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This character formation program for teenagers works on inner beauty and self-confidence, instead of obsessing with the externals
TODAY?S YOUTH may find growing up a trying experience, especially in a world heavily influenced by TV shows like ?Gossip Girl? and ?90210??shows that portray kids indulging in excessive drinking, partying, and the like, and yet feeling empty at times.

Yet for 14 student ?models? and their mentor ?supermodels? singing together in the culminating number of the ?Pure Fashion? show held on April 2 at Enderun College, there was enough reason, as their song implied, to smile.

The event was a celebration of Pure Fashion?s advocacy. A faith-based organization started by a mother-and-daughter tandem from Georgia, Pure Fashion is designed to help girls 13-18 years old rediscover and reaffirm their innate value and authentic femininity.

It is a character formation program that enhances not only a young woman?s external appearance, but more importantly, her inner beauty and balanced self-confidence.

Now on its third year in the Philippines, the participants, who are called ?models,? and their slightly older mentors came up with a program showcasing the lessons and virtues they acquired during their 10-month journey of self-discovery together.

Inner beauty

In an era where peer pressure and fashionistas overseas dictate what is deemed attractive and fashionable, the emphasis has always been on the external, with the outrageous deemed superior, even as this may run contrary to the values and norms taught by our parents, schools and religious institutions.

Pure Fashion hopes to change this, one model at a time, by encouraging the girls to see how beautiful they are from within and how believing in one?s self never goes out of style.

?In our world today, where these values are considered un-cool and outdated, you girls are living proof that these values are a celebration of self-worth,? said Pure Fashion chair Margaux Romero.

The afternoon?s presentation at Enderun College showcased the girls? varied talents though videos, skits, song and dance numbers, and also shared personal testimonies showing how much the Pure Fashion program changed their lives.

They were unanimous in underscoring the virtues of God-confidence, authenticity, and chastity as the key lessons these ladies learned through this rite of passage.

Trina Manalo, a recent high-school graduate, said, ?Confidence doesn?t just equate to how the world sees you; it should be more holistic. Greater confidence means that you don?t need to compete with the fashion trends, because only God can give us the confidence that pulls us up where we want to be.?

An original version of yourself

One of the skits presented emphasized the value of one?s uniqueness, and reminded everyone present how it was more important to be an original version of yourself rather than to try to be someone else.

Angela Poe, one of the mentors who gave a testimony about chastity, said, ?Everyone wants love, but you have to wait for it because someone?s made for you. You need to grow in love and be more of who you are and who you want to be.?

The one-man act Somedaydream and international singer-songwriter Marie Digby, two celebrity supporters of the cause, rendered songs for the girls and their families and the sizeable audience present. Digby, in her song ?Unfold,? sang, ?I?m scared people will not like my imperfections once they see beneath the surface, but I realized this should not be the case.?

The lyrics to the song perfectly summed up the personal struggles and reflections that the 14 model graduates went through. It goes, ?Bare it all, watch me unfold.?

As each one of them walked the runway with their heads held high and huge smiles illuminating their faces, one could not help but be inspired by these young girls? confidence, poise, and grace, out to spread their wings as they venture forth into bigger journeys ahead.