'Say Yes to the Prom' Gets Special on TLC

TLC’s Say Yes to the Prom Dress initiative, helping deserving students enjoy an event they’ll always remember, is ready for primetime.

The network will air a special on May 20 showing how kids get to pick from donated dresses and get makeovers from Monte Durham, star of TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress. This year the initiative will also be providing tuxedos for male students.

Backed by AT&T, Say Yes to the Prom has expanded and will hold events in New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Dallas and Silver Spring, Md.

The students benefit from more than 700 dresses donated by Sherri Hill, tuxedos from Men’s Wearhouse, a wide range of stylish accessories and salon stylists from JCPenney, hair stylists from Paul Mitchell Schools, airbrush services and artists from Dinair Airbrush Makeup, hands free purses from Girly Go Garter and onsite tailoring from zTailors.

TLC and editorial partner People have teamed up to host a contest that will bring one lucky winner to Say Yes to the Prom’s Los Angeles event.

“Say Yes to the Prom began five years ago as a single event for 50 girls at Discovery’s global headquarters in Silver Spring, Md., and today we have grown to impact 300 young women and men across the country with an initiative that goes well beyond the dress – and tux – to build self-confidence and a sense of empowerment among our next generation of innovators, leaders and change makers,” said Adria Alpert Romm, chief human resources and global diversity officer at Discovery Communications, and creator of Say Yes to the Prom.

“This initiative is a truly collaborative effort – one made possible by Discovery’s purpose-driven mission, the collective generosity of our employees and talent, and the support of a growing list of highly influential partners,” she said.

The special will follow four of the students in Miami as they get selected for the program, attend the event and go to their proms. It will show TLC’s Durham and People magazine contributor Andrea Lavinthal talking about prom trends and their experience in helping girls find the dress of their dreams.

JCPenney a sponsor of the event has bought ad time in the special, which Discovery Communications says is already about 80% sold out.

The special will also feature interstitial content about some of the initiative’s sponsors.

Say Yes to the Prom will offer students in each location an opportunity to select from an array of more than 2,000 donated dresses and tuxedo rentals, as well as a wide range of accessories and shoes.

Paired with a professional mentor turned style advisor for the day, each student will be treated to custom tailoring services, full hair and makeup and one-on-one style sessions with Durham.

A red-carpet, runway reveal show will wrap up each event, giving participants the chance to stand in the spotlight and show off their new prom-ready looks. In Silver Spring, a special shopping-only day will extend the reach of the program and bring more than 150 students to the global headquarters of Discovery Communications, to select the perfect dress or tuxedo for the special occasion.

The Emma Bowen Foundation will offer qualifying participants multi-year internships within the media industry. Miami Dade College and the Montgomery College Foundation are offering educational support for participants.

“This opportunity to participate in Say Yes to the Prom is a fun and meaningful way for our company and our employees to touch the lives of students across the country,” said Tina Morefield, director, community engagement for AT&T, whose employees will help mentor the students. “We are grateful for programs like these that inspire confidence among young people, providing them the foundation to pursue their passions and find success in whatever they do.” 

Events will take place March 14 in New York, March 30 in Miami, April 13 in Los Angeles, April 18 in Dallas, and May 3 in Silver Spring.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.