Last evening’s Somaly Mam Foundation event answered the prayers of a rare breed of geek: the Model UN-er cum fashionista. Yes I can confirm they exist as my glued-to-CSPAN self is one of them, and what better way to entice such an odd hybrid than with certified hot nerd host, Seth Myers.
When Lauren asked me to cover this event I essentially jumped out of my seat, “I’m a former Model UN nerd!” I exclaimed via email, “Ha, i did Model UN, too!” she replied. [Ed note: Leah did Model UN too. Is this a trend?] It was then I realized that there must be more geeks like us, and decided to pull some investigative maneuvers at last evening’s soiree to find them.
One hour in there were no fashion geeks to be found, but I did manage to guilt press-shy Seth Myers into a brief interview by promising to bring moral responsibility to the fashion industry-- a bit of a stretch but it worked. Speaking about human trafficking the Weekend Update host said, ”It’s an issue that not a lot of people know about, how widespread it is.” Certainly not the same caliber of interview that equally smoking SNL-er Andy Samberg gave a few weeks back, but Myers’ boyish grin certainly made up for his appropriate solitude.
Speaking with foundation founder Somaly Mam was a welcome sidetrack from my quest. The Cambodian native established her foundation in 2007 to help sex trade victims, a category she herself is unfortunately a part of. Born in the midst of Cambodia’s civil unrest, Mam was abandoned by her parents in a small village and then abducted, forced into slavery and marriage with a rebel soldier. Later escaping and eventually moving to Paris, Mam realized there were others who needed her help and established the Somaly Mam Foundation to help educate and employ victims of human trafficking. She told us that women at Somaly Mam Centers often say “I can’t believe I have a new life,” and that one is attending law school in the fall.
Post-interview I began to circle the room for once more, about to throw in the towel until I spotted a statuesque figure sharply dressed in a monochromatic scheme. It was none other than Vogue’s booking editor, Valerie Boster, and her impeccable posture expressed some sort of experience with mock world-saving activities.
We chatted about the foundation and New York’s endless roster of charities until the million-dollar question arose, “Were you in Model UN?” I asked. Her eyes widened and she blurted out, “Yes! Oh my gosh this is bringing back so many memories!”
Hah see cynical friends, more exist! “I really love the idea of communal discussion and solving problems in a think-tank kind of way,” Boster said of our high school past time. Sadly we didn’t discuss delegation attire; (sidenote: I once represented France and wore skinny jeans claiming they were "traditional dress") yet it was wonderful to hear that the fashionable model UN geek is alive and well. To all who are like-minded take note: when you’re craving a discussion about the flora and fauna know that you are not alone.