Confidence comes ‘A La Mode’ during fashion show

Brittany Ballantyne

Equinox Staff


The music shook the Mabel Brown Room floor as the neon lights flashed alongside the spotlights at the A La Mode Fashion Show that took place on Thursday, April 28 at 8 p.m. Much like any other fashion show, outfits were displayed and flaunted on the runway and admired by the audience. This particular fashion show, however, was much more than the mere fashion it displayed.

The models behind the scenes of A La Mode were of all different genders, shapes, sizes, ages, and races. This fashion show aimed towards self esteem and confidence in one’s self, not just skin and bones and designer brands.

Through seven different fashion themes, models where able to “show that we have the power to bring our confidence out and feel like ourselves again, you don’t have to be afraid to be yourself” as told by model Emileigh Liebetruth. The themes ranged from futuristic metallics to fierce “freakum dress,” to the look on Appian Way.

Each theme had musical selections to complement its look, such as “Waka Waka” by Shakira for the Wild Life theme, “Opposite of Adults” for the look on Appian Way theme, and “E.T.” by Katy Perry featuring Kanye West to complement the theme of future.

The atmosphere was nothing less than happy, energetic, and fierce. Models smiled, flicked their skirts, flexed their muscles, and even danced in sync. Various struts of differing attitudes were witnessed by audience members and caused cheers to erupt from the on-lookers. Many of the models’ families and friends showed support, flashing their cameras and clapping in approval of the models.

Choreographed dances were featured in many of the themes. Some were high energy and others moved at a slower paced manner. Other performers also contributed to the show, including rappers Dizzy and Mike. These two artists traveled all the way from Boston to put on even more of a show for Keene State.

Of course, to put on such a show as big as this was, many contributors pitched in. This event was sponsored by Fashion Bug, Maurices, St. James Episcopal Church, the Young Student Center, and the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs. Models gave a big hand of applause to their directors.

The event coordinators worked hard since March, doing much more than just planning and buying outfits and accessories. Coordinators Nephtalie Dujour, Anyssa Stokes, and Nyshea Veal were “professional directors, always saying, ‘you girls are beautiful!’ at our group meetings where we talked about how well [each model] was doing, cheering each other on” Liebetruth explained.

Model Moriah Ferguson spoke highly of the directors as well, saying, “The people who ran it helped us become more confident in ourselves, instead of just having us walk uncomfortably.”

Ferguson and Liebetruth both explained that their auditions showcased not only beauty, but personality as well. The audition itself was “looking for more than physical personality, the purpose was to radiate personality. Although you might come off as big tough guy outside, you might have a lack of self esteem,” Liebetruth explained.

She expressed that the judges were looking for a two package deal, including both a walk test and a personality test.

“Your walk had to match your personality, it’s a two package deal-they’re inseparable and have to be together to audition.” Liebetruth said.

During the cast’s preparations, practices ranged from once every other week to two times a week. Each of the models worked on self examining their walks, cheering and shouting for each other and building one another’s confidence. Liebetruth felt that during these weeks of preparations, she had made new friends and had become a part of a “new little family.”

She expressed that the “fashion show helped to unlock inner confidence, I [she] became comfortable with the people around me [her]. Being in the room [show room] felt like being at home again, and honestly it’s only been a month but just from the show I’m [she is] more confident.”

She also felt that others grew in the same way, telling stories of models who appeared shy at first then blossomed into bubbly, talkative cast mates.

When asked what she felt the goal of the event was, Liebetruth answered, “Promoting confidence because a lot of times, college kids tend to hide that confidence by social pressures and academic overload,” she said.

“We wanted to show not only our school, but the Keene community that we have the power to bring confidence out, feel like ourselves again, and that you don’t have to be afraid to be yourself because being yourself is more powerful than being someone that you’re not,” said Liebetruth. “People are more accepting of honesty and who you are than pretending.”

Ferguson agreed and felt that the purpose was also “to show that there’s so many types of beautiful people, everyone’s beautiful no matter what size or color you are or what outfit you’re wearing” and further pointed out that there were all sorts of models who participated.

Both Ferguson and Liebetruth agreed that this event should be held again next year and they would love to be involved in the A La Mode Fashion Show again. Liebetruth explained that the coordinators are trying to rework the show for next year, and are making slight changes to intermissions and other forms of entertainment. What she would like to change is their budget. Given the message the coordinators tried to display, just $75 for a budget did not seem to be enough for all the lights, sounds, and artists, since much of the profit was donated.

In summarizing the A La Mode Fashion Show, Ferguson explained that directors “weren’t looking for the perfect model image” but rather “personality over anything,” explaining that the directors tried to “break the norm of what a model is-tall, skinny, beautiful… beauty comes from within.”

Liebetruth felt the same way of the show and its meaning, saying that “fashion isn’t always about clothes, it’s about self expression-it’s not just about walking down runway.”


Brittany Ballantyne can be contacted at

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