 stopped me. She asked me, “How did it feel walking our runway?” and I blurted out some inarticulate answer I can’t even remember. My brain has erased it in order to spare my psyche. After some awkward standing on stage while the hosts gave out an award to the creator of the event, Carla Ramos, I scuttle back behind the stage’s curtain.
I sneak out with Ashley and Jackie to see the rest of the show behind the crowd. There are great black curtains that frame the walls of the Civic Center during events like this, and I wedge myself in between their folds like the creeper my outward appearance suggests I am. I feel like I did horribly on stage, especially now that I was watching all the great performances by the other groups. Another coordinator spots me and tells me they wanted me back on stage to pick and call out raffle winners. I couldn’t say no. A big part of me wanted to go back on stage and this time I wanted to feel like I belonged there. So I picked raffle tickets out of a hat. I called out the winning digits like a busty blonde announcing lottery numbers on the news. It was a very weird but happy moment for me, one I won’t ever forget. It was my kind of perfect. Afterwards, I ran backstage and walked onto the stage with Jackie Coy, Ashley, and the rest of the models, makeup artists, and hairstylists, for the final catwalk. That was also a really nice moment, even though Ashley and I were blinded by the flashing bulbs from phones and cameras, we nearly walked right off the end of the stage.
Oh yeah, apparently I didn’t do as badly as I thought I did. Or maybe I did terribly and I just take good photos. This was taken by photographer Lauren Beale right as I turned at the end of the runway.