Here is the story behind the photo above that I posted on Instagram:
On Thursday I was invited to the Pyer Moss runway show on behalf of Project Cobalt and was granted backstage access, to get photos and interviews for the blog. As I arrived backstage, all of a sudden I was approached by the runway director—who in a furry of excitement, just moments before the show started—requested that I must model in the show!! The next thing I knew I was being whisked away, disrobed, de-jeweled, hair combed, makeup painted and re-clothed by a team of people moving at the speed of light. I sprinted into position with the other models and just like that I was on the other side of Fashion Week. My NYFW runway debut.
I fell head over heels for that energy that you feel backstage before a fashion show when I walked for Christian Siriano in 2012 at Pink Rocks The Runway in Washington, DC. I love the chaos, the process, the art of being made up. The fantasy behind bringing a designers dream and imagination to life. Not to mention the juxtaposition of running wild and rushing as fast as humanly possible—to being completely composed, cool, unfazed and perfectly in tempo. I realized standing backstage that I have missed that feeling of being a part of a group since leaving the Marine Band a little over a year ago. Getting ready to walk out I felt totally comfortable and at home. I was part of a group again for the night and it felt nostalgic. I would march two steps behind the person in front of me with fierce militant movements, something I am well versed in after 8 years under the most extreme of pressure, accustomed to performing in the company of presidents, world leaders and dignitaries. Military to fashion industry, a much more natural transition than one might think! In a way that was my perfect performance scenario: No audition, no rehearsal, no waiting around—just get ready and go. And I was able to do it completely on my terms, orange hair and all. I am forever thankful for that truly unique and memorable NYFW experience.
I wasn’t until after the show that I learned more about the designer and the profound topic woven throughout the collection. Kerby Jean-Raymond, the designer behind Pyer Moss (pronounced Pierre) has been known as a menswear brand until this week when he debuted his womenswear collection. Yet the show conveyed a message beyond fashion design, Jean-Raymond created a video compilation based on the recent (and on going) controversy facing this country of police brutality and racism. Jean-Raymond wanted to use this platform and a captive audience to open a discussion within the fashion community and beyond, to reiterate, black lives matter. And after this weeks latest news of tennis champion James Blake being assaulted by police officers and Jean-Raymond’s own experience of having police guns drawn on him in NYC, this topic continues to be a compelling, challenging and difficult one.
Photo credit: The Cut by Alessandro Lucioni