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Model Emily Soemita, Member of Kappa Gamma Chi

Talking Fashion and Philanthropy with Chair of Ribbons on the Runway

by Pat Timmons ’17

Earlier this semester, Emerson sorority Alpha Epsilon Phi put on their 14th annual fashion show and live auction, Ribbons on the Runway. The event is entirely student-run: All models are Emerson students wearing outfits styled by the sisters of AEPhi, with live entertainment from student musicians and a cappella groups. All event proceeds go to Sharsheret, a national organization supporting Jewish women and families facing breast and ovarian cancer. 

We sat down with Event Chair Jordan Kirby ‘18, a theatre studies major, to talk about what it takes to put on such a successful event.

Q: What is Ribbons on the Runway, and why is it important?

A: Breast cancer is something that runs in my family; my great aunt has gone through remission for breast cancer multiple times, and she is very strong. The fact that I got to lead an event with my sisters to benefit others is extremely exciting. My main goal in life in life is to help others, and with Ribbons on the Runway, I get to do that with an organization I am passionate about and love.

Q: How creative do you get to be when you are running this event? Are you given a rule book or do you have complete creative power?

A: We keep all the information about past Ribbons on the Runway events, but it is mostly used as a resource to reference. As the Ribbons on the Runway Event Chair, I had the freedom to create my vision for this event from scratch. Other people in the organization, past AEPhi members, and Emerson employees have been very supportive in making my vision come to life. You have the resources, but it’s up to you to make it what it is.

Q: How do you put together an event this large?

A: I’ve been talking with past event chairs, and they have all said that you don’t really know how much you are taking on until it actually starts, and that’s true! [However,] I participated in the past three Ribbons on the Runway events in my time with the sorority, which has given me the experience to help lead the creative team this year. There are eight people on my team and they were all passionate about making this event the best it can be. I also have 65 sisters to fall back on for any assistance I may need. 

Q: How have your experiences with other organizations prepared you for this endeavor?

A: For the past year and a half I have been serving as Secretary for Kidding Around Theatre Company, [which has taught me] how to be organized and work in a creative and collaborative environment. I have also served as the Vice President of Standards for AEPhi, and faced many challenges with being legally responsible for a group of women. These roles have helped me learn what it takes to be a leader and how to react to issues in different situations.

Q: What has been your favorite moment in a Ribbons on the Runway event?

A: Once, when I was a model [in the show], there was this moment of making eye contact with myAEPhi sisters and our guests, when we all seemed to realize we had accomplished something incredible, and that was a feeling I’ll never forget. The feeling that we did something amazing. 


View photos below from this year’s event.

Event Chair Jordan Kirby welcomes the audience.

Event Chair Jordan Kirby welcomes the audience. | Photo: Jed Shiheng Xu 2018

MCs G Cadogen and Sean Rodgers pump up the audience for the Live Auction.

MC’s G. Cadogan and Sean Rodgers pump up the audience for the live auction. | Photo: Jed Shiheng Xu 2018

Mimi Warnick, member of Alpha Epsilon Phi models Jack Wills clothing.

Mimi Warnick, member of Alpha Epsilon Phi, models Jack Wills clothing. | Photo: Jed Shiheng Xu 2018

Emily Soemita, member of Kappa Gamma Chi, strikes a pose in a red dress.

Emily Soemita, member of Kappa Gamma Chi, strikes a pose in a red dress. | Photo: Jed Shiheng Xu 2018

Jimmy Cheng, member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, smiles at the audience while walking down the runway.

Jimmy Cheng, member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, is all smiles while walking down the runway. | Photo: Jed Shiheng Xu 2018

Shaye Faherty, Face of Ribbons 2018, and Cristina Ashbaugh pose for a photo in Crush Boutique clothing.

Shaye Faherty, Face of Ribbons 2018, and Cristina Ashbaugh pose for a photo in Crush Boutique clothing. | Photo: Jed Shiheng Xu 2018

Models doing their final walk.

Models doing their final walk. | Photo: Jed Shiheng Xu 2018

Models smile and wave to the audience at the end of the show.

Models smile and wave to the audience at the end of the show. | Photo: Jed Shiheng Xu 2018

Models celebrate a successful show.

Models celebrate a successful show. | Photo: Jed Shiheng Xu 2018

A group shot of the members of Alpha Epsilon Phi, Beta Alpha Chapter.

A group shot of the members of Alpha Epsilon Phi, Beta Alpha Chapter. | Photo: Stephanie Shih 2018