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Ohio State fashion show to celebrate diversity, insecurity and body positivity

With parts of their bodies painted and glowing in black lights, 25 students plan to walk on a runway that will highlight their insecurities to celebrate body positivity and diversity at the Inner Glow Fashion Show Friday night at Independence Hall.

The show is aimed at challenging common standards of beauty portrayed in media, said Kim Wu, a fourth-year in strategic communication, and one of the event organizers.

A group of students with diverse body types, cultural backgrounds, genders, sexual orientations and physical and mental abilities will walk in the show, she added.

“The only thing I cared about [in the models] was diversity and in diversity I broke down into different sections, so there was gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity and even just being a college mom with a kid,” Wu said.

Before the show, models were asked what they were insecure about. Wu plans to paint neon color on those parts of their bodies.

In the UV lighting, the only thing you see will be their insecurities. The idea is to take the things we think are wrong about ourselves and to take those things that we hide to something we celebrate because they are what make us unique. – Kim Wu, Inner Glow event organizer.

The show is comprised of two parts. During the first half, models will wear their own outfits that make them feel empowered.

In the second half, models will walk under ultraviolet lights, resulting in body parts  they are insecure about to glow.

“In the UV lighting, the only thing you see will be their insecurities,” Wu said. “The idea is to take the things we think are wrong about ourselves and to take those things that we hide to something we celebrate because they are what make us unique.”

This fashion show is part of Ohio State’s Asian American Association’s Ms. and Mr. Asia campaigns, titles given to students who contribute and empower the Asian community at Ohio State.

Wu and Andrew Huang, a third-year in accounting, were crowned Ms. and Mr. Asia last year.

Wu said her personal struggle with bulimia in the past and the philosophy of Kintsugi, a Japanese art of repairing broken potteries with golden glue, were her motivations and inspirations behind the show.

“At that point of coming out of depression and bulimia and isolation from everyone, I feel very lost and broken,” Wu said. “During that time I came across this Japanese philosophy called Kintsugi. The philosophy behind kintsugi is that something is more beautiful having been broken than it originally was.”

Wu said she hopes stories and insecurities shared at the show will encourage and connect people with body image issues regardless of their differences.

“I’m very open about my struggles, feelings and emotions because people don’t connect because they talk about the moments of their achievements,” Wu said. “I think people connect emotionally when you share very sensitive and vulnerable moments about yourself.”

Craig Bossley, a model in the show and fourth-year in new media and communication technology, said he has self-image insecurities because of his half-Taiwanese and half-Caucasian ethnicity.  

“I just never felt I was fully in sync with either [identity], so navigating my first two years in college is like how do I fit in the greater society,” Bossley said. “But over time, you just understand, this is my skin and this is who I am.

“Everyone has a different story and everyone has different insecurities. Every morning when you wake up and just look into the mirror and said ‘This is who I am’ and be happy with that.”

The Inner Glow Fashion Show is free and open to everyone; doors open at 7 p.m. Friday in Independence Hall.

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