Last month, the Alpha Gamma chapter of Delta Phi Epsilon at FIU hosted their ANAD benefit for the first time in two years. ANAD stands for Anorexia, Nervosa, and Associated Disorders and it is the oldest organization aimed at fighting eating disorders in the United States. The organization offers services to those struggling with eating disorders such as a free helplines, support groups, grocery buddies training (a guide to help a loved with an eating disorder plan out the grocery trips and help support through moments of anxiety in the store), and a recovery mentor to support you during the recovery journey through phone, email, text. The goal of the fashion benefit is to raise both awarness and funds for this philantrophy.
The benefit consists of a fashion show celebrating individually and self-love. To find the models, the philanthropy committee (consisting of the Vice President of Programming and her two Philantrophy Chairs) released applications asking for an explanation about why you wanted to be a part of the benefit and what ANAD meant to you personally. The applications were received and screened. All models were chosen solely on their responses to ensure the people selected really had a connection to the philanthropy.
43 models were selected with representatives from all Panhellenic sororities and FSL fraternities as well as some non-greek applicants; I was lucky enough to be one of the models participating.We got to walk down the runway in three rounds: Formal, Boho, and ANAD. The event was hosted by a sorority sister, Tanvi Hathiramani, and the sorotity’s Campus Man Brandon “Bubba” Becerra who serves as the sorority’s representative of their other philantrophy; The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
The first round consisted of formal attire. The women wore long gowns and heels while the guys wore their suits and ties. Backstage the nervous jitters where everywhere as we braced ourselves to walk in front of the 438 attendees. All the nerves disappeared as soon as you stepped out on to the platform embraced by the roar of the audience. As models returned backstage you could hear “I loved that!” and “I want to go out again” echoing across the room.
The second round aligned with the theme of the benefit: Boho. My favorite part about this round was observing how the models got creative with their outfits; a lot of the guys were rocking hats and bandanas and the girls had their laid-back dresses with golden headpieces.
The last round was unlike any other fashion show. Instead of focusing on the clothes, models wore a simple outfit of jeans and a white shirt. The main focus of this round was to celebrate individuality and personality so all models carried an individual whiteboard highlighting a quality that they wanted to be recognized as. Examples included I am… motivated, beautiful, confident, bright, etc. This round served to prove that no matter what you look like, your personality will always shine bright.
The experience overall was very exciting and rewarding. It was a great feeling to walk down the runway and be cheered on regardless of both my mental and physical insecurities that weigh on me daily. I also enjoyed watching the other models be cheered on by the audience and embrace their bodies and insecurities.Overall the event raised around $3,000 and sold out VIP and General Entreance tickets making it a success for Delta Phi Epsilon.
On another note, eating disorders are very serious and it is important to reach out for help and counseling. If you are struggling with one make sure to check out the resources ANAD has to offer and talk to a family member or friend to undergo your recovery journey with you and support you. Remember there are also resources on campus at your disposal such as free dietitian services at the Healthy Living Program, counseling at CAPS, and the Student Food Pantry where any student can come in and take up to 10 pounds of food per week if a grocery store is too overwelming.