Beauty without boundaries
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
I have seen beauty in its purest form. And it has nothing to do with perfection.
Take that, air brushers of fashion photography.
Over the weekend, I was honored to model in Carbondale’s Green is the New Black Fashion Extravaganza. It was a fundraiser for the Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities. Just from this experience, I’ve learned so many things about myself – specifically in the last few days.
This has everything to do with beauty outside of the typical definition.
I know, society has set some stringent standards of beauty for men and women.
Thin, tall, and tan come to mind. These are all beautiful traits in their own right. There are plenty of thin, tall and tan people out there who are naturally thin, tall, and tan. That could be called winning the gene lottery.
My Barbie collection as a kid obviously hit the Powerball.
But move over, Barbie and Ken. I’ve been to a place where high fashion meets thin, tall, tan, curvy, short, and fair-skinned.
Here, weight is just a number and not a requirement. Even better, age is just a number, too. Tall is interchangeable with short. And skin tones can stay the color they were intended.
I know I like the skin I’m in, especially where there are freckles.
Since the last dance number of the show, where Bollywood inspiration filled the room, I’ve been collecting my thoughts about the fashion show preparation and performance. I feel like I’m writing on how I spent my summer vacation. There always seemed to be a lesson learned in those summer vacation experiences we all wrote about as kids.
It’s like I’ve been to summer camp for adults with runway fever.
There are more life lessons learned from the fashion show that I can list, but I do know a few aspects of myself I didn’t know until March 11, 2011. I know I can walk on a 8-foot-high runway in heels and not trip, fall and become the next model-who-trips-and-falls YouTube viral sensation. In this digital world, that can happen as quickly as a Twitter celebrity death rumor.
Yes, Charlie Sheen and Jim Carrey are both alive, despite the Tweets.
I know I’ll likely never make it on a runway as a New York Fashion Week model – unless 5-foot-5-inch, 30-something models who haven’t fit in a size 0 since the seventh grade become all the rage in fashion circles. This I highly doubt. But a girl can dream, or at least participate in a local fashion show that allows her to wear a vintage kimono in pearls and heels. I never knew how hot they were until I wore one under stage lights with stage make-up.
Hot has a double meaning there.
I know I love the adrenaline rush of being on a stage. Actually, I already knew that from comedy. But this is a whole new level of adrenaline production. This is a model’s rush. Making the crowd laugh is not exactly the goal.
Tripping and falling can achieve this rather easily.
Stage adrenaline is not life threatening like dangling over a cliff or free falling from a bridge. But it can be scary to perform in front an audience and walk in a kimono in heels with arms raised, showcasing the beautiful fabrics without tripping and falling.
Even with that thought in the back of my mind, this is my kind of adrenaline.
What I’ve mostly learned from my first Carbondale fashion show experience is that creativity can bring a community together to create beauty outside of society’s norms. And friendships are forged along the way that can never be broken.
The best part is this is all just the beginning for me, from friendships to inspiration.
Sitting on the wood floor of the Third Street Center round room a few weeks ago as co-producer Amy Kimberly explained the show, I didn’t know what to expect. “What could be better than a fashion show in Carbondale?” I thought. Free ice cream, maybe.
And puppies and kittens.
What I do know is beauty is defined in so many ways, there’s no one label to put on it. Fifty, 30, and 20 all have their own versions of beautiful. With age comes beauty, and the sooner we all appreciate that, the better off we’ll be. As does 110, 130 and 150 pounds for a woman. Each of those weights provides a range of appeal to women’s bodies – and different feelings for women when they are at those weights.
Beauty isn’t perfect. Neither am I.
That’s the way I like it.
– April E. Clark is thinking of Japan. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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