October 15, 2023 | 2:15pm
MANILA, Philippines — Celebrated fashion designer Renee Salud, who has over 40 years of experience in the fashion industry, is set to collaborate with a bevy of beauty queens that he has mentored through the years in an upcoming fashion gala simply dubbed “Thai Silk: A Night of Glamor and Compassion.”
Her protegees, who bonded together in extending much-needed help to several beneficiaries, called their group Beyond Beauty. The group is delighted to collaborate with the Royal Thai Embassy and Dusit Thani Manila in bridging cultures through the universal language of fashion and compassion, underscoring a shared commitment to make a positive impact on the lives of the less fortunate by transcending borders and boundaries.
Some of the active members of Beyond Beauty include Miss Universe 1984 3rd runner-up Desiree Verdadero, Binibining Pilipinas International 1991 Patti Betita, Miss International 1979 Melanie Marquez, salon owner Teng Roma, Fashion Forte chief executive officer Nardie Pressa, Binibining Pilipinas Universe 1990 Gem Padilla, Binibining Pilipinas Tourism 1994 Sheila Marie Dizon, Binibining Pilipinas Universe 1985 Joyce Ann Burton and Renee Salud as ambassador of Philippine fashion.
“I’m overwhelmed. This show would be a success because most of the models are successful women of society. This will be a 70-piece collection. This show is for the benefit of Center of Hope and Kanlungan ni Erma, shelters for women,” said Mama Renee during a huddle with the press.
Center of Hope is an organization at the forefront of rescuing and rehabilitating victims of human trafficking from brothels. Through their relentless efforts, they provide a lifeline for those trapped in this modern-day scourge by offering hope, refuge and a path to a brighter future.
Kanlungan sa Erma, on the other hand, operates as a halfway house for children facing legal battles against their abusers. With a commitment to safeguarding the rights and well-being of these young individuals, the organization offers solace and support as they navigate the difficult road to attaining justice.
“We are so privileged to be part of this undertaking. We’re surrounded by all these beauties, and we’ve met all the people who organized this event. Beyond Beauty has supported us since 2015, as a refuge for women. It is not only what they give us that matter, but also their heartwarming presence,” said Kanlungan’s executive director Sol Balbero.
“Amanda” (not her real name) attended the mid-afternoon event, together with other women from Kanlungan. She was a survivor of cybersex trafficking and hails from the hinterlands of Mindanao. She was a victim when she was still 12 years old, and continued with the trade until she was rescued at 17.
In her testimony, she revealed that all of them were minors and that they were maltreated and physically abused by the traffickers. With the help of Kanlungan, she will be a degree holder in December as she completes her Culinary degree.
Voice of the Free is an education campaign supported by Beyond Beauty, where survivors like Amanda get a new lease in life.
“We have real relationships with our beneficiaries, as well as among us queen sisters. We do everything out of joy and love for each other. We’ve been friends for so long now. Proceeds of the show will go directly to our beneficiaries. This is a sold-out show so there’ll be a Part 2. We bring beauty and basics to the life of people,” said Binibining Pilipinas Universe 1979 Criselda “Dang” Cecilio, who is the main proponent of the advocacy, in her keynote speech.
Directed by Cata Figueroa, the “Renee Salud x Thai Silk” show unfolds on October 25, 6 p.m., at the Mayurer Ballroom of the Dusit Thani Manila. This follows her European shows in Venice, Milan and Rome in the last week of September. Proceeds of the show will go entirely to the Center of Hope and Kanlungan ni Erma organizations. For inquiries, simply get in touch with Patty Betita through mobile # 0917-8258128.
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