Thanksgiving is the season to feel thankful and no one knows that more than Kiki, a model who has walked runways–and soon Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York–thanks to fashion producer Alexander Gurman, a little bit of luck, and a whole lot of support from other models.
Both Kiki and Alexander live and work in New York City. Alexander Gurman, who is known for his inclusive fashion shows that range from wedding dresses to swimwear, takes full advantage of the city’s busy, bustling, and very lively community events. He is especially well-known for promoting emerging stylists, designers, and models and showing off the latest trends via appearances on fashion runways, YouTube Studios, BRIC Media, and parades. Every November, Alexander takes a group of models to shoot at the famed Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Although crowded, hectic, and early, the parade event is a shoot that most models truly enjoy partaking in and are very grateful to be a part of. Yet some models have reason to be grateful for far more than a chance to walk runways and appear before cameras, some models are thankful to merely be alive…a feeling that Kiki is all too familiar with.
Kiki is a model who recently found out about Alexander Gurman Productions and decided to take a chance modeling with him despite having overcome some very serious–and frightening– events. Kiki’s life has been anything but easy and her beauty has worked against her more than it has worked for her. Kiki became a mother at a young age and subsequently found herself raising two children by herself. Impoverished and on the verge of homelessness, Kiki modeled to supplement her income. Her talent earned her a place on a fashion week runway, which is a very prestigious placement, but her striking beauty was a source of jealously for other models. Last Fall, whilst backstage at a prominent event during New York Fashion Week, a fight broke out over a designer dress and Kiki’s face was subsequently slashed by another model. The blade left deep scars on Kiki’s face which became such a source of shame that she feared her modeling career was all but ended.
For months, she shied away from the spotlight but Kiki missed modeling. She yearned for
the catwalks and the fashion and the makeup. She wanted to reenter the industry but didn’t see a way to do so. Hence, she was intrigued when she heard about Alexander Gurman Productions, creators of the “Mr. Great Fashion Shows,” which are known for being all-inclusive and feature models of every color, shape, and size. Tentatively, Kiki approach Alexander in 2019 and asked if he would allow her into one of his shows. Alexander readily agreed.
“Kiki felt so ashamed of her scar that she always wore sunglasses to cover it,” Alexander explained. “I told her to come to a parade event with us. She was very nervous walking in the door but within minutes the other models hugged and kissed Kiki and made her feel comfortable and welcome and admired. It was very powerful.”
It was clear that Kiki was incredibly thankful for the opportunity to reenter the modeling world and, in many ways, her story emulates how inclusive and supportive the fashion industry, and most
creative industries in general, can be. The participation of models at events such as the parade also emulates the versatility of Alexander’s fashion shows, something which I have become accustomed to after several years of collaborating with him.
“Fashion should be an inclusive and cooperative industry, not an exclusive and competitive one,” Alexander explained. “My shows are about showcasing beauty in all shapes and sizes and colors. I’m very thankful to have the career that I do and to all the models who participate in my shows.”