FORT BLISS, Texas – Red carpet and the allure of the runway were in stark contrast to the dark curtains separating eager and nervous models anticipating their walk down the catwalk.
These 10 models were Fort Bliss service members, previously selected from signup rosters, who were treated to an afternoon of glitz and glamour at the Salute the Runway Fashion Show in the Freedom Crossing Post Exchange here June 14.
Prior to the show, the lucky ladies were given a makeover, complete with hair styling and makeup, courtesy of the Onyx Paul Mitchell Signature Salon here. Next, the aspiring models were given their choice of black dress to wear from the available designers at the PX.
“A lot of times we don’t take the time to pamper ourselves,” said Sgt. Alexis-Michelle Duran, the schools noncommissioned officer with 47th Brigade Support Battalion. “There are always a lot of things going on. It was really nice to have our hair and makeup done, and just nice to feel like a princess – to feel beautiful.”
Fatigues to Fabulous, a national campaign, established to honor and support America’s military women by raising awareness and providing funds for needed services and medical research, teamed up with Little Black Dress Wines to put on the show.
“We want to showcase and highlight the actual ‘little black dress,’” added Retired Capt. Leslie N. Smith, spokesperson for the show and Virginia native. “We’re trying to show that the little black dress is a main staple for every woman’s wardrobe, and the versatility of that dress can go from a very casual occasion to a cocktail event, to more of a formal event or even a job interview. I’m hoping we can bring the models in this show a phenomenal feeling of pride; to give them that boost in their confidence.”
At the conclusion of the show, the participants’ names were put into a drawing for a trip to New York City, where one fortunate lady will get to walk the runway once again at Fashion Week. Maj. Chelinda Rivas, the Army Central Command liaison officer with the Continental United States Replacement Center, was the name chosen from the drawing.
“I think this type of program, that honors women and the multitude of things we are, is amazing,” said Rivas. “We’re more than just Soldiers. We’re mothers, and we can be fabulous. I think that that’s amazing. Being a part of this organization and supporting women in general is very important. I’m proud to have the chance to represent them.”