‘Living Out Loud’ with the Live Out Loud Charity Fashion Show

Authors/Contributors: Reyna Zuno for ‘I Live in a Magazine’ and Sherrie Gearheart
Photographer: Alex Callejo

Live Out Loud Charity recently hosted its 9th Annual Chicago fashion show at the downtown Chicago Palmer House Hilton Hotel in its Gatsby themed Empire Room (built in the early 1920’s) on December 9th, 2018. The non-profit organization focuses on suicide prevention, anti-bullying and core character development. The show featured models of all different sizes, heights, ages and ethnic backgrounds. According to the Founder of Live Out Loud Charity (LOLC)Sherrie Gearheart, “About 90 to 95 percent of the models walking in our [the] show have been affected by suicide and depression, bullying and low self-esteem”.

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Gearheart opened up the show with an emotional speech that gave the audience a detailed and personal oration. Gearheart explains that she went through a tough time when she experienced a miscarriage and what helped her overcome such a difficult situation. As she addresses the audience with her personal story, she states,  “I wish people knew how much counseling can help you heal for your current and past trauma. Recognizing self sabotage is crucial to setting yourself free and to getting the help you deserve. The help your loved ones deserve.” Gearheart followed her speech with ways that people can be helped if them or someone they know are having suicidal thoughts. She then concluded her speech by giving the great news that she and her husband were expecting again.

Soulo opened up the fashion show with a musical performance, while Natalia Marie was the first designer to showcase her brand, PranaMaker. Following the opening designer, the event continued to showcase MJ Designs as Kathy Navigato performed while models walked the runway.  A mental health quiz was then given to the audience as a way to interact with them so that they can gain more knowledge for suicide prevention. Angel Simmons, a mental health activist taught the audience the QPR Institute’s three step method for conducting a crisis intervention. This three step method is widely accepted across the nation and is the cornerstone of Live Out Loud Charity’s suicide prevention education which is provided at every major event the organization produces. Later Mary Ann Jaeger performed an old traditional pot clay dance derived from the Filipino Culture.

Sixteen other designers at the event included Michelle’s House of Designs, Moon Babe by Sydney Champeau, Kiti Kouture by Jynah James, B.BOY Clothing by Bryan Boyd, Marchell Levon Designs, Queen Mami Designs by Lucia Williams, Sharisa Couture Designs by Sharisa Freeman, Dovi Art by Dovile Riebschlager, Hekature Designs by Nuno Martelle paired with Sew Bridal, Arela Kharis Brand, Brick Malone, Rich Casual by Elizabeth Parker, Luchy Designs by Luchy Manjarrés Cohen, LM designs by Leandro Mulet, Cabi Clothing by stylist Kathy Quuas, and EP Couture Bridal by Ewa Perkoska.

 

Multiple awards were given out to those serving as Worldwide Ambassadors, Spokespersons, and Advocates of LOLC, who have contributed in past shows while they told the audience how many lives they have saved from helping others prevent suicide since their time devoted to LOLC. A longtime supporter of the charity, activist, and jewelry designer Danielle T. Carroll took the stage by storm when she sang her rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow in honor of her mother who was battling cancer at the time. The crowd was moved to tears and applauded her beautiful performance. Danielle’s jewelry company, Danaya Designs 4U, was paired with designers showcasing in the event.

Speaker Ericka Mauldin also gave a motivational speech to the audience based on focusing on self-love and moving past things that have held you down. She spoke to the audience about moving forward in life and how to become strong enough to do those things. “You were granted one life, which means you have one purpose, which means you also have a responsibility on this earth. When you acknowledge that responsibility and actually look on the inside of the best of who you are and get rid of the worst that has been created inside of you; you will accomplish it all,” Mauldin stated in her speech.

The fashion show was a celebration of life for those who have struggled with suicidal thoughts and for loved ones who have passed due to suicide. Since 2010, LOLC has reached millions of people around the world to contribute to suicide prevention. If you or somebody you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, do not hesitate to call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to reach a trained counselor. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. You can learn more about Live Out Loud Charity at www.liveoutloudcharity.org and www.worldwideleadershipacademy.org