For many teens, prom is a rite of passage that, whether you enjoy it or not, is a night worth experiencing. For queer teens that don't fit into the typical heterosexual mold celebrated by the event, however, it can be a mixed bag. With COVID-19 resulting in the cancelation of proms across the country, the disappointment is twofold.
Now, teens have an opportunity to not only attend prom, but one that is inclusive of all gender identities and sexual orientations. UGG, together with Pacific Pride Foundation hosts a ‘PROUD Prom’ annually, welcoming LGBTQ+ and allied youth from Santa Barbara County and the coastal communities of California to celebrate inclusivity, diversity and equity. With actor and activist Tommy Dorfman announced as UGG’s Pride campaign face, comes the news that they, along with UGG will host a virtual prom on Friday, May 15 at 8pm EST supporting GLAAD. Dorfman has also enlisted his friends to also join in on the fun. This includes a glam tutorial by makeup artist Kali Kennedy, curated looks by stylist Chris Horan, a Q&A moderated by ALOK, an appearance by Shangela and performances by FLETCHER and DJ Jonjon Battles. Sounds quite a bit cooler than a typical American prom, if we're being honest.
NYLON chatted with Dorfman ahead of the event to learn more about his involvement as the face of UGG’s Pride campaign featuring an all-gender capsule collection and hear about his own experience at prom. See the invite below for more details on how to attend #UGGPRIDE Prom For All.
What does the PROUD Prom UGG experience and campaign mean to you?
Tommy Dorfman: It’s so important to have a brand as big as UGG celebrating young LGBTQ+ people and giving them a safe space to feel worthy and loved. On top of that, providing money to organizations like GLAAD that help fight for LGBTQ+ representation in the media so these kids can see themselves reflected on TV and film means so much.
What are you most looking forward to for the virtual prom on May 15? What can guests expect?
I can’t wait to see what Kali Kennedy has cooked up for us for makeup! And Chris Horan for styling. Shangela is joining us as well, which is beyond exciting, as both a fan and a friend.
Did you attend your own prom? Why or why not? What was the experience like?
I did! It felt like a rite of passage.
The experience was pretty basic. I was one of few queer people there, so I definitely didn’t feel 100% safe expressing myself, like these kids get to at PROUD Prom.
In-person Pride celebrations have had to be canceled all over the world this year. How can people still celebrate what Pride means while in quarantine?
Start by coming to the UGG ‘Prom For All’ virtual event! And find ways to have zoom parties with friends and members of the community.
How has your quarantine been going? How are you maintaining your mental health during this time?
It’s been difficult and also rewarding in different ways. Dealing with mental health issues in isolation can be a challenge, finding the right resources for help, being okay spending more time alone. I’ve been really creative during this time, doing a lot of writing and cooking and plotting for when we get out of quar! And using this time to educate myself in other areas and support organizations that need help right now, more than ever, like Ali Forney Center.
What advice do you have for young LGBTQ+ people who are struggling with self-acceptance or the acceptance of others?
We need you, so if it feels challenging now, don’t let this moment define the rest of your life. Being young is hard. Being young and queer is even harder, regardless of how accepting your parents or community are. It’s challenging to find self-love when there’s confusion and you’re living in a world that’s seemingly very binary and black and white. Be kind to yourself and take the time you need to define your gender and sexuality in a way that feels safe and right for you. Use the internet right now to connect with people. TrevorSpace is an amazing place for this.