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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

Energy is in fashion for this URI student
Cranston resident shines while keeping breakneck pace

KINGSTON, R.I. -- June 19, 2000 -- She's a University of Rhode Island student, a model, a manager, a fashion designer, a gourmet cook and a crusader for impoverished youths.

One thing Cranston resident Vannou Nhem is not is lethargic. The 22-year-old (she turns 23 on June, 21), Cranston High School East graduate just finished her junior year at URI.

And even though she is a child psychology major, she was elected by students in the URI Fashion Merchandising Society to serve as the group's president next year.

That may be because she has played a pivotal role in the society's last two fashion shows as a model, designer and organizer. This year, she designed and sewed 13 outfits for the show called "Insomnia." Her fashion line was called Iridescent Variegation. The line consisted of different colors and styles. According to Nhem, "some are alluring, sensual, and curvaceous, but most of all it represents energy and life."

In addition to modeling her own line, she helped model clothes made by her friends.

"I have always made my own clothes," Nhem said. "The thing that motivated me was that when I went to the store, I had a hard time finding clothes that fit. The clothes I make fit me just right. There are no folds. I am only 5 feet tall, so I would have to shop in the little girls' section. I am just the type of person who can observe something, and I can pick it up quickly."

Nhem said she used to be quite shy. "But then I outgrew it, and I thought being in the fashion show would be something different and new. It's an offshoot of sports and cooking," Nhem said.

She is very proud that the show is becoming more and more multicultural and that men are participating now as designers and models. "We are trying to involve people from all over the campus."

When she is not sewing her own clothes, she serves as facilitator for the Children's Crusade, serving as a team leader and role model for inner-city youngsters. She helps them with team-building and cooperation, behavior management, community service, responsibility, and self-discipline.

But that's not it. She also serves as an assistant secretary in URI' s Department of Student Involvement. And since last September, she has been the manager of URI's Two-Lips Flower Shop, where she oversees hiring, scheduling, training, ordering and billing.

In addition to those activities, she is vice president of the Asian Students' Association, treasurer for Camp Rhody, a program designed to help second graders in North Kingstown and South Kingstown read; public relations chair for the URI Cape Verdean Students Association, and a member of the Multicultural Student Council Committee, to name a few.

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For Information: Dave Lavallee 401-874-2116

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