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UNF celebrated International Women’s Day with a unique twist on a fashion show

Faustina J. Anto Morais models a saree. Photo by Alexandra Torres-Perez

By Alexandra Torres-Perez

On March 8, it was International Women’s Day, and people from around the world celebrated it in different ways. Some women didn’t show up to work to make a point of what the world would be like without women. Others wore red to raise awareness for the women’s rights movement.

The Women’s Center and International Center held their annual fashion show to raise awareness and impact a specific population on campus—women. At the fashion show, they celebrated the accomplishments of women while also looking at women’s rights issues.

It wasn’t much of a fashion show though; there wasn’t a line full of models walking up and down a runway to Madonna’s “Vogue.”  Instead, there were three models total who took the stage and spoke about what it meant to be a woman in Jacksonville and in their country.

Photo by Alexandra Torres-Perez

One of the models, Tumi Bamigbetan, was from Nigeria. She wore an elegant white and purple dress that she said she would wear to events like birthday parties. When she got on stage, she spoke about her life in Nigeria and how Nigeria was progressing when it came to freedom. She also mentioned how she’s making an impact at UNF by starting the African Student Association, and inviting others to ask her questions about her culture, but of other African countries as well.

The other two models, Aditi Mahabir and Faustina J. Anto Morais, were from India. Both wore beautiful garments, Mahabir in ghagra choli and Morais in a saree. Ghagra choli is a combination outfit made up of a normally mid-riff baring blouse, a long skirt and a shawl or large scarf. A saree is a long piece of fabric that is wrapped and draped into a full length garment that can be worn any time, but is usually reserved for more formal functions like weddings.

“It is a traditional dress, and it represents our country” Morais said.

Morais spoke about her transition from life in India to life in the United States. She also spoke about how proud she was of our generation to bring change, and proof that women were capable of doing, “jobs for men,” like stem research.

Mahabir spoke about her experiences growing up Indian in an American culture and trying to stick to traditional values. However, she spoke more about discovering who you were and being proud of yourself.

“I wanted to participate in the fashion show to represent my country and to show my culture from my point of view since I have control of how I get to represent my own culture,” Mahabir said.


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