Photo by Isabel Beer.
Photo by Isabel Beer.

Struttin’ the walkway internationally


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An international fashion show

Participants were invited to come dressed to represent their own cultural background or other cultures that interested them. Seven countries and cultures were represented with attire from China, India, Japan, Mexico, West Africa and Hawaii, as well as culturally significant and traditional dances from Mexico, Hawaii and Korea.

Guests were greeted by Global Connections Club member and secretary Amanda Madden for the International Fashion Show at the Kate Buchanan Room on April 4. Her introductory speech highlighted the importance of inclusion and disregarding preconceived notions.

“It is important that we sit here and keep in mind that this is a safe space,” Madden said. “We need to ignore cultural assumptions and preconceived notions regarding culture and tradition.”

Representing her culture in dance and fashion was Humboldt State sophomore and Global Connections Club member Mikayla Kia, 20, dancing Hula ‘Aauna from Hawaii.

“We just really wanted to put on another big event from the Global Connections Club for all the students involved, just before everyone leaves to go back home,” Kia said. “A lot of students are here with the IELI program from Japan, but it’s really sad because we just found out the program is getting cut after 30 years, and so this is the last group of students we get to host.”

The IELI, or Intensive English Language Institute, was a foreign exchange program aimed to assist exchange students from 11 countries in acclimating to American culture and education, as well as becoming proficient in the English language. After HSU’s financial crisis was brought to light, the administration decided that defunding this program would help allocate funds to other exchange and international programs.

“Even though it is really sad that this is the last group of IELI students, I feel like we are going out with a bang and they are all representing Japan today on the runway,” Kia said.

Models on the runway strutted their stuff to the beat of legendary drag queen RuPaul’s hit single “Supermodel,” before stopping to talk about the cultural and familial significance behind their dress and presenting a brief powerpoint about the history.

In addition to the fashion show, some models also took the opportunity to perform traditional or traditionally-inspired dances representative of their cultures.

Anastina Steiber, Danny Flores, Caroline Mora and Dom Richards, members of the Global Connections Club, performed K-Pop-themed choreography to the song “As if It’s Your Last” by Korean girl group BLACKPINK. The group spent several weeks cultivating and rehearsing the choreography, which they debuted at HSU’s Lunar New Year celebration. They were inspired to do so by their love for dance and Korean culture.

“We actually first performed this at this year’s Lunar New Year celebration on Feb. 16,” Steiber said, “and there weren’t too many people there so it wasn’t that intimidating, but today there were more people and the runway was pretty unnerving to dance on.”

“I’m so sweaty, but that was awesome!” Richards said. “We all did so great, no obvious mistakes.”

Mexico was also represented in dance by Daniel Gomez, 22, who performed an incredible rendition of the Jarabe in his fifth time at the International Fashion show.

“I’ve been doing this since I’ve gotten here in 2013,” Gomez said. “I’m a dance minor here at Humboldt, and it’s pretty cool that Folklorico is taught here, but the program is definitely underfunded even though a lot of people are passionate about it.”

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