By Delila Matara
15 yrs old, 5’1, and in New York Fashion Week!
Last year when I was 14, I decided that I would love to audition for NWFW. I was excited to receive the invite after my mom sent an email, and was one of the first people to arrive. I was super nervous though! There were about five models all over 5’7 and definitely older than me. The girls were super friendly, and the more I talked to them, the more I realized that they were from all over the world. While the girls and I chit-chatted, the three men that seemed to be the judges started choosing people to walk, starting with the tallest models first. As time went on, I still had not been called on and I started to get super nervous. But every single girl that walked was criticized by the main judge. Whether it be they were walking too fast or they moved their hand too much, the main judge would critique them.
Finally it was my turn. Before I knew it, my legs were moving and I tried to think of anything else other than the millions of eyes that were watching me. As I finally finished, I stood there and for a solid minute, and nothing was said. It was absolute silence. “Delila, you were completely remarkable, and I have no criticism for you. But I am sorry, you are too short to participate,” the main judge stated. I was numb and began to tear up, never wanting to do modeling again. My mother and I got into the car, and I completely broke down. My mom looked at me and laughed, “Delila, you should be smiling, he critiqued the only thing you cannot control.”
Luckily, I did not give up and finally met a designer that gave me a chance. I met some amazing people who truly helped me.
Since we all were walking for one specific designer, we all had one distinct outfit to wear on the runway. This outfit line was mainly made up of tuxedos for both men and women, but I actually was put in a silk beige dress. Once we had our hair and makeup done and had all tried on our outfits, it was time for the walkthrough rehearsal. Finally, the runway began at 1:30 pm sharp. The models were put in a specific order according to their outfit style and color. I was put in between two male models that had a similar style texture as my dress. We waited about 15 minutes until it was our turn to walk. As I walked through the curtains, anxious and all, I saw hundreds all flashes and smiling faces.
It is hard not to smile when you see all these amazing people encouraging you, but you need to stay the part and continue on. As I made my way around the runway, I saw my mom along the photographers and I realized how blessed I was to have all these people supporting me through my journey. The show ended and was full of “good-jobs” and cookies as well. After the mingling was over, I stopped and said it, “I took place in New York Fashion Week.”
How to brighten someone’s day with just a couple words on a gift bag
By Sarah Smith
I’m here with Ashley, Kaitlyn, and Emily Berger, 14-year-old triplets who create gift bags every year around the holiday time to be delivered to food pantries and senior living centers around Long Island.
So, Ashley, how long have you been doing this and what got you into it?
Ashley: We have been doing this for two years. We are participating in the congressional award and one of its requirements is community service. We went online with the help of our dad to find out places near by that needed help obtaining products and materials that could be used by people in need. We had previous knowledge of our local food pantry where we donated bags of personal hygiene products to help the people there. We also found Paumanack Village, which is section 8 senior housing, and also donated to and helped the people there.
What exactly goes into making each of the bags and how long does it take?
Kaitlyn: The process incudes two trips to the store. For the first trip, we buy toiletries and other small necessities. For the second trip, we buy anything we ran out of the first time and some extra goods. We make about 100 bags, which are filled to the top and end up being the size of a basketball. We spend about four hours total assembling the bags and two hours buying the supplies.
Who makes and donates the bags to these particular places? What makes your bags unique?
Emily: We are the only ones who make these bags. They are unique because we write personal, holiday, or inspirational quotes on them to make it a more personal experience for them.
What impact do you think the personalization has on the recipients?
Ashley: The quotes on the bags really do mean something to them because its more personal and it shows that more effort was put into it. The people are very grateful, regardless of the words on the bags. The kind quotes are just another way to brighten someone’s day and go the extra mile to make them smile.
How does delivering them make you feel?
Emily: It makes me feel good because I know someone in need is really appreciating it. It makes it more fun and personal to hand-deliver them. We get to talk to them for a few minutes and learn about their lives and families. It means a lot to me to hear how much they appreciate the bags and the quotes on them.
What advice do you have for anyone who wants to get involved in charity work?
Kaitlyn: You should start out by researching areas in need near you. Contact them to ask what products they need more of. Kind of like what Ashley said, these small gestures mean the world to those in need.
Submitted by our members as well as teens across the world.