The Lovely One: Fashion’s Night Out

An Inside Perspective on “Rip the Runway 2K15: On the Run”


February 27, 2015, curtain call. Rip the Runway 2k15 will be brought by the Jacksonville University Black Student Union as the culmination of their Black History Month activities. There will be fashion; there will be dancing; there will be excitement. This will be a production.

But before the curtains can go up, there needs to be a casting call. A fashion show would be nothing without the models. There was no prior modeling experience needed. All that was required was a pair of heels and some attitude for the ladies, and some serious down home swagger for the gents. Now, as someone who needs no excuse to wear her heels and serve some attitude, I was already on the runway waiting for everyone else. Like, I was there. I was ready.

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Whoever said models had it easy, sir and ma’am you are a lie. It is not all glamour and parties. There is a lot of sweat and bruising involved. Practices are grueling. We start every practice with at least 15 minutes of sashaying up and down our imaginary runway, giving attitude and face. If it’s not right, we do it again. It is so much more than walking up and down a stage. The whole point is to sell the garment being shown. It’s posing in the right way that showcases the piece at the right angle. I may be a walking mannequin, but I’m going to do my damnedest to sell this dress! In the beginning, practice was for two hours every Thursday and Saturday. As the show rolled closer, we practiced until they turn the lights off on us!

This would not be the production that it is without the dance sequences. They set the stage with Rip the Runway 2k14. Just like any second annual event, you have to come bigger and better than the previous year, and I would like to say that it killed. I have the blisters from practice, and I’m sure many of the other girls have the bruises of being stepped on from misplaced stilettos. There’s something in the show for everyone. You want to be tantalized visually from half-dressed men? We have that aplenty. When that routine was done for the first time in its entirety, it is safe to say that smelling salts were needed to bring back a few people. I am not ashamed to say I feasted on that visual platter. If seeing a group of women slay the stage is for you, we have that in abundance.


Our choreographer is JU alumna Elle Neilson. Walking into the first rehearsal and seeing her in the room, I knew it was going to be something serious. When Neilson dances, she brings all kinds of life to her movements. She does not move just to move. Every little tick, every nuance is accented and done for a reason. Knowing that about her, I was not surprised when we had to go over movements over and over and over again until it was done to her liking.

“Hard and fierce.”

If I never hear those words again, it would be too soon. Here I am complaining about hard work and making this not sound fun at all, and that is not even the case. Practice is so much fun. We laugh, dance, and fool around like the best of them. It’s always like a great big party in the middle of the week for us. The camaraderie we have is something I haven’t been a part of since high school with my JROTC unit. I may not make lifelong friends out of all out of all us, but it definitely did create ties.

What is a fashion show without clothing? This year we kept the designers local. We’re featuring Jacksonville area designers—who I’ve been told will be selling after the show, so if you see something you like you can place an order! The designers each bring a different flavor and interpretation, but with the overall same theme for the show. If nothing else, there will be cohesion. The show designers include a duo by the moniker Reign Society, Ms. Shay of SynshayFashions, and Menace57.


Blood, sweat and tears, minus the blood, that is what everyone is putting into this show. So if you’re free Friday night, come On the Run with us at the Swisher Theater. Doors open at 7 p.m.