Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Blending good looks with activism, Northwestern’s HIV and AIDS awareness group, HALO – short for “HIV and AIDS Literacy Organization” – will hold its first ever fashion show tonight to raise money for HIV and AIDS research at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. in the Louis Room at Norris, and tickets cost $10 for students and $20 for the general public.

The show – dubbed A Modern Day Fairytale – was the brainchild of Medill sophomore Andrea Adame, who helped organize the event for HALO. She sat down with PLAY to talk about HIV and AIDS awareness, fashion and the inspiration for her activism.

PLAY: What was it like to organize the fashion show?

Andrea Adame: I can definitely say it was one of the most stressful things I’ve ever done in my life. Basically, I came up with the idea on my own. I’ve been interested in fashion for a really long time, and I just wanted to take a leadership role and do something about HIV and AIDS. I wrote a research paper about it last year and my older brother’s father died of AIDS. I know about it, I’ve been surrounded by it, so I thought it was time to do something. I came up with the idea, and I decided that I wanted it to go to Children’s Memorial because I’ve worked with them before. I was going along with kids trying to come up with a theme, and that’s where A Modern Day Fairytale came in.

PLAY: Why a fashion show?

AA: I think it’s a good way to attract people because it’s not something that’s normally done on campus. And especially because people (at NU) are so interested in style and looks nowadays, it’s definitely going to attract people.

PLAY: It is not often you see a fashion show as an AIDS benefit. Do you think the show is going to help destigmatize AIDS, at least on the NU campus?

AA: I don’t know if it will help destigmatize it. I hope people who come will leave a little more aware. Hopefully they will remember why they’re there. Of course, it’s a fashion show, but we’re there because of AIDS. There’s always going to be stigma, but if we can do something about it, if we can speak about it, then it will help. What I’m hoping is that this will put HALO in the spotlight, because HALO is such a small group. Not a lot of people know about them. When I went to Norris for World AIDS Day, very few people showed up for the event, and that really was really disappointing.

PLAY: So did that help you make the decision to have the show?

AA: Yeah, because at that point I had a fashion show in mind, and I was already working with Children’s Memorial trying to think of what it was going to benefit. At first, we were thinking of doing a cancer benefit. But then I talked to (Weinberg sophomore) Jasmyn Jones, the president of HALO, and she suggested the benefit go to AIDS.

PLAY: How much are you hoping to raise?

AA: We’re hoping to raise at least $3,000.

PLAY: How did the passing of your brother’s father and your brother’s work with AIDS change your perspective about AIDS activism and awareness?

AA: It didn’t really impact me growing up because I was still kind of young. I finally went to visit him at the assisted living house and it was kind of scary seeing how sick he looked, but it still didn’t hit me. I didn’t quite understand what the impact was. It wasn’t until he died that I said, “Wow, this is serious.” It was the first time I really saw my brother depressed and crying. My brother is a really strong person and I had never seen him cry before that. And just to see him go through it alone because AIDS is stigmatized – he lost a lot of friends because they didn’t want to deal with that – was even more sad. Still, after that, I didn’t really do anything. I didn’t take an interest until last year when I had a choice of doing a 10-page research paper on any topic I wanted. At that point, I had seen Angels in America, which I’d recommend to everyone. After watching that and talking to my brother I decided that I couldn’t just let it go. I’ve gotten a passion for it because of my brother, and I’m not trying to make my brother’s story my own, but he’s been a huge role model for me an inspiration to become active.

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