Brooklyn-born model Damaris Lewis graduated from LaGuardia High School and, at the age of 24, has already appeared in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue three times.
She has also been touring with Prince on his shows as a dancer since 2012. Lewis also works with the NBA on its style team on fashion shows. Damaris has always been an incredible supporter of the Garden of Dreams Foundation and is the chairwoman for the Garden of Dreams Prom.
The second annual prom will take place on April 14 at the Madison Square Garden Theater, where 100 children ages 14-18, who are facing obstacles, will come together for a magical evening of hair and makeup, dinner, dancing and surprises. And recently, she received the Garden of Dreams Hero award.
On her way to Miami for a modeling shoot, Damaris talked to us about the prom and Prince.
How did you come up with the idea to create prom?
I was sitting next to Darryl McDaniels [OF RUN-D.M.C.]at a Knicks game, and he introduced me to the children from Garden of Dreams. I asked him if we could have a party for them after their talent show. It all snowballed and then we got Macy’s to dress the kids. Garden of Dreams keeps kids inspired.
What is so special about the Garden of Dreams kids?
Seldom do you find kids who go through so much and don’t complain. These kids don’t complain and are so grateful. It’s even hard for them to say they don’t like a dress. They really appreciate everything.
How have you changed from working with these kids?
I’ve become a different person because of them. It’s incredible to see a girl in a wheelchair and see how she’s so grateful. Kids want to see familiar faces, and I don’t want to be that person who says I’ll see you later, but then doesn’t return. I will see them soon. Q
How did you inspire the kids with dance?
I’ve been dancing with Prince since 2012. Dancing for me is movement. I want all the kids to dance. It’s a way to loosen up, and dance is the most universal way to create energy.
What’s it like dancing with Prince?
It’s amazing. He is nothing short of a genius. Prince really cares about the next generation. To be mentored by someone like that is so inspiring. I learned a lot from dancing with him. He gives back so much, and it’s truly impressive.
Who was your prom date?
I went by myself. I went to every prom with my friends. I didn’t have a date. I was a big nerd
How many kids will be at prom?
There are 50 guys and 50 girls that we pair up for Prom.
What’s after prom?
We then gear up for the talent show. We had our first auditions last week with me and Darryl from Run-D.M.C. The show is in June at Radio City.
What are you up to now?
This past February, I hosted the behindthe-scenes coverage for the NBA Fashion Show. I’ve been modeling a lot, and I have a swimwear campaign coming out soon. But my priority right now is the organization’s prom and the talent show.