On a brisk evening in mid-December, some of the beautiful people of St. Paul gathered at the Amsterdam Bar in downtown St. Paul for the inaugural run of I AM ST. PAUL!, a fundraising event featuring local talent and “non-models” in a lively variety, music and fashion show.
Those runway non-models included Como’s own Hans Lofgren, beer guru at craft beer distributor Original Gravity; Elizabeth Tinucci, co-owner of Colossal Café in St. Anthony Park; and South St. Anthony business owners Erica Strait of Foxy Falafel and Malia Schroeder of Junk Love.
The St. Paul show is kin to I AM MPLS!, which celebrated its fifth year at First Avenue a week earlier. Both events help fund I AM kindness, an organization that connects local artists and professionals with opportunities to network and volunteer in their community. The effort is the brainchild of fashion stylist Sarah Edwards, who hoped to bring together a variety of people to generate not-so-random acts of kindness throughout the Twin Cities. I AM kindness coordinates outreach events that have included handing out flowers on Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis, delivering bus-driver appreciation bags, and hosting beauty makeovers and photo shoots for appreciative elderly.
The organization is also a network of local talent that provides a platform for people to collaborate and participate in open discussion on how every person can help their community in little and big ways, according to I AM ST. PAUL! coordinator Carrissa Glarner.
“When you bring people together you create something new,” Glarner explained. “Little gestures of kindness count as much as grand ones.”
Infectious in her passion and conviction, Glarner had been working tirelessly around the clock in preparation for the I AM ST. PAUL! event, which included local music, a taiko drum line, a dance act, an improvisational comedy performance and a fashion show, featuring a group of local influencers—people you usually don’t find on a fashion show runway, like Lofgren and Tinucci—who promenaded the catwalk like old pros.
“I didn’t know what to expect but it was so much fun,” Lofgren said of his moment on the walkway. “I loved the choice of using ‘non- models’ because it speaks a lot for St. Paul. We are not pretentious; we are who we are.”
“There are so many phenomenal people in this world giving their time and resources,” Glarner said. “I am proud to be a part ofthismovement.”
You can find out more about the event at iamstpaul.com.
Alex Lodner is a Como Park writer and regular contributor to the Park Bugle.