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Playing dress up begins at age five and never truly ends.” Kate Spade

Playing dress up, Age:5

Playing dress up began closer to age three for me and was one of my most favorite things to do growing up. My mom would bring out a paper box overflowing with high heels, tutus, dresses and pearls guaranteeing at least an hour of peace for her and endless entertainment for me.

Like many girls, I never really did grow out of this phase and in high school secretly pined for a career in high fashion modeling after graduation. I thought getting paid to travel the country dressing up in designer clothing would be the ultimate dream job, so my senior year I enrolled in a local talent and modeling school. I was 5’9 and between a size 2-4 when I was told by one of the coaches that there just might be a niche for me in plus size swim wear. I enjoy food way too much to have tortured myself over any silly diet so just like that my life long dream of walking in the Victoria Secret Fashion Show was squandered and it was off to college for me.

Little did I know that the skills I learned in those classes would actually become helpful when I was asked to walk in a charity runway show for The Dee Nortan Lowcountry Center (DNLCC) last month. It was great to finally be able to utilize those very expensive (and up until now useless) modeling classes from high school and a treat to get my hair and makeup professionally done, but the best part was knowing that we were making a difference by raising money and support for such a wonderful local organization. A non-profit dedicated to the prevention of child abuse and the healing of abused children and their non-abusive family members.

Although this runway show was probably nothing compared to behind the scenes of something like Charleston Fashion Week, I still found it very stressful…well more like nearly impossible to change out of one outfit and into the next before it was time to walk again. I forgot to grab my handbag and accessories for the first two looks and barely got on my shoe for the third. I am not sure if I even stopped to smile at the end of the runway for any of the looks because I was so nervous. Needless to say, this experience reassured me that college really was the best decision.

As much as I would still love to find a way to get paid to travel the country, I know life is not about designer clothing or making it big. It’s about making a big difference in the people’s lives around us. You might not know how to directly do this, but if an opportunity to volunteer comes up in your area, take it! “To the world you might be one person, but to one person you might be the world.”

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