It’s been nearly a week since Milan Bolden-Morris had the interwebs buzzing after debuting her “Black Lives Matter” prom dress, which was designed by Terrence Torrence. Although the Florida native admits she was merely a vessel for this act of fashionable social activism, she is very concerned about the increasing acts of police brutality and the families of the victims. After recently celebrating her 18th birthday, Bolden-Harris was nice enough to speak with EBONY.com about her life post-prom dress, personal passions and future plans.
EBONY.com: Prom is a special event and rite of passage for teenage girls. What made you decide to make a political statement instead of taking the “traditional” glitz-and-glamour route?
Bolden-Morris: I was honestly just the model for the dress; it was all my designer, Terrence Torrence’s, idea. To convey the message, he asked if I wanted to help and, of course, I did; the purpose was never about me or how I looked. When someone loses a mother, father or child by unnecessary circumstances, it should not be overlooked. These issues should be handled.
EBONY.com: What were the reactions from some of your peers about the dress?
Bolden-Morris: For the most part, I got a lot of positive feedback. They were so supportive of me and my actions, and they acknowledged my bravery and the courage that was expressed through wearing the dress. They were also surprised that I was getting this much attention. Every time I was on a Instagram page of someone famous, they would let me know and be so excited for me. Especially when I was on the Buzzfeed Snapchat story.
EBONY.com: Although you plan to attend Boston College in the fall on a full-ride basketball scholarship, do you have any other passions you’d like to explore in college?
Bolden-Morris: I do. I aspire to be an orthopedic surgeon. All my life, I’ve been around sports, and to pursue a career that would allow me to still be involved with sports would be a dream for me. I love to help others, so I feel being a surgeon would allow me to do that and help find methods to help [patients] perform at their fullest potential with a faster recovery. I also hope to continue to inspire others and help them be courageous and strong in [their beliefs]. I believe God is using me for something bigger than me, so I pray that He continues to be with me.
EBONY.com: How has your life changed after the dress went viral? Has anyone reached out to you for any further opportunities for social change?
Bolden-Morris: My life essentially is the same, but I feel I’ve definitely used the dress to inspire others and to not only touch the lives of the families who were affected but also anyone who has been subjected to feeling unwanted. God says to love, and that love conquers over all sin. So to show that peaceful measures should be taken over violence is primarily what I want to illuminate. Only Trayvon Martin’s mother, Mrs. Sybrina Fulton, has reached out to me [so far], and that was to help her with an event in May in Miami. I hope many more people will reach out; I want to continue emphasizing love and change the world socially because these issues are so important.
EBONY.com: Do you have any plans to use your clothing to raise awareness about police brutality?
Bolden-Morris: I would love to continue to convey messages of peace through clothing, not just in the Black community, but in general. Everyone needs to express love and be loved as God loves us, so whatever I can do to help bring awareness to these issues, I’ll do. Also, whatever Terrence wants me to do, I’ll do. I’m his model, so whatever idea he has in mind, I’m willing and honored to do. He’s honestly a genius when it comes to expressing ideas and making statements through fashion.