"GOING BACK TO CALLIE" 28TH ANNUAL FORTY PLUS FASHION SHOW IN HONOR OF FOUNDER CALLIE LEWIS WATSON
The standards of beauty have altered consistently throughout the years. Forcing people to change the way they look, what they view as beautiful, and how they feel about themselves. One thing remains true throughout those changes, the idea that society can dictate and steer someone's confidence just through a set standard. It is such a beautiful site to see when movements are created to not only break these barriers set onto us, but to create change in various forms. Recently, we here at Amazing 102.5fm, were invited to The Forty Plus Models 28th annual luncheon and dinner.
We enjoyed an array of stunning designs, models of all ages, women, and men showcasing such comradery and beauty, and on top of those things, a continued effort to further the education of the students we call our future.
Created in 1993, the organization, Forty Plus Models, has been in the scholarship and fashion show game for 28 years. Its founder, Callie Lewis Watson, had a strong desire to show women that no matter what age, or what size they may be, they are beautiful and capable of exuding that. Having that desire in mind, Forty Plus Models was born. The organization took its efforts further and began to raise money through the tickets sold, to provide students of varying academic backgrounds with scholarships to help further their education. Over the years Callie has done so much with her efforts, it was truly a sight to see.
A couple of months ago, the founder, Callie, passed away, leaving a legacy of love, fashion, and inspiration for the models apart of the organization, and the students graced with the possibility of a prosperous educational future. Her daughter, Debrah Lockett, who has been the CEO for about 10 years, has taken over the organization and continued her mother’s legacy, “God makes no mistakes,” Debrah Lockett. With the theme being “Going back to Callie,” the show displayed laughter, excitement, youthfulness, beauty, and hard work.
Both the founder and CEO have continued to create an atmosphere that not only uplifts the models 40 years of age and up, students who have the opportunity to receive scholarships with as low as c averages, but the fashion lovers, the hosts, and people coming to enjoy a good show.
Aside from breaking down age barriers and expanding the idea of beauty, giving away scholarships is the biggest part of the show. Each ticket sold, each ad bought, each plate served, added to the scholarship fund and the number of students able to receive one. The chairperson and chaplain for the scholarship committee, Renita Royal, helped to make those scholarships come to life, “ Our vision is to raise money to send kids to school and further their education.” Being one of the scholarship recipients myself, the gratitude and excitement I felt after surprisingly receiving one was immense.
Creating change in the community one student at a time, the Forty plus Organization has expanded the ideas of fashion shows beyond just fashion, while still stepping and showcasing the different looks of beauty, “Something I look forward to with being a part of Forty Plus is getting to show women my age that we can still look good and walk a runway!,” Gwen Baylis, Forty Plus model.
Beauty cannot be classified by one stage. It comes in different sizes, different ages, different colors, and it's so important to showcase and share that with the world, “Just because you’re not 19,20,25, people say you’re too old to model. No, you're not, these women and men show you what Forty Plus can look like, ” Tim Thorne, event commentator, and stylist for the silver fox squad.
This experience was filled with so much originality, confidence, and giving, and most of all it was uplifting. The world goes through so much, it's appreciated when multitudes of people can come together and feel love when celebrating commonalities like fashion, and giving to the people of our future. Forty Plus has been passed down from one great founder to another amazing CEO, continuing to bring light into the community, shining fashions, and expanding the idea of beauty.