As It Happens

Writer wears Lizzo's dress to red carpet gala after an unusual request

It's not every day you get an outfit by way of a Grammy and Emmy Award-winning artist, but Aurielle Marie can check that off their bucket list.

The pop icon sent Aurielle Marie the dress she wore at the 2019 American Music Awards

Aurielle Marie wearing the dress worn by pop star Lizzo at the 2019 American Music Awards. (Hamadi Price)

It's not every day you get an outfit by way of a Grammy and Emmy Award-winning artist, but Aurielle Marie can check that off their bucket list.

The Atlanta-based poet was invited to the Out100 gala in New York run by Out Magazine, honouring 100 queer writers and publishing stars of the year. Only, there was a problem: it was a red carpet event, and Marie didn't feel like they had something suitable to wear for the occasion.

"I couldn't find anything that was red-carpet ready for a plus-size person. And unfortunately, [it] got to a spot where I was thinking about not even going any more," Marie told As It Happens host Nil Köksal.

But Marie was inspired by pop icon Lizzo not to give up.

"I said, you know what? I want to feel like Lizzo felt walking up on the stage at the Emmys to get her first Emmy Award in that amazing, beautiful dress. So it's Lizzo or bust."

Marie posted a TikTok about their situation, describing what it's like being a plus-size creator, and how watching Lizzo has helped them be audacious and put themselves out there. Marie certainly didn't expect to hear back.

"I said, well, let's just pull a Hail Mary. And if she never sees it or if she says no, then I'm in the exact same spot I'm in right now. No dress and not excited about going to get the biggest accolade of my career so far. So why not try?"

It worked. 

One of Lizzo's representatives got in touch with them, and shortly before the event, Marie found a package at their door. Inside was the dress Lizzo wore to the 2019 American Music Awards. A representative for Lizzo said the dress she wore to the Emmys was no longer in good condition.

"I've been calling it the seductive cherry," Marie said, describing the dress they received.

Lizzo performs onstage during the 2019 American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater on Nov. 24, 2019 in Los Angeles. The singer sent the dress to Marie after seeing their request on TikTok. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Feeling beautiful

Marie recorded another TikTok of opening up the package from Lizzo. It was an emotional and exciting moment for the poet.

"The screams that you hear for me are authentic, real screams, because I couldn't believe it," they said. 

Marie was able to walk down the red carpet at the Out100 event in the beautiful dress, and felt confident doing so. 

Marie was able to celebrate the night with confidence with the aid of Lizzo's dress. (Hamadi Price)

"It has gone from being something that I was worried about to something that I will remember for the rest of my life," they said.

Marie said they reached out to Lizzo because they wanted to feel beautiful at the biggest event of their writing career. Now they want others to feel inspired.

"I want all plus-size people to feel as beautiful as I felt last night," said Marie.

Produced by Brianna Gosse.


Philip Drost is a journalist with the CBC. You can reach him on Twitter @phildrost or by email at

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