StrutLA Modeling Troupe was scheduled to showcase a show called “Modern Chains” Thursday but it might not take place or be postponed.
“Canceling the show is the very last option. I don’t want to postpone the show because we have designers that are already scheduled to come down here that day. This is really messed up,” StrutLA President Tammara Ellis said Wednesday.
Due to some issues with T.H. Harris Auditorium, the usual location for the annual spring show, the show cannot be held there.
Ellis has tried to find a different location for the show, including the Black and Gold Room in the Favrot Student Union, but it is booked for the rest of the semester. The modeling troupe may have to hold the show on April 19, the earliest date the auditorium might be available.
Ellis is not taking no for an answer.
According to Mitzi LaSalle, interim director of university communications, the auditorium has been put offline because of electrical concerns, including transformer and switch issues caused by the recent storm and the related flooding about three weeks ago. “The auditorium situation is being reviewed,” she said, “and there is no specific date when it will reopen.”
That disappoints Ellis, but she is not deterred.
Ellis always dreamed of becoming a runway model. When she was a little girl she wanted to be the next Naomi Campbell. She always listened to all kinds of music and would put on heels and strut to the songs. Ellis even walks the same way regularly as she does in heels.
No matter where she’s going or where she is located, strutting is always on her mind. Ellis loves watching shows that give her knowledge about the modeling industry and what’s to be expected, including America’s Next Top Model and Project Runway.
Once she started at Grambling State University in Grambling, Louisiana, she began to see modeling troupes on campus. Ellis decided to try out for StrutLA Modeling Troupe. The modeling troupe was founded in Fall 2010 by international students from Antigua and Barbuda. After a year of being with StrutLA, Ellis was became president in Spring 2015. “I was absolutely nervous,” she said. “I’ve never had so much responsibility in my life. I’ve never been in a position of leadership.”
She did her first show, “Fools Gold,” in Fall 2015.
“It was a headache but everything came together at the end. My executive board and I worked as a team which made the show turn out great,” Ellis said.
This is not the first time Ellis here been on an executive board for an organization. She was on the executive board for Lyrical Quest, an organization dealing with poetic knowledge and creativity. "I love StrutLA Modeling Troupe. I always have and I always will,” she said.
As a president with more to do, she began to turn her life around and become more focused.
"I immediately had to boss up my life. I had to become more responsible because I had an entire organization on my shoulders. I became more organized and more of a people person."
Micah Perkins, 21, a StrutLA member, believed in Ellis. “This is her first time being president of anything so of course there’s always room for improvement but she recognizes what needs to change and she acts on it,” said Perkins.
Kiera Thomas, 23, another member of StrutLA who been in this organization for over three years, said when she met Ellis, “I thought to myself, this girl is quiet but she has a lot of potential.”
Thomas wasn’t so sure about her being president because she was so young at only 19 years old.
Still, Thomas felt that though Ellis was “very smart, responsible, and creative and was the only one who seemed qualified.”
Ellis helped with a show before she joined StrutLA in fall 2014. She came up with ideas and monitored everyone’s walks. “It was chaotic! So much was happening all at once and I had to just embrace it all and go with the flow. Prayer is the only way I got through it, she said."
Ellis makes sure that StrutLA prays after every practice to keep a peace of mind. She is praying for a solution so this year’s show goes on. She won’t give up.
“My love for StrutLA is real,” she added. “So I would do anything in my power to make sure this modeling troupe is on top before I leave this school.”