From the park to modeling

Martin Lopez Melendez
November 7, 2021

On a previous blog I told the story of how I decided to step out of my comfort zone by talking to someone at a park. From that moment not only did I gain a local friend, but a door to a lot of activities happening around Paris. I was trying to look for dance activities around the area, because that’s an activity that is within my comfort zone, but life brings surprises. 

That friend I met at the park told me about a really cool activity that I was really hesitant about at first because it was something I have never tried before. My friend invited me to participate in a sewing and clothing designing workshop that met once a week for 3 hours. I remember showing up the first day and being really nervous because I have never used a sewing machine in my life nor have I designed any piece of clothing. To add to that, I didn’t know the French vocabulary for the materials used. I felt like I have never before, but there is always a starting point for everything, so we decided to give it a try. 

We were taught how to take measurements, design a dress and a shirt, use the sewing machine to put it all together, and so many other things by the amazing Senegalese designer Abdou Khader Faye. I never thought that making a shirt could be so difficult, but it is truly a rewarding experience in the end. I also received help from my other peers who had already some previous experience, I learned so many new things and was welcomed into a new community. 

The biggest surprise for me was when we were notified that the designer was going to put up a fashion show with his new collection “Wait Gorée” and that we were going to be part of it. The plan was to model our own creations with live music from an incredible African music group. 

The day came and we were all so excited, everyone was trying out their outfits, doing last minute details, getting makeup done by professionals (it was my first time wearing makeup). Modeling in front of so many people presenting the very own shirt I made from scratch was truly an experience I am never going to forget. Who would have thought ? Modeling in Paris….

Besides the amazing experience and the new skills I gained, I am so thankful for the welcoming community I found and the new local friends I made. My French fluency definitely became better after that workshop. Now I truly feel part of the community. Once again I received a reminder of the benefits of stepping out of that comfort zone safely with an open mind to try new things. This is an experience I will never forget and honestly, it’s low key a flex to have had this experience in Paris. 


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Martin Lopez Melendez

<p>My name is Martin and I am a 20-year-old student studying at Lewis &amp; Clark College in Portland Oregon. I'm majoring in World Languages with my two main languages being French and Russian and minoring in dance. I was born in a small rural area in Mexico and immigrated to California when I was 13. At age 16 I embarked on a 2-year adventure at the United World College USA located in northern New Mexico. I love talking to people, seeing and learning about new places. In my free time, I love dancing, reading, working out, and spending time with friends. I am also a goat lover and consider myself a goat expert.</p>

2021 Fall
Home University:
Lewis and Clark College
Coalinga, CA/La Piedad, Mexico
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