Dominique Turner, a third year Africana studies major at SF State, prides herself on her African American culture and her gender.
Turner had an opportunity to express her pride in the 2nd annual Runway Show and Salsa Party in honor of the women of SF State.
Turner, among 40 other female students and alumni, volunteered to express their individual accomplishments and culture as participants in a runway fashion show last Wednesday. This show was unique to any other runway show because the models wore the outfit of their choice and their personally-written biographies were read while the models walked down the man-made runway.
“The fact that this fashion show is celebrating individual models and their individual accomplishments and who they are proud to me, I love that,” Turner said. “Empowering women of this campus is something we need.”
Turner grew up in Orange County and found herself surrounded by people with the opposite color of skin as her. The University’s photography program is what brought Turner to San Francisco, but once she became more active on campus she felt more comfortable in her surroundings and her interests shifted to ethnic studies, which led her to volunteering at the Women’s Center.
The Women’s Center of SF State transformed an idea into a reality and produced this runway show, unlike any other runway show seen before, and a proceeding Salsa Party with a live performance by SF State’s own Afro Cuban Ensemble.
“The Runway Show and Salsa Party is an event that is based on empowering and acknowledging the women of SFSU and their accomplishments,” said Shani Winston, director of the Women’s Center. “So we’re honoring them for what they’ve done and they can wear anything they want, from their culture to their career path to how they express themselves.”
Turner explained that one of her personal, biggest accomplishments in life was her trip to Africa, where she had the opportunity to teach African women and children English and build schools out of recycled materials.
“What I didn’t expect was to understand what it felt like to be the majority in a country because I’ve never felt that here, I’ve always been the minority,” Turner said. “I didn’t expect to feel that connection between a bunch of strangers.”
Turner is known for wearing all-black clothing. She decided to be herself and sport an all black jumpsuit accented with a tri-colored ankh necklace down the runway during Wednesday’s event. The ankh is an African symbol that represents life.
Other models wore their favorite sports attire, business suits, authentic dress from their culture and even a short, all-white angel outfit.
“I think it’s really nice to see some celebration of the women of SFSU,” said Sandra Garcia-Fraire, a volunteer at the Women’s Center. “I feel like we don’t see that often. Overall it was very empowering and it’s a really good feeling to be a part of it and to see it play out after all of our hard work.