Inspired by the singular style and confidence of Rihanna, 17-year-old Kuiahna Marks was among the first to arrive at Valley Stream Central High School’s prom Friday night at Leonard's Palazzo in Great Neck, sporting a bubblegum pink bob and an off-the-shoulder, emerald green gown.
Her completed look was a family affair.
While Marks designed her dress for prom, which took place this Friday at Leonard’s Palazzo in Great Neck, her mother got to work crafting her jewelry. Her sister, Talia, was in charge of makeup on the special day.
Although Marks’ passion for fashion only ignited this year, she’s been drawing and painting since she was young.
Her mother, Marsha Washington-Marks, recalled those days while proudly scrolling through photos of her daughter’s artwork on her phone.
“When she was a little girl, just to keep her busy, I would give her a piece of paper out of the copy machine and a pencil and say, ‘Draw me something,’” Washington-Marks said. “And I would hang them all over the wall. Out of doing that -- from the time she was able to even hold a pencil -- it developed into her own style.”
Marks planned out her prom look based on an Instagram pic of Rihanna, where she rocked a pearl choker and thigh-high socks. She sketched her dress and picked out the colors, then her mother sent the design to a seamstress. Marks dyed her wig bright pink the night before prom.
“I picked pink and green because those are outside the box,” she said. “And I wanted it to be a very vintage look. I didn’t want to do something ordinary, like a regular prom dress with glitter and diamonds. I wanted to be very different because that’s how I am; that’s how I’ve always been.”
Marks’ mother helped her pick out a pair of velvet pink pumps from DSW.
“She’s a shoe fanatic,” Marks said with a laugh.
As for the jewelry, Washington-Marks took some gemstones from an old pair of earrings to complete the choker and a ring for her daughter. Marks’ sister Talia completed her makeup in half an hour.
“Our household is very artistic,” Washington-Marks said. Marks added, “She’s always let me express myself without any restrictions.”
In the fall, Marks will head to the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan. She hopes to continue incorporating her artwork into her own “bold looks.”
Washington-Marks can’t wait to see what both of her daughters accomplish in the future.
She said, “I am so excited to be able to push them forward, let their creations come to life… They’re growing up and developing into who they are. I want them to be who they are; not what society says they’re supposed to be.”