UCF students model women’s rights issues at International Women’s Day Fashion Show

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UCF students modeled women’s rights issues and sported confidence rather than just clothing at UCF’s eighth annual International Women’s Day Fashion Show.

In a red and black floral romper, Annie Allred’s heart pounded as she heard the upbeat pop music begin playing, a signal that it was her time to walk. 

Allred is a UCF junior studying international and global studies as well as advertising and public relations.

The audience clapped as Allred made her appearance. The clapping transformed into shouts of approval as she pivoted at the end of the catwalk, causing the flowing train of her romper to billow behind her.

A microphone was handed to Allred at the end of her walk — just as it had been to each model — so she could speak about child marriage in the United States.

That was the women’s rights issue she modeled for.

In partnership with UCF’s She’s the First, a nonprofit organization that provides scholarships for girls in low-income countries, the United Nations Association at UCF organized and put on a fashion show meant to spark conversations about women’s issues. The show was held in the Cape Florida Ballroom in the Student Union on UCF’s main campus on Wednesday.

Raffles were held throughout the night with all $107 of the proceeds going to She’s the First. Prizes from about 20 local businesses including Color Bar Hair Salon and Sus Hi Eatstation were given to those who participated in the raffle. 

The 11 models whose causes and outfits were on display Wednesday night pose one final time. UCF’s International Women’s Day Fashion Show, March 21, 2018. Photo by Colleen Longazel.

Allred is also the public relations director for the United Nations Association at UCF, but this was her first time modeling. She said she enjoyed every moment of the unique fashion show. 

“This fashion show is different because we invite models to wear whatever makes them the most confident,” Allred said. “We always try to have a topic about women’s equality in the world or women’s issue between walking. It’s very personalized and it gives our models a voice.”

Cammie Sims, a UCF freshman pre-med major, walked the runway in a bright-red gown and a curly red wig.

After his turn on the runway, Sims discussed the issue of discrimination against workplace attire.

The issue is close to Sims, who recalled a time when he was bullied for wearing heels to school.

“Men and women should not be discriminated against for what they wear in the workplace,” Sims said. “If a man wants to go and be a CEO of a big corporation, he should be able to wear whatever he wants even if he’s gay or straight.”

 The topics of the evening ranged from child marriage to workers’ rights, and Allred said the atmosphere was full of empowerment and joy.

“It was cool because I had all my friends in the audience cheering for me,” Allred said.

After walking the runway, UCF student Cammie Sims discusses the issue of workplace attire discrimination. UCF’s International Women’s Day Fashion Show, March 21, 2018. Photo by Colleen Longazel.

Danielle Dickey, vice president of She’s the First, said the event was a success. About 40 people came to watch all 11 models walk the runway and learn about women’s issues. 

Dickey, a UCF junior majoring in history and women’s and gender studies, walked the runway and spoke about education for girls.

“I really like how the event pairs fundraising with raising awareness of women’s and gender issues through statements from models,” Dickey said.

Alyssa Ramirez, a UCF senior studying anthropology and biology, modeled a black leather jacket and spoke about sexual assault awareness.

A survivor of sexual assault, Ramirez said she felt empowered during a short speech she gave after strutting down the runway.

“I’m here to address the prevalent rape culture and how our culture tells women it is their fault when men objectify them,” Ramirez said. “What we wear does not justify rape. Continue to stand for what is right because soon our society will be overcome by our power and need for change.”

Noa Tann, a UCF junior majoring in international and global studies, is the vice president of programming for the United Nations Association at UCF. Tann was in charge of putting together the event with She’s the First and said work began about two months ago. 

The two clubs coming together help impact the community through outreach, Tann said.

“This is our way of creating a strong community here where everyone feels comfortable but also engages with the world,” Tann said. “UNA is there to talk about political things but in a way that is open to people of all ideologies.”