I woke from an after work nap. Christmas weekend was finally here and starting off with a magazine cover reveal party at Parc Ave near the bougie Yorkville neighborhood in Toronto. Thankfully my tiny bachelor apartment was only a nine minute walk, so I had plenty of time to glam.
Though Chaarmz ‘talent’ was to wear black bottoms and white tops, I was hoping stripes, sparkles, sequence and tinsel were also welcome. I knew this was probably the only holiday party I would be able to attend as I was scheduled to work all weekend (hashtag restaurant life).
Upon arrival, I heard voices as I slowly made my way up the long dark staircase. One of the voices belonged to Carrie, an actress who appeared in Suits and The Handmaid’s Tale. The other voice I recognized as Julian, a musician I saw open for American rapper, Millyz. They both looked fabulous and thankfully more festive than myself.
After taking a peek around I unzipped my jacket and noticed Kal, who –of course - was already smiling for pictures. Once the majority of the team arrived Natalie and Kal walked us through choreography as we added a scarlet scarf or bowtie to our outfits and practiced posing on the runway (and taking selfies). Nicole - a remarkable coach - even took a fascinating picture of me taking a picture of myself. The runway ran all the way around the red and wooden rectangular room.
Once we were done practice, Christopher Bates arrived fashionably late – ‘aka’ just in time. A guest informed me that he was also at Parc Ave the night before. His presence caused a bit of commotion – people scurrying through the crowd to go over and say ‘hi’ or take pictures. He could have easily been one of the models except that he seemed more confident on the inside.
Though I had read about him online, this was only my second time seeing him in person. The first time was a few months prior at the Salvador Dali exhibit in Brookfield Place. I had been drinking vodka pineapples and walked up to Christopher without introduction. I asked if he would style me for the Writer’s Trust of Canada Awards – which would be held at the CBC the following month - then ran away and never followed up.
As Parc Ave was starting to fill in, I decided to check my hair and makeup. I had no idea I had walked into the men’s washroom until one of them said the women’s was on the other side and ‘not to worry’ because these days I could use any if I felt like it. Thankfully I opted for the women’s washroom and ran into Sheena who had coordinated the evening. Sheena was Ms. Canada Nation Universe and was always doing interesting things.
Once we were done ‘girl-chat’ it was almost time for Chaarmz talent to line up behind the curtains. Though my first experience walking a runway was at age eleven, I still felt butterflies. Upon commencing, we were in a different order than in practice. I felt comfortable at first (thick heels) but turned the corners awkwardly. At the end of the runway we waited behind the hidden Chaarmz cover until the very end when Christopher Bates pulled the ribbon away.
Though a Vancity boy, his Chaarmz magazine cover captured a truly Hollywood North style. He wore a vegan leather bomber and Maverick aviator sunglasses from his Top Gun collection. Once the cheers and clapping and photo snapping came to an end, the party started.
There was birthday cake and sparklers, models and bottles, familiar faces and post-shot chasers. As a pre-Christmas cheer filled the air I hovered near Christopher’s booth, too shy to ask for a drink. Thankfully the bottle service person offered and I opted for tequila and pineapple this time.
But a night on the town wouldn’t be complete without an embarrassing run-in with coworkers and ridiculous conversation with an ex – both tasks I managed after only three drinks. Naturally I left early - to beat the rain and because my weekend brunch host shift started at 8am. On the walk home, the air was freezing, nine minutes felt like an hour. To ease my pain I fantasized about putting even more red lipstick on when I got in and kissing the collar of my white shirt.
Contact the Publisher @chaarmzmagazine:
Kal Ata Khan instagram.com/km.ata
Publisher @chaarmzmagazine instagram.com/chaarmzmagazine
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