'The Runway In Rahway' Returns to Union County Performing Arts Center

By: Aug. 22, 2017

A platform for models of all shapes, sizes and ages, comes to the Union County Performing Arts Center Main Stage Café on Sunday, September 10, 2017. The Runway In Rahway is a premier boutique style fashion show featuring local boutiques and designers. Built on a foundation of diversity; the event will showcase models who are also moms.

Created and produced by Mahogany Reynolds-Clarke, the show made its debut in the fall of 2016 at the UCPAC Main Stage Café. Reynolds-Clarke is the founder and executive director of Just Be You Performing Arts, the Production Company that produces and runs the show. Initially, Reynolds-Clarke's vision was to create a fun fashion show for local boutiques and designers. This year, that vision has grown to include models age 5 to over 40; of diverse backgrounds.

"I am thrilled to produce a show that is focused on being all-inclusive. Just Be You Performing Arts believes that beauty is all encompassing. During a time in society, where young girls are bullied for not being a standard model size, I sought out to create a show that cancels that notion. The Runway In Rahway is a fabulous show that gives both designers and models the rare opportunity to include everyone," said Reynolds-Clarke.

Astrid Zuniga, a mother from Rahway, New Jersey, makes her debut in The Runway In Rahway. She joins several other mothers who were cast to model in the show. Reynolds-Clarke proudly calls Zuniga, a new member of The Runway In Rahway Fab' Model Mom's division.

"I am very excited to be a part of the Runway in Rahway. I am a stay-at-home mom of four children under the age of 9. Being a part of this show not only gives me time for me; as a woman, but I am also showing my children that they are able to be anything they want to be. Just by being who they are. Being a housewife doesn't mean you are just that. I am much more. I am a person, a woman, and I know this will be an amazing experience that I will not only learn from, but will help me continue and grow in life," said Zuniga.

Thanks to the collaboration between Just Be You Performing Arts and Beauty in Spirit, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering women and children, some of the models cast in the show are devoted foster mothers. This marks the third collaboration Reynolds-Clarke has forged with Beauty in Spirit, Inc. In May 2017, 23 moms of Beauty in Spirit, Inc. received complementary sponsored tickets to Just Be You Performing Arts' Mother's Day Masquerade, held at Hamilton Stage of the Performing Arts.

"I am collaborating with Just Be You, because I believe in the mission, and the vision of mentoring and ministering through the gift of the arts. I also appreciate and value the unique gifts that we all possess," said Minister Zakiyyah Green, founder and executive director of Beauty in Spirit, Inc., which services Hudson, Essex, and Union County, New Jersey.

"One of the main reasons why I decided to incorporate mothers in this year's show stems from the fact that I am a mom as well. Having moms in The Runway In Rahway sends a message that it's never too late to pursue your dreams. Many of the women in the event told me they set aside their artistic career goals to raise their children. I can personally relate to that. Therefore, I applaud them for stepping onto that runway, fearless and fabulous," said Reynolds-Clarke, an award-winning actress and accomplished model, who trains and mentors aspiring young artists.

"Often times, we mother's carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. The Runway In Rahway gives moms the opportunity to live out their dreams; and show the world, that you can do anything you put your mind to. And that you can have it all," said Crystal NuChurch, of Jersey City, New Jersey, another Fab' Model Mom, who will debut in the show.

New boutiques in the city of Rahway are participating in the event. Such as; Delor Couture, a couture design company in Rahway; owned by Deloris Serecin, will showcase her collection of custom made prom dresses. Kat's Vintage and Chic Boutique, a store front located in downtown Rahway, operated by owner Kathy Givens, plans to reveal her boutique's variety of clothing items and accessories.

"I registered to be in The Runway In Rahway to support our local businesses in Rahway, New Jersey. Rahway has the potential to be an amazing shopping experience for the locals and other surrounding towns. Fashion is much more than fabulous clothes or designer clothes. It's about thinking outside of the box. Creating and transforming yourself and owning that new look. My ultimate goal for being in this show, is to create memories with my pieces, with great prices and great customer service," said Givens.

Other participants outside of Rahway, include Once Upon a Child, a consignment store located in Edison, New Jersey, that buys and sells gently used children's clothing. Yassin Joof, a fashion designer originally from Senegal, West Africa, who creates her hand made designs in the Bronx, New York, will reveal her African inspired garments and jewelry. Denise Washington, founder of 710 Fashions of Harlem, New York, will showcase a fashionable collection for plus size women. Additionally, Bodi Couture Fashion, owned by Zakiyyah Shabazz, with a store opening in Plainfield, New Jersey, is set to debut her one of a kind pieces in The Runway In Rahway. According to Reynolds-Clarke, offering a diverse group of small businesses a platform to build and grow, is a benefit to all.

Tickets for "The Runway In Rahway" can be purchased at www.ucpac.org/events. Tickets can be purchased in advance online; or cash only at the door, for only $10. The event is infused with live entertainment performed by the emerging artists of Just Be You Performing Arts. For more details visit their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/justbeyouperformingarts.