Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Mustard Seed Communities Annual Benefit Luncheon

On Sunday, I spent the better part of my day down at the Hilton Hotel in NY preparing for The Mustard Seed Communities Annual Benefit Luncheon and Fashion show (formerly known as The Heartbeats of Jamaica).

The Mustard Seed Communities Int'l, is a Not-for-Profit organization that began in 1978 as a home for children with disabilities who had been abandoned or orphaned to the streets of Jamaica. More than 28 years later and under the direction of Father Gregory Ramkissoon, Mustard Seed Communities continues to provide caring, sharing and training to children, youth and adults in 14 communities throughout the Caribbean, Central America and Africa, with over 20 outreach programs. At the forefront of Mustard Seed's expansion is the creation of village communities for orphaned babies, children with disabilities, families living with HIV/AIDS, pregnant teens and battered women.

I have volunteered my time for this luncheon every year since it's inception in 1995 (lol..I think?) and I always have a good time hanging out with Walter Greene and all of the models, makeup artist Ewan Walker (who I worked with on FAT Chance), hairstylist, Marcy Walker (She used to hook me up when I had hair ya'll..lol) and even the wait staff!! (Thanks for the Rum Punch hookup ya'll!!). Anyway, as I said...I have been doing this show for years and the lineup is always ever changing...but this year I did get to see a few familiar faces on the runway as well...Including my home girl (and budding restaurateur...when she makes up her damn mind to retire..lol) the always beautiful Lene Hall. I also reconnected with some of the models who walked in Guyana Fashion Week 2007...Naeon, Angel, India and Kathleen (of ATNM fame) as well as some of the designers that came down too: Cleon Cummings of Debonaire Boutique in Brooklyn and Donna Dove and her Sugar Cane Collection (Thanks for the outfit Donna...I will wear it well!)....also presenting in the show were Sonny Puryear (swimwear), Duane Fish (menswear...with a twist!), Abiola Davis, Glenroy March (D'Marsh Collection), The Couture Collection from stylist Ty'ron Mayes and my absolute FAVORITE presentation of the evening....the new "Dana O." line from Queen Latifah and Susan Moses!

Usually, I am the only plus sized model at this show and the pickings as far as clothing goes are usually slim...but I was amped up because I have worked with Susan for YEARS...(see my Happy Bday Susan Moses Blog for a history lesson!) and I knew she was gonna do the plus sized gals right!!! And I was DEAD ON with my prediction...that collection was DROP DEAD GORGEOUS!!! Susan brought along her design partner, Sunil, Miss Nicole Brewer and a wonderful sister named Shaneen AND she brought some of the baddest plus sized models in the business to help her present the collection. Besides my own fabulous self..lol...there was Miss Mia Amber (I don't think I have to keep saying how much love I have for Mia...you should all know by now!!!), Miss Angellika Morton (Always beautiful and funny to boot!), Miss Winnetka (those green eyes do me in every time!) and 1st timer Ena Escallier (hope to see a lot more of Miss Ena...she's beautiful!).

After hair and makeup there is always a lot of "down time" as we wait for the show to begin and this year was no different...they always provide us with lunch, so after we all got fitted and got our makeup done...we headed to the buffet and sat down and enjoyed escovitch fish with pickled veggies, jerk chicken, rice & peas, curried chickpeas and fried plantains and the ever popular rum punch!!! Then it was time to get down to business. I walked for Cleon Cummings first and then I opened the Dana O segment in a winter white, double breasted maxi coat, with matching slacks and a gold & cream paisley blouse...complete with shades and a cream bag! Baby!!! I felt so good in that outfit...I had to walk the runway twice!!! I don't know about anyone else but after YEARS of walking in er...questionable? clothing....when you feel good in the clothing you are wearing...you have no choice but to just "GIVE IT TO THEM!!!" on the runway (and I swear to you....I tried to kill them!!..lol). There were only five of us in the segment so Walter brought out Susan and did a brief interview with her about the work that she's doing on the line and then it was time for our second outfits. I closed our segment with a to-die-for black and silver body hugging floor length skirt and a black satin (?) high collared shirt with a patent belt...I don't usually wear belts..but I kid you not! Miss Susan knows her stuff...I couldn't have felt more beautiful if I had dressed myself..lol. I walked one more time for Donna Dove in a black & white handpainted fitted outfit..(that she presented to me as a gift from Guyana!!) and then I was headed out the door...I had a dinner meeting across town so I said my goodbyes, did my hugs and kisses and literally flew out the door!

Btw...Miss Mia told me she has gotten a new gig and has returned to daytime television (when I met Mia she was a producer for The Ricki Lake Show)...she's now a producer for the new Star Jones Show...You GO GIRL!!!! (Actually...Miss Star was instrumental in keeping the big girls at the forefront of fashion on The View....I am SO hoping that she does the same on her new show!). Congrats on the new gig mama! I KNOW you will do well!

Walter Greene....I don't have to say it...lol...you already know.

"There is nothing more dreadful than imagination without taste."

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