ICYMI, this past weekend marked the first-ever Latin American Fashion Awards, which honored Latin designers, models, and creatives revolutionizing the global fashion industry. But for Leslie Grace, the occasion was more than a celebration of artistic excellence—it was a homecoming.
The Dominican-American actress and singer co-hosted the ceremony at the Altos de Chavón Amphitheater in La Romana on the southeastern coast of the Dominican Republic, which happens to be same city in which her parents met. “It’s always a source of pride for me to represent my people wherever I go, but even more so when it is in my country,” she tells ELLE.com. “I feel the warmth and affection of my people in a special way.”
Grace kicked off the evening by singing her hit “Bachatica” alongside a lively, Dominican-inspired band, and no less show-stopping was the black sequin gown she sported on the red carpet. Created by Dominican designer Giannina Azar, the dress featured exaggerated shoulders, an open back, and a dramatic plunging neckline. “The pride I feel tonight wearing one of my favorite Dominican designers to kick off the night is unmatched,” she adds.
Grace continued to honor her roots through her accessories, pulling pieces from her mother’s jewelry archive for the special outing. “For a night so close to home, I’d wear some jewels with personal significance to me,” she said, pointing to a silver David Yurman ring that has become a fast favorite for the mother-daughter pair.
“Fashion has always been a vehicle of expression for me that in many ways has helped me discover myself more and more,” Grace says. “It makes me so proud to see the impact of our communities celebrated within the fashion world in a way that is unprecedented.”
Below, Grace invited us to tag along as she got ready for the Latin American Fashion Awards. Click through our gallery to see the photos.