Reporter Nikki Burdine Sets Fundraising Record for Fashion For Paws

Last Saturday the who’s who of Washington headed to the National Building Museum for the 2012 Fashion For Paws runway show benefiting the Washington Humane Society. From the fashion to the music, and the venue, this years event was bigger and more glam than ever before. Now in its sixth year, Fashion for Paws blew its fundraising goal out of the water raising some $700,000 for the animals.

Though benefiting the wonderful work of the Washington Humane Society, the fashion centric event highlighted some of the prominent socialites and business women who worked tirelessly for the past few months to raise money for the organization.  WHS is the only Congressionally-chartered animal welfare agency in the United States, providing comfort and care to nearly 30,000 animals each year through its broad range of services including sheltering for homeless animals, comprehensive adoption services and other initiatives.

The venue was decked out in pastels, bright lights and even a mini pond under the runway.  Designed by Syzygy events, it screamed spring and so did the fashion.   Aba Kwawu and her team at The Aba Agency styled the models for the runway.  Local celebs took to the runway, pups in tow, showcasing spring trends from high profile designers including Betsy Johnson and Nicole Miller.
Among well-dressed crowd were a few celebrities including E! News Personality and event host Ashlan Gorse and her beau, CNN correspondent and environmental advocate Phillipe Cousteau, Redskin Tim Hightower and Marie Osmond, who adopted a puppy during the event.  Osmond named the cute pup George, after her late father.

The party continued after the runway show with a swanky dance party. VIP guests took to the dance floor in droves as DJ Seyhan took to the turntables.  The Moet & Chandon champagne and a seemingly endless tower of Georgetown Cupcakes continued to flow well into the night.

Each year there’s a friendly competition to see which male and female model can raise the most money and earn the title of Model of the Year.  After the event we caught up with TV news anchor Nikki Burdine this year’s female model of the year.  Nikki set a new fundraising record raising more than $40,000 in donations.

What’s even more impressive is that she doesn’t even live in Washington anymore! After several years of working her way up the ranks of the newsroom at WHAG she moved to Lexington, KY back in 2010 to work as a weekend anchor and reporter for WLEX.

Where did your love of animals stem from?
I grew up with animals. My family and I always had a couple of dogs and cats…and you better believe they were spoiled rotten! My family also instilled in me the importance of adopting animals and volunteering at shelters. It’s something we do as a family and are very passionate about. My partner in crime is my giant cat, Louis Vuitton. He’s a big orange and white cat and of course, he’s also a rescue.

Why did you decide to continue to volunteer after moving away?
I am so lucky Tara [de Nicholas the executive director of F4P] let me continue to be a part of it even though I’m in Kentucky. I’ve never experienced such an amazing group of volunteers who truly love animals, care about what they were doing and want to make a difference. I’m honored to be a part of f4p and can’t wait for next year!

Thoughts on this years show?
The best ever! This year topped them all! The fashion just blew me away, it was fresh and fun! The runway Syzygy put together and Aba produced was outstanding. The volunteers worked so hard and all the fundraising models poured their heart and soul into raising money for animals. I continue to be so proud to be a part of this event!

The $40,000 question. How on earth did you raise so much money?!?
I am truly blessed to have wonderful friends who care so much about animals. They appreciate what the Washington Humane Society does and want to help by giving their hard-earned money to this worthy cause. I know they understand how important the event is, and how many lives are saved with each dollar.

I started fundraising by asking friends to donate $5, ‘Skip your latte, send 5-dollars my way!’ was my motto! That snowballed into even more generous donations, my mind was blown by the generosity of people wanting to help. Ticket sales were a big help too! Each ticket I sold helped me reach my goal, and if i haven’t said it enough, THANK YOU to all who have donated!