Ophelia's Place holds second annual fashion show

Seeing beyond the fa ade

The fashion show continues the "got beauty?" campaign that Ophelia's Place kicked off last year, something Clausen said has become much bigger than originally anticipated.

"Our goal was to start a discussion about redefining the standard of beauty," she said. "Now it's so much more than just a campaign -- it's an integral part of everything we do."

It was also still an integral part of the fashion show. In her opening remarks Sunday, emcee Abbott said she knows all too well about the societal pressure to conform to a certain standard.

"It's all about how you look," she said. "I can remember only one time when someone complimented me on my writing or my reporting. Every other time someone came up to talk to me, it was 'Oh, who cuts your hair?' or 'Where do you get your clothes?' It's all about appearances on TV."

Abbott said that's made worse by the cycle of "fat talk," where people bash their bodies and those of people around them.

"We have to stop that," she said. "We're visual people, and we see with our eyes and we react. But we have to stop bashing our bodies, because it doesn't do anyone any good."

Changing the outside

Meanwhile, Ophelia's Place is gaining some outer beauty. Thanks to a grant from State Sen. John DeFrancisco, a longtime supporter of the center, as well as Community Development grants, the building on Tulip Street in the village of Liverpool has gotten a makeover.

"We're redoing the front and inside of the building," Clausen said. "We've replaced some insulation and windows to make it energy efficient, and we've completely redone the fa ade."

And Clausen hopes to add more features in the future, including a caf (c) and coffee shop.

"I want to make it as comfortable as it can be," she said. "And I want people to know it's a community place. I'd really like to open it up to everyone in the community."

It's all part of the center's efforts to reach beyond its original mission. Ophelia's Place has recently worked with Reach CNY as well as the local chapter of the Girl Scouts to empower women and educate them on the center's mission.

"We've been working with other groups for a while," Clausen said. "Obviously, we're a very small non-profit organization with limited resources. We can't solve the problem. But we can provide the resources and the connections to the community."

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