The FAB Women Gala by Leah Laroque

My day had not started well. Work was extremely busy and the week’s forecast looked even busier. So when five o’clock rolled around, I especially did not feel like getting dressed up a chilly February evening.
Nonetheless, my feelings soon thawed as my mom and I entered into the Westin hotel for the FAB Women charity gala, which was held to raise awareness and funds for Hopewell and to increase a movement for positive body image. Unfortunately, women face societal pressures and expectations that are unauthentic and unrealistic. The images on TV and in magazines make us a target of a mass marketing scheme that flings on us plastic surgery, hair dies, and fake eyelashes.  Women can no longer be content with their natural selves.
This is why events such as FAB women are crucial in our society today.  I had been invited by Jennifer Graves, the executive founder of the event. I have become close to Jen and I wanted to both support her and congratulate her on such a great job.
I took my mom and we were both nervous and a bit shy; not really knowing what to expect.  But our reserve melted aware when I was greeted with a larger than life hug but one of the organizers who told us that we HAD to sit on the Harley Davidson motorcycle for a free photo opp. I felt empowered and in charge when I gripped the handles. “FAB” lane was a long corridor of vendors serenaded by the beautiful vocalist Amanda Rheaume and her piano. The large gala room was lightly light and tastefully decorated. Food was in the centre, and mom and I tasted the sushi and the Vietnamese noodles. We mingled and visited and then decided to reserve a seat in order not to miss a moment of the honorary chair’s speech. This was something I didn’t want to miss.
Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau was straightforward and energizing. Her love of being both a wife and a mother is apparent. She has a natural flair and connection with the audience. Listening to her speak, I forgot about all my insecurities and she offered me a perspective on life and a new outlook on how I see myself, others, and our place in the world as women.
Later in the evening the fashion show highlighted women of all shapes, sizes, ages. They all were beautiful and it was refreshing to watch real women, wearing real clothes, just being real.
The evening touched me personally. It reminded me that I hold the ability to overcome my own challenges and struggles no matter what kind of day I have. I felt a connection with every women in the room because of the honestly and conversations that were sparked.
F.A.B Women shone a light on issues that have remained in the dark for far too long. Although it was a serious and crucial topic, the evening was uplifting.  As women we have not lost the fight; we are stronger than whatever society tells us. There is hope and our struggles are not in vain. We have a supportive sisterhood behind us and the conversation is only just beginning.