“We go on last,” she said, meaning the elder members of the troop, who will appear at the June 8 gala.
This was not the real event, not even a dress rehearsal, but a warm up for the show, allowing the younger models—some as young as two—to get into the swing of things.
This being Langrehr’s second year modeling for the event, she didn’t seem nervous at all, although many of the younger people did.
Sunlight streaked through the windows of the St. Andrews’ School gym as one by one the girls and boys moved down the imaginary runway to where three people sat in chairs.
Although the fashion show was still two weeks away, and only one or two had dressed up for the rehearsal, most took it seriously. Some were bashful, and took some prompting to go through the moves, while others boldly marched up, made their turn, paused, grinned a little, and then made their way back to their seats near the stage.
And not all the participants are kids. The age range for those who will come out for the show is 2 to 74, and while there are no judges, the real goal of the show is to raise money to help Ryan Hansen, who is slightly over two years old. He suffered a brain aneurysm and had to undergo a series of expensive treatments.
Called “Fashion with Compassion,” the show is sponsored by the Bayonne Women’s Club but would not have been possible without the donation of the gym by the school, said Mary Dunlap-Beales of the Bayonne Women’s Club.
Two of the key organizers are Jennifer Aurieumma, who had a successful career in modeling, and Dawn Herring.
“I got the idea last year,” said Aurieumma, calling this a particularly talented group, and a group that is relatively easy to work with.
On this rehearsal day there were about 25 kids and about a dozen adults working through their routines, each trying to remember the instructions given to them.
There is a kind of rhythm to all of it, like soldiers going through cadence, and yet these are all volunteers, seeking to do their bit to make the world better for someone less fortunate than they are. None are getting paid, and yet they all seem to work as hard as if they were.
The Bayonne Women’s Club has been involved in charitable efforts since its founding two years ago, including the local food pantry, Relay for Life. About a year ago they got the idea of putting on a fashion show that would help a specific cause as well as replenish local food pantries.
Dunlap-Beales said everyone who attends is being asked to bring one non-perishable food item that will be donated to one of the many food pantries in the area.
The show will feature a wide age range of models, who will appear in three categories, children under 12, children and young adults from 12 to 21, and those older than 21.
The models are local residents, not professionals, except for Aurieumma, a former model who oversees the routines.
A graduate of the Barbizon School of Modeling, Aurieumma has worked with the kids and adults to give the event a polished look.
Herring said last year, the clothing came from H.I.G.H.W.A.Y.S. thrift store and out of people’s own wardrobes. This year, people will be modeling their own clothing, not donated. Dunlap- Beales said the event provides the participants with a sense of empowerment and self confidence and brings out a lot of people from around the town.
Admission is $35 in advance or $40 at the door. It includes a catered dinner and the fashion show. For more information call Linda Freeman at (201) 823-4508.
“Fashion with Compassion,” St. Andrews School gym, 124 Broadway, June 8. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The fashion show starts at 7.
Al Sullivan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.