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"I left my UK high school when proms were still an exotic American tradition we only knew from Sweet Valley High books and Freddie Prinze Jr. films, so we had a Leaver's Meal instead, which was basically the same without the limos, corsages, and dates. I made my own outfit using a wedding dress pattern from one of my mom's magazines. Everything was teal, right down to my eye makeup. While I'm still proud of being able to sew in 15 individual pieces of boning into a corset top at 17, I really wish I'd known how unflattering cheap satin is!"

Gemma Cartwright