Memphis Teen Skyler Branch Wears Prom Dress Featuring Famous Black Women


Prom can be one of the most memorable moments of someone’s high school years—especially if your prom dress goes viral. Skyler Branch decided to take the big night one step further than most classmates and honor the women who have inspired her on a custom prom dress.

Skyler, who will be graduating this May from White Station High School in Memphis, Tennessee, used her dress to pay homage to a number of famous black women, including Michelle Obama, Aaliyah, Maya Angelou, and Halle Berry. She also decided to include members of her own family, like her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.

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“Me and my mom were in the car on my way to work and we were thinking about ideas for my prom dress. And she actually remembered that a young lady in Florida did a tribute to the police brutality victims on her prom dress last year,” Skyler tells “And so we took that idea and kind of expanded from there and added women who have inspired me in my life, and women who have done so much for me in my life.”

The original list had so many women on it that Skyler and her mother, Dayna, had to cut it down to the people with the most significance to her. “We narrowed it down by famous women who are not just known for being the first at something, but just being inspirational just as black women,” Skyler says.

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They got started on the dress in January, but Skyler didn’t get the garment in her hands until prom day. Dayna, Skyler’s mother, revealed that they had borrowed another dress in case their original wasn’t ready. The homage dress would’ve been saved for another big occasion, most likely graduation.

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Skyler says she wanted to stand out with her dress and hopes others will follow as well. “I’m hoping that people would get the idea to just be different with their prom dresses instead of all of them looking the same,” she says.

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And this is only the beginning for Skyler. She has something planned for graduation, but doesn’t want to reveal the surprise just yet. She’s currently deciding between two different colleges and hopes to study chemistry and become a veterinarian.

For Dayna, seeing Skyler in her prom dress was an emotional moment. “Seeing her come down with that dress and seeing my mom and my grandmother, to me, was just an inspiration.”

Multiple celebrities and their families have already shared their excitement over the dress. Taraji P. Henson, who was featured on the dress, liked an image of it on Twitter.

“When my mom told me that Taraji P. Henson liked my picture of my dress, I almost cried,” Skyler says. “Like, my face was so shocked. I didn’t want to believe her. I needed proof. I was really shocked by her and Toni Braxton liking my picture.”

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Dayna has also mentioned that they have received some negative attention around the dress, but she hopes that Skyler will take it all as a learning experience.

“I told her, ‘at the end of the day, before prom, no one knew your name. So, whether they’re saying your name in a negative way or a positive way, they’re saying your name,’” Dayna says. “And that’s much more than prom, and if you inspire one person, you’ve done your job.”

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