Iyona Anderson knew one thing going into Tuesday’s Say Yes to the Prom event at Discovery Communications – there was no way she was going to select a ball gown. The feisty 17-year-old had dubbed her style anti-princess and was on the hunt for a sleeker look.
Fast forward a couple of hours, and Anderson beamed as she twirled in a blue creation of sparkles and tulle that would do Cinderella proud. She gushed that she was never taking it off as she hurried off to find matching shoes and accessories.
“She definitely said yes to that dress,” said Monte Durham, host of “Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta.”
Durham had traveled to Silver Spring, Md., home of Discovery Communications’ headquarters, to be a part of the special day that gave 40 local high school girls a chance to select prom attire from a donated collection. The pre-prom event was modeled after the popular TLC show “Say Yes to the Dress.” Anderson was one of five KidsPeace foster teens from Maryland and Washington D.C. chosen to be part of the second annual event. Accompanying Anderson for the day of glamour were Christina Washington, 18, Annie Stitt-Johnson, 18, Sade’ Padilla, 16, and Aunica Shebex, 18.
Each girl was paired with a Discovery employee who served as mentor for the day. More than 800 dresses were donated for the event, and Discovery Communications staff transformed part of their headquarters into prom central. Dresses were displayed on garment racks, and an entire room was turned into a beauty salon. In addition to choosing their perfect dresses, the teenagers got to pick shoes, jewelry and handbags, all of which are theirs to keep. Seamstresses were on site to perform alterations, and the young ladies were treated to hair styling, makeup application and manicures.
Durham provided style tips and instructed the girls on how to carry themselves. He talked about “building the look beyond the dress,” and told the group that “accessories make or break the outfit.” He told them fit is the most important element when choosing clothing, and said standing in third position, with the heel of one foot positioned near the arch of the other, will help them have good posture. The young ladies took his advice to heart, heads held high as they ended the day with a red carpet runway walk to show off their looks. They chose a variety of styles, but every one of them eagerly said yes to the dress.
Watch newscasts about the event from CBS WUSA9 and Fox 5. Learn more about the event on Twitter under #SYTTP.
KidsPeace Photo | GINA SEYFRIED
From left: Aunica Shabex, Sade' Padilla, Annie Stitt-Johnson,Christina Washington and Iyona Anderson