McEntyre’s orange Afrocentric-print dress featured a low cut V-neck, open cross back and trumpeting mermaid bottom. Posing gracefully in the dazzling number by McEntryre, Naughton and photographers alike were clearly impressed with the New Jersey teen’s work. Naughton specifically requested a dress reminiscent of her African roots, Pop Sugar reports. The Notorious actress also wanted to debut her hometown’s talent to the small screens, and what better opportunity than the largest Black excellence celebration of the year? The New Jersey teen told Necole Bitchie that Naughton shot her an email explaining her vision for the dress.
“Naturi and her beautiful soul welcomed me despite my experience with Fashion Designing,” McEntyre said. “She wanted to shed light on young people from her community [East Orange, New Jersey] and that she did. I enlisted a local seamstress by the name of Markell Mockabee, who brought my design to life.”
The 18-year-old first drew attention when she posted her stunning custom-made prom dress to Instagram, complete with a ravishing Afro and V-shaped headpiece. Penning a letter regarding the inspiration for her dress and messages of self-acceptance, the blossoming young designer’s gown went viral. Her story was even more gripping after she revealed that she had been bullied throughout high school for her appearance.
Since the debut of her prom dress, she said that her mailbox was never the same, but it hasn’t affected her faith nor her drive. The college-bound beauty plans to use her success to motivate other young girls to be themselves.
“People ask me all the time how does it feel, and I tell them it’s just amazing to be celebrated for just being myself. I consider myself to be an artist, fashion designer, and self-identity activist.