Impressions Online Boutique Sponsors A Wish through Make-A-Wish Mid-South! March 17, 2023 13:16
Before the pink runway was rolled out and the surrounding chairs were filled, 18-year-old, “LA” Cate, could be found at the University of Arkansas immersed in her studies.
Majoring in mechanical engineering, aerospace, pure mathematics and biophysics, there’s no question about the amount of hours she spends dedicated to her education. However, on February 27, LA’s time was spent at the makeup counter instead of the classroom desk.
The genius teen was born with the rarest form of Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, COLA1 defect, a genetic disorder that affects connective tissue. This critical illness causes the body to not be able to produce type one collagen, which is needed to provide structure to the skin and organs.
Her incredible accomplishments and story didn’t only gain traction in the community, but also with Make-A-Wish Mid-South.
Around 3 p.m, LA arrived at the Impressions Online Boutique headquarters in Springdale, Arkansas, for what she believed to be a photoshoot for Make-A-Wish Mid-South. Little did she know, Impressions was sponsoring her wish to go to New York City for a shopping spree.
She positioned her pink and purple wheelchair in front of the makeup mirror, while the Impressions team gathered around to meet her. Between strokes of pink eyeliner and touches of blush, she captivated the room with stories of her travels to Iceland and Europe.
Ranking her favorite cities, it’s no surprise why Paris was at the top with New York. While trying to pass time during her stays in the hospital, she taught herself French. It took three months.
As her strawberry blonde hair was being put into loose curls, “Golden”, by Harry Styles played through the speakers next to her.
“I saw him perform at Madison Square Garden,” Cate mentioned as she pulled out her phone to find a picture. Posing in front of a sold-out arena, Cate was dressed in an eye-catching cardigan designed with bright colors and fun prints. As the Impressions team admired the gorgeous jacket, Cate casually mentioned she crocheted it herself.
The Impressions team had only met her an hour ago, but it didn’t take long to know that describing her as “rare” would be an understatement.
After hair and makeup were complete, LA was ushered to her dressing room by Impressions’ lead stylist, Krystal McAnaw, where she was met with a rack of styled outfits. A pink, silk dress paired with a white, feathered blazer caught her attention immediately. McAnaw completed the outfit with feather earrings and pink heels.
LA showed off the first look as Impressions’ lead photographer, Ashley Carter, snapped pictures. Posing with a disco ball, she was a natural model as she moved around on set.
After photographing two other outfits, LA changed into her favorite look; a gorgeous, green tulle dress. Her mother, Laura’s, jaw dropped as she saw her daughter. “You look beautiful,” she said as she gazed adoringly.
Before LA had time to get back in front of the camera, Impressions' Director of Marketing and Make-A-Wish Mid-South Board Chair, Jessica Lais, announced that we were changing locations for this look. Jessica led LA and her mother through a different door, to reveal the real reason LA came to Impressions HQ.
As LA's mother pushed her wheelchair to the runway, rows of chairs filled with family, friends and supporters erupted into cheer. She was beaming. Her loved ones met her with hugs, and some tears, while she moved to the end of the runway.
Suddenly, the music died down, and the truth was revealed. “LA, your wish has been granted,” the whole room cheered in unison. Grinning from ear-to-ear, her joy was radiant. Following her mother back into the dressing room to change into her next runway look, LA’s mom assured her daughter the tears on her face were “happy tears.”
After showing off two more outfits on the pink runway, people poured into another room. A shirley temple bar, cookies and macaroons were laid out for everyone to enjoy. There was one more surprise waiting for LA.
The Impressions team led her back to the racks of clothes and told her to pick everything she wanted to bring on her trip to New York City. LA thanked the team and filled a box up with her favorite items.
When asked what she was planning on doing in NYC; shopping, visiting the Met and getting a novel from a French bookstore were at the top of her to-do list. Cate’s wish was granted, and Impressions was honored to sponsor her wish and be a part of the special day.
Written By: Mallory Hart, Stylist