A Journey


Text: Stan Becton
Photography: Christina Jin


Noel Lau has been apart of the SPIRIT Fashion Show family since her beginnings at Carnegie Mellon.  She was a model in our 29th annual show, Paladin, in 2016. It then was that she realized the uniqueness of SFS.

“[The E-Board] worked tirelessly to put together an engaging and very different fashion show about the identity of models and designers alike.  They created a dialogue with the audience to understand geographic, self-defined, racial, sexual, cultural, ethnic identity,” said Lau.  “I fell in love with the nature and strength of the mission of the show and applied to be a [design coordinator] the next year.”


Four years later, Lau is in here 3rd year as a design coordinator. A key part of our E-Board, Lau and the rest of our design coordinators are tasked with being the main line of communication with the talented designers in our show.  From the designer application process to backstage on the day of the show, the Design Coordinators ensure an efficient and transparent process for our designers. Through her experiences in the show as a model and a design coordinator, Lau appreciates the learning process and continuity established from SFS.

“Every year, the models, the board, the designers, and the supporting crew, pull together this astounding show to uplift more messages, stories, and raw and refined perceptions to the light for people to see and to understand. It’s always been about this communication of something important, through a medium that many may not expect to learn from” said Lau.


While Lau has been successful since she’s started with SFS, it did have its ups and downs.  Lau is, of course, a full-time college student working towards earning her degree in civil engineering.  She found it difficult to balance her “personal relationships, academic pursuits, part times and extracurriculars” early on.  

Yet, through a strong support system, filled with mentors, advisors, friends, family, and colleagues, Lau was able to overcome the difficult place she found herself in saying, “I’m very fortunate to have so many people who listened to me and helped me unpack my baggage a piece at a time, helping me reach an understanding that I needed to be a different kind of self-critical, reflective and courageous to be kind to myself.”

Lau’s personal growth has only served to her benefit.  It is reflected in her work as a student and as a member of the SFS staff.  As she continues her preparation for this year’s show, Noel is anticipating success in both her work as a designer and a model.