Fashion Show at the Hard Rock Kicks-Off Pride Fort Lauderdale

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Pride Fashion Show, House of Lords

It was a night of dazzling designs that showcased South Florida’s inclusivity. The Pride Runway Fashion Show at the Hard Rock Event Center served as the official kick-off for Pride Fort Lauderdale Thursday night. 

A large and enthusiastic crowd cheered for a lineup of provocative and impressive fashion creations worn by a long and winding lineup of enticing models strutting along the runway.

Pride week officially launched Wednesday at Flip Flops and includes a host of activities through the wee hours of Feb. 24. This is apparently the first time Pride has hosted a runway fashion show.

And let’s be honest, it doesn’t get much gayer than Carson Kressley – the co-emcee of the show with Naomi Smalls, who was a recent contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars TV show.

The fashion show featured an array of Project Runway designers. Project Runway is the hit TV series on the Bravo Network, formerly hosted by Heidi Klum. 

The array of models wearing the designer’s creations featured both professionals and locals chosen through casting calls in the South Florida area.

The result was a show that sought to be representative of what Pride celebrations are all about – inclusivity. The models came in all shapes, sizes, ages, and genders to an appreciative crowd.

Kressley and Smalls introduced each designer and many times stole the show with their improvisational stand-up comedy-style transitions.

“It’s bigger than I thought it would be,” said Kressley of the crowd as he first walked out on the stage. Turning to Smalls adding: “Isn’t it always nice when it’s bigger than you expect?”

Kressley is a judge on All-Stars and is well known in most gay circles as one of the original “fab five” members of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, which ran from 2003 to 2007. He’s had an impressive career as a TV host, actor, writer, and producer ever since. His forte though has always been fashion.

The iconic RuPaul presides over All-Stars and decides who will join the “Drag Race Hall of Fame” and win $100,000.

The 6-foot-5 inch tall Smalls, aka Davis Heppenstall, was the runner-up on season eight of the show and was known as the “glamazon.”

Designers featured at the runway show included Rey Ortiz, Daniel Esquivel, Emma Sis, Erika Norell, Joshua Christensen, Danny Nguyen, the Marrero Collection, SIR-RAT | Leather & Gearwear, and Candice Cuoco, among others.

Styles ranged from sexy and sultry, leather and lace; to pink t-shirts reading “Resist Sweetie Resist.

“I know it’s about the clothes, but sometimes there’s nipples!” Kressley exclaimed after one run through featured some scantily clad and muscled men. 

The president of Pride Fort Lauderdale, Miik Martorell, welcomed the crowd and thanked the event host Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and other sponsors.

The evening also featured a silent auction and free gift bags with Repechage products, courtesy of Wilton Manors’ David Douglas Spa.

After the show, interested fashionistas had a chance to purchase fashions directly from designers in a pop-up area.

Special guests also included recording artist Alan T. and music by DJ Power Infiniti.  

Another first for Pride Fort Lauderdale will be the parade held for the first time along Fort Lauderdale Beach on Feb. 23.

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis, one the grand marshals of Pride’s parade on Saturday, also attended.

The party continues on Friday in Wilton Manors for the “Pride on the Drive.” The celebration kicks off at 6 p.m. as dozens of bars, restaurants, and shops roll out the rainbow carpet. Enjoy drink specials, discounts and live entertainment at participating businesses all night, up and down Wilton Drive.

Visit for its ongoing coverage of the 2019 Pride Fort Lauderdale. Pride events continue through Feb. 24. Go to for more information.

Click below to check out photos from the event 

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