Journalist Tamron Hall found it surprising to hear that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, she confessed Wednesday night at the American Heart Association’s 16th annual Go Red For Women Red Dress Collection fashion show.
“I’m embarrassed to tell you after 25 years of being a journalist, I didn’t know until last night,” Hall, who hosted the event, told the Manhattan crowd. “It is the No. 1 cause of death in new moms. I just had a baby nine months ago. I was able to go home with my son, but other women were not.”
The fashion show featured 28 stars strutting down the runway, dressed in red gowns to stand in solidarity against the deadly effects of heart disease. Paris Hilton and sister Nicky Hilton Rothschild walked to the tune of Lizzo’s “Good as Hell,” while Heather Graham jammed to Outkast’s “Hey Ya.”
Singer Meghan Trainor, whose upbeat performance hyped up the crowd, told Variety earlier in the evening that she has a personal connection to cardiovascular complications.
“My nana right now, all of her arteries were 90% clogged. She’s in the hospital now and they’re trying to help clear it out by doing some insane stent. It was days ago, before I was even asked to do this. So this means the world to me,” Trainor said.
Journalist and activist Gretchen Carlson has been similarly affected. Two years ago, she recalled, one of her best friend’s daughters went into full cardiac arrest at age 17. She survived, and now has a pacemaker.
“This is something that is near and dear to me now as a family friend and being so close to a potentially tragic situation,” Carlson said.
Carlson added that heart disease is typically thought of as a male condition, but there needs to be more research into the symptomology in women.
“I’m all about gender equity. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, and we tend to do research only on men,” said Carlson. “It turns out that women have totally different symptoms and totally different ways to eradicate it from women than with men,” she said.
American Heart Association president Bob Harrington said the organization has been actively seeking solutions and bringing awareness to highlight that this is a women’s problem, too.
“More than 15 years ago, the heart association decided to focus public awareness on what we needed to do to understand heart disease and women,” Harrington said. “And 15-plus years into the campaign, there’s a lot more awareness. But still a long way to go in terms of treatment and prevention.”
Among the stars walking down the catwalk on Wednesday was a furry guest, King the Wire Fox Terrier, the 2019 winner of the Westminster Dog Show. Before he showed off his model walk on the runway, Gail Miller Bisher, director of communications for the Westminster Kennel Club, also gave some surprising advice.
“There’s scientific research that is proven that dog ownership is good for your heart and that’s because of the physical activity involved and also because of the emotional part of that. They bring your heart rate down, help you emotionally feel calm, and all of those benefits are just incredible,” she said.
Shania Twain closed out the evening by bringing the models on stage as she sang “Man, I Feel Like a Woman,” wrapping up a celebration of female empowerment.