On Sunday, Jan. 8, New Mexico high school student Anistacia Mia Aragon organized a fashion show entitled “I Am;” to “illuminate and raise awareness of the mass epidemic of suicide and using fashion to bring awareness, as well as empower those who attend,” according to the Menual School website. The show and benefit was hosted at the National Hispanic Cultural Center with all ticket proceeds going toward local suicide prevention programs in New Mexico
Aragon is currently a senior at Menaul School and this was her first time organizing an event like this. She’s also the current titleholder of World Latina Teen USA with the platform of teen suicide awareness, according to the event’s website.
“Unfortunately, because of suicide being prominent in my life … I wanted others to recognize signals of those around us who need our help,” Aragon said.
The show’s line up included a live performance by local artist Josué Urruita and around 100 models from around the country, according to Aragon.
“(I am) glad to have a platform through which to better understand factors that may help to identify and support those in a suicidal crisis… I definitely wanted the show to be authentic and inclusive of everyone who’s been affected by suicide,” Aragon said.
Urrutia sang two original songs: “The Change'' and “Run With I” from his band Los Domingueros’ discography, who took part in the show because of his own experience with the subject matter.
“I was immediately on board when I knew why the event was being held because I’ve struggled a lot with similar thoughts and afflictions,” Urrutia said.
Urruita said that he also participated to hopefully make a difference for others that are dealing with mental illness.
Performing for free was to represent not only me but others who are persevering through this epidemic of suicide and pushing past depression,” Urrutia said.
He emphasized the show's theme, which was “creating hope through action,” and how that resonated with his band. Aragon also mentioned how the other collaborators who made the show possible brought that theme to life.
“All of the models and designers that represented Anistacias’ catalog sought to forward that message during the show as well,” Aragon said.
Aragon hoped that her show left participants with the willingness to seek help when you need it and be honest with others.
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“(I hope this show is) impactful, influential, and only by trying and allowing yourself to be open or vulnerable towards trauma, pain and joy, can the world show up as significant and valuable,” Aragon said.
Weston Quintana is a freelance reporter for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @wes_jpg