Telluride AIDS Benefit Model Coordinator Has It All

[click “Play”, Nina Tumbas talks about why she works with the TAB fashion show]

363224895306_0_ALB Toss the rule book when it comes to Telluride. We make up our own. Witness the theme of the 2010 Telluride AIDS Benefit fashion show: “Out of your comfort zone. Step out of the box.” Expect the unexpected, as expected.

The ideal female fashion model is tall, long-legged, and lean. Their minimum height is usually about 5’8″+ and average weight, between 108-125 lbs.  Generally speaking they are sent to the glue factory past 22. Not in Telluride. In Telluride models come in all shapes, sizes and ages. On the runway of the Telluride AIDS Benefit fashion show, the highlight of a week of outreach and education, talks, HIV screening, and a major art auction, you find an equal mix swizzle sticks and classic egg timers (in and out shapes). At the Telluride AIDS Benefit fashion show, brains meets beauty, personality rules the night, and fashion meets compassion: Enter Nina Tumbas.

827048006306_0_ALB Nina, once the poster child for a Southern Slavic dance company, Zivil (meaning “To Life”) and professional hoofer and sometime actress  -– she is a member of the always rogue SquidShow Theatre troupe – is today a poster child for TAB, a model citizen and 2010 model coordinator.

Nina discovered our town when she was in the 6th grade and fell in love, telling her mom: “I will live in Telluride.” At 22, she made the move. Her first year as a local, Nina sat in the audience. . Blown away by the choreography, lights, sound, energy and talent, she auditioned for TAB’s fashion extravaganza the following year.  This year, 2010, marks Nina’s third year on the runway and her first year as the models’ den mother. With 50 models in all, the job is the equivalent of herding cats in a blizzard.

Nina and fashion show colleagues  – models, crew, directors – sacrifice the month of February to the cause. (The board works year ’round.) Why do they do it? Why get behind the red ribbon?

Click the “play” button and listen to Nina tell it like it is.

(photo credits: Jen Koskinen)

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