“Art is the triumph over chaos.”
Between heartbreaking terrorist attacks around the world, a disturbing mood of tension and intolerance on social media and a heavy workload of assignments that are all due before the Thanksgiving holiday, I’ve been struggling to stay optimistic this week.
So I need to post about something lovely and inspiring today.
In times like these, I believe that art has the power to inspire us and unite us. It can make us smile, make us think and help us to look at our lives and each other in a new way. And sometimes art does all of these things and makes a real, substantial difference in people’s lives.
The 10th annual Bras on Broadway fundraiser is an example of art that makes an impact. This event showcases the work of over 50 local artists and honors those in Fargo-Moorhead and the surrounding communities who have battled breast cancer.
Artists create wearable and non-wearable art that is auctioned off and the proceeds support cancer warriors in the region. This year we raised $155,000 for the cause.
The wearable art fashion show is one of the most popular parts of the program and the bras the artists create can fetch top dollar. This year I had the opportunity to walk the runway with some of the most gorgeous, talented ladies in Fargo-Moorhead. Not only was it an amazing event that made an impact, it was also a great party and a lot of fun.
Here’s a look behind the scenes at the Bras on Broadway Fashion Show.
The day started early for all of us models. We reported to Olivieri’s Salon in downtown Fargo for a whirlwind hair and make-up consultation.
Our talented stylists consulted the bra line-up and based our looks off of the wearable art the artists created. In a flurry of feathers and eyelash extensions and glitter (sooooooooo much glitter) our looks took shape.
My friend Sanita Repak created the bra I wore, a cute little cupcake number that’s appropriate because she’s also a talented baker. (You can read about her work here.)
I met Sanita when I photographed her for a Street Style column for this website and she’s been tempting me with her delicious creations ever since.
And now I get to wear one! I think the bra turned out great and Sanita looks fabulous as well.
My stylist was inspired by the idea of frosting and sprinkles and combined a strong winged eye with sweet pink cheeks, a thick fringe of lashes and sequins to create this look.
I think it’s fascinating how make-up can make me look like an entirely different person. And those eyelashes!
After we got our make-up done we had some time to kill, which means that the baristas at 20 Below Coffee Co. now refer to me as “The girl that came in with all that stuff on her face.”
Then it was on to The Hotel Donaldson to get dressed. There were over forty ladies and lots of costume pieces in a small space, so the mood was one of estrogen and free wine-fueled camaraderie.
It was fascinating to see the variety of bras the artists created. No two were even remotely alike and the hair and make-up really brought them to life.
The models in the show came from all walks of life.
Sure, some were pageant contests, like the lovely Jenna Morlock, who competed in the Miss North Dakota pageant. She modeled another one of Sanita’s creations.
But I also met teachers, lawyers, artists, other writers, mothers and nurses. There was a wide range of ages and body types represented in that dressing room. And we all looked pretty fabulous.
I also saw a lot of familiar faces.
My friend Megan from Bob 95 FM was there and she totally showed me the ropes, since she’s modeled in the show before.
We ran into Sabrina Hornung, artist and editor of High Plains Reader, the first newspaper I worked for back in college. She co-designed the bra she’s wearing.
Sabrina asked me to write a few fashion articles for the Reader next month, which I’m pretty excited about. I’m also pretty sure this will be the only time in my career that I’ll ever pitch an editor shirtless…
The organizers gave us a ten minute warning, so everybody needed to take a moment to primp. The scene by the bathroom mirror was amusing. It looked like were were getting ready for a particularly fanciful prom, all up-dos and ruffles and eyeliner.
And then we waited. And waited a little more. And we started getting a little silly. My friend, model Kristi Wilson, kept making me laugh.
I probably should have asked her (an actual, you know, professional) for some runway tips, but we were having too much fun. And it was soon time to go!
We walked four different stages that night and the show ended in a pink-lit tent that ran down the middle of Broadway.
Breast cancer survivor Denise Schrader was the last woman on stage, wearing this stunning, light-up creation by Kerstin Kealy. For the grand finale, this brave woman unveiled the tattoos that mask her double mastectomy scars.
She got a standing ovation. I wish I could have seen it.
Then it was off to mingle and encourage people to bid on our bras. I spent a lot of time making friends on the dance floor with my old friend, talented dancer, child development specialist and mama of five, Jen Enz.
This girl doesn’t look a day older than when we met as teenagers. And nobody can rock a minion bra like she can.
Once the bids were in, we could put our street clothes back on and join the party. I owe a special thanks to Paul Bougie and the rest of the band, The Front Fenders, for helping all of us increase our bids.
It was an amazing night for an amazing cause. If you’re in Fargo next October, I can’t recommend Bras on Broadway enough. It’s one of the best parties in town. And it really does make a difference.
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The #PrairiePeople, #PrairiePlaces project is sponsored in part by a grant from North Dakota Tourism. All opinions are my own, always.