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Sizzling styles, daring locals sweep the runway

Annual Soroptimist fashion show raises money for local programs and business for retailers

Posted: March 30, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: March 30, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Alesia Humphries, Signal Multimedia's host of "Studio Santa Clarita" and chief of digital sales, models on the runway at the Soroptimist International of Greater Santa Clarita "Fashion, Follies and Fun" fourth annual Fashion Show at the Hyatt Regency Valencia last Sunday afternoon.

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Rich violet light flooded the stage. Music pulsed in cadence with the models’ steps as they sauntered, strutted and stomped down the runway.

At the Soroptimist International of Greater Santa Clarita Valley “Fashion, Follies and Fun” fourth annual fashion show last Sunday, a crowd of mostly women at the Hyatt Regency Valencia cheered on the local models -- especially the men.

At least 34 women and 10 men sported local spring fashion from 11 retailers in the Santa Clarita Valley, drumming up business, fundraising and a whole lot of applause.

“We use people from the community, so they’re real people,” said Soroptimist President Vanessa Wilk. “Everyone in the audience knows them and loves them out there, so they’re really comfortable coming out and doing their little waves.”

A fundraiser for Soroptimist programs, the event began with a fashion and accessory boutique at 10 a.m. and was followed by a luncheon and show at noon. More than 325 people attended, and more volunteered to make the event possible, said Sandi Naba, the event chair.

Young girls of the Val Verde Community Center also modeled to a cheering crowd.

Soroptimist has developed a partnership with the center, aiming to engage women at a young age to help them believe in themselves and reach for their dreams, Wilk said.

New this year was the Male Model Contest. For several weeks during March, community members were invited to place $5 votes for the male models.

While all 10 donned suits and later sportswear, showing off their tricks with athletic props, only one was crowned at the end of the event.

Holding a scepter and lowering his head for the crown, Oscar Dominguez of Union Bank accepted the “very flattering” win.

A first-time model for the event, Dominguez said he was happy to have gathered support for a worthy cause.

“It’s exciting,” said the vice president and branch manager in Santa Clarita. “It’s more exciting to know I won support for a local cause. It’s a wonderful event for a fantastic cause.”

A 21-year Santa Clarita resident, Dominguez sits on the Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital Foundation, College of the Canyons Foundation and SCV Latino Chamber of Commerce boards, Naba said.

With more than $1,500 raised solely in votes for the Male Model Contest, the event raised a sizeable amount of funding for Soroptimist, Naba said.

The nonprofit, however, was not the only benefactor of the event.

Kelly Phillipson, owner of Luscious Soul clothing boutique in Newhall, said the show has helped her business and visibility in the community.

Participating retailers loan out clothes and accessories to models, some offering clothes to models at a discounted rate, as Phillipson did.

“It definitely helps drive traffic to the store,” she said. “And it gives us the opportunity to showcase some of what we have coming in.”

In just fittings and rehearsal alone, Phillipson shows her latest stock to 34 local woman who care enough about fashion to model it, she said.

“And it’s a good way to be a part of and support the event,” she said. “I want to help in any way I can.”

Other participating retailers included: Closet on Main, One Savvy Girl, Propinquities, Mirror Mirror, H.E.R., Lorna Jane, Marshalls, Cache, J. David and Roger Dunn Golf Shops, Naba said.

Tranquility Salon and Spa in Valencia volunteered for hair and makeup prior to the show, giving the models the red-carpet treatment.

Even still, some were nervous.

“I’m scared to death,” said Diane Blair, community liaison for Comfort Keepers In-Home Care, before she walked. “I just hope I don’t fall!”

But in a sleek, floor-length black gown, Blair easily glided down the runway.

Like Blair, most models walked with confidence and energy, supported by the crowd and each other.

“I was really scared at the beginning because I didn’t know what to expect – I didn’t even have a walk,” said Nancy Angel, a Signal multimedia journalist. “Once I saw the energy of the crowd and how everyone was having a good time, it was infectious.”

Backstage, the models joked and high-fived.

“‘Fashion, Follies and Fun’ was a great group of women coming together for a great cause,” said Alesia Humphries, Signal Multimedia’s host of ‘Studio Santa Clarita’ and chief of digital sales. “Showing up in the morning, having no idea what to expect, rehearsal quickly turned into camaraderie with a spirit of kinship, making walking down the runway super fun and easy. Nobody was judging. We were all just having fun.”


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