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Friday, October 27, 2006

More encounters with the famous 

I have encountered famous people on many occasions. However, with some exceptions, I usually encounter them before they become famous, or after their fame has faded. For example (emphasis mine):

[T]he David Tupaz Couture runway show...took place at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, of “Pretty Woman” fame. Preparations for the show began five hours in advance. Crew members prepared the posh ballroom which was lit white and gleaming with a crystal chandelier.

Though the show would no doubt be marked by excitement, a strange calm seemed to settle over the scene in the afternoon. Models lounged about with their hair would in miniature curls, pinned tightly in spiral shapes to their skulls. The male models gathered on the floor and engaged each other in idle conversation, the sounds of their words punctuated by hissing bursts from aerosol cans that were emanating from somewhere in the background.

I was there with my friend Lucy Garcia – a host on “Estudio Dos” - a Spanish music and variety show. On this particular day she was swapping hosting duties for modeling duties. Like many of the other models selected to don the clothes of Filipino designer David Tupaz, Lucy - with her rich olive-toned skin and dark and sultry eyes - exhibited an ethnic beauty. Among her compatriots was one young lady from the Ukraine, several African American and Latino models, and a handful with Mediterranean and Pacific Islander backgrounds.

The show went off splendidly - the models each doing justice to the exquisite creations of David Tupaz. The roster of celebrity guests in attendance was as multicultural as the roster of models. After the show I was delighted to find myself rubbing elbows with the likes of Jennifer Paz – a notable Broadway actress of Filipino descent who rose to stardom playing one of the female leads in “Miss Saigon” years ago – and Bai Ling – Chinese bombshell and Playboy bunny.

If the movie Zoolander has entered anything into the sphere of public knowledge, it is that any and every occasion in the fashion world is followed up with an after-party. The after-party for the Tupaz show took place in a packed hotel suite and was catered, to my surprise, with Filipino fare. I helped myself to skewers of barbequed meats, fluffy pan de sal, and sticky-sweet ensaymada (the models, of course, did not). In the afterglow of the show, I soaked up the atmosphere and reflected on my experience in a strange land in to which I was only a visitor, and one that was unnaturally common at that. If I clicked together the heels of my gaudy Payless shoes, would I be transported home?

Whereas I was impressed by it, the internationality of the whole affair seemed lost on everyone else, and appropriately so. At the end of the day, I was left with the overwhelming impression that in the world of high-fashion, to care too much about differences in ethnicity represented extremely bad form.

Ultimately, I could not decide whether the “colorblindness” of this world was a thing to be marveled at or lamented. Was ethnicity to be celebrated here only to the extent that it could lend distinctive beauty to one’s appearance? And if so, was the culture that lay behind a strikingly ethnic face being eclipsed so that the surface could shine more brightly?

No, I haven't seen Lucy Garcia in years. However, I am able to add one tidbit of information for those who are dying to know everything about Lucy. Lucy has flown an airplane. Ask her about it.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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