Last week, the Broward HIV Planning Council hosted its Fighting Stigma Through Fashion runway show in Fort Lauderdale to raise HIV prevention awareness.
The show was ran by the council’s community empowerment committee, whose “sole purpose is to educate and empower the community,” said Jessica Jolly, Broward Regional Health Planning Council’s HIV specialist. "The committee chose to raise awareness on HIV/AIDS through a more creative medium in order to engage the young adult age group.”
The different catwalk scenes each symbolized the event’s missions: one was red-themed for HIV awareness, one blue-themed for prevention and the last was white for fighting stigma.
Models sported white T-shirts that displayed messages about dangerous HIV/AIDS stereotypes and fighting stigma. In between each scene, videos played that educated the audience on HIV statistics and revealed testimonies from individuals living with the disease.
"It's an honor to walk in [the] fashion show because I spend everyday educating on HIV prevention and education,'' said model Jaime Marques from the Florida Department of Health in Broward County. "To be able to support and stand with my community and eliminate the stigma of HIV is something long overdue that I take pride in doing."
Angela "Myammee" Pitts, known for her stint on the reality TV show "Flavor of Love," was the night’s emcee. Now, she spends her time talking candidly about HIV/AIDS on her social media pages as part of her self-started Project A&M.
Myamee actively interacted with the audience by asking them HIV-related questions about the videos throughout the show.
Most of the clothing toward the fashion show was donated by Goodwill. They provided 80 percent of the clothing, shoes, and accessories.
"What made me excited was being given the chance to capture our audience through such an interactive and educational show,'' Jolly said. "The creative process overall and being blessed with the models that we had was cool because they were all so positive, flexible, energetic and committed to the cause.”