At 14, Sarasota's Tiffany Yu was asked if she would be nervous as one of the amateur models during the Spring Sensations Fashion Show March 6 at the Hyatt Regency in Sarasota.
"Mostly, I'm excited," said Yu, whose mom Kathy Yu is a member of Lakewood Ranch's Sisterhood for Good, which puts on the event to raise money for various charities.
But Tiffany, don't you know more than 300 sets of eyes will be locked on you during your first attempt as a fashion model? Are you going to know what to do under the lights?
"I think every girl, at some point, has tried a model walk," Tiffany Yu said with a smile.
In the background, several women nodded and laughed.
The women had met at the Lakewood Ranch home of Sisterhood for Good founder Angela Massaro-Fain to make some last minute preparations for the event, which still has some tickets remaining. This is the second year of the event and the first year at the Hyatt, which was chosen because it has space for more than 300 guests and the runway.
"Last year we sold out with 264 people," Massaro-Fain said. "We're at 274 now and I will be thrilled to have over 300."
Massaro-Fain founded the group in 2011 with the thought 10 women would join and each would contribute $2,000 over a five year period. Then they could start distributing the $10,000 to charity.
So much has changed. The group now has 141 members and an endowed fund of $50,000. The group has forged ahead with fundraisers such as Spring Sensations and the Designer Bag Bingo.
"We couldn't do it without all our members doing this out of the goodness of their hearts," Massaro-Fain said.
Maribeth Phillips, the CEO and president of Meals on Wheels Plus of Manatee, said Sisterhood for Good's efforts have been much appreciated.
"Sisterhood for Good gave us $2,000 last year," Phillips said. "For us, it means we can deliver weekend bags of food to kids in the summer. We deliver to 40 sites in Manatee County. That money means 400 bags times six meals. That's 2,400 meals. It makes a huge impact."
Terri Stern is a Sisterhood for Good member who modeled in last year's inaugural event. She loves the event benefits charity so she doesn't sweat being the object of attention for a few minutes on the runway.
"I was a flight attendant for 20 years, so I can get in front of a crowd," she said. "And I'm a cancer survivor, so life is good."
Stern said the only advice she would have for her fellow amateur models would be to have fun and strut their stuff. "No. 1 is not to fall if you are wearing heels," she said.
Debbie Dannheisser, whose colorful leggings, skirts and accessories will be one of the features, said she just wants the model to be confident and bold.
"The confidence is contagious," she said. "You will see them be transformed. They step out of their comfort zone."
Sisterhood for Good member Peggy Kronus said the confidence has to do with the cause.
"There is so much energy in the room," Kronus said. "The energy is driven by the why."
Yvonne Schloss, whose Sunglass Express Optical of St Armands Circle will have the featured eyewear on the runway, said she knows the models will do a great job showing her "jewelry for the eyes."
"This is a bunch of ladies who give a little and make a big impact," Schloss said. "Everyone is having fun."