As a makeup artist, I’ve made a career out of working with both celebrities and people from all walks of life. It has been my job to help people look their best before appearances on TV, film, and the stage. As I worked to get my clients “camera-ready,” I began to notice a connection between who these individuals truly are and how that translated into their outer beauty.
I started to realize that the magical “it” factor we all search for has nothing to do with finding the right shade of foundation or being a size 2, and it went well beyond mere celebrity status. I felt that there was something more, something deeper, that beautiful people have, and I wanted to know how to get it.
And so my journey began. While I worked to help people look beautiful I searched even harder to find the secret to actually being beautiful. My hope was that if I could figure it out, I could combine that knowledge with my expertise as a stylist and makeup artist and bring this life-changing beauty to others.
One day as I arrived at the CBS station where I was working as the Head of Makeup, the morning-show producer caught me on my way in the door. She said that she wanted me to come up with beauty and style segments for the newscasts from time to time. And not only was I supposed to help create the segments, she also wanted me to host them! My dream had always been to work behind the scenes helping a few people feel beautiful and I was being offered an opportunity to get in front of the camera to reach thousands at once. I was ecstatic!
Of course, I couldn’t have known it then, but this assignment would be the answer to all of my beauty questions. Within weeks, I received my first assignment: find a woman who needed a makeover and create a segment around her. Instinctively I shied away from choosing someone who could just use a new haircut, I wanted to find a woman who needed a makeover on a much deeper level.
I started my search by heading to MacDill Air Force Base which was near the TV station. Many of the soldiers stationed there had just been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and the majority had left behind wives and families whose stress and worry was unimaginable. With their husbands risking their lives fighting for our freedom, these military wives worked to survive the daily grind of working and raising their children on their own.
Upon meeting them I knew instantly that they were the ones I wanted to work with and that I was going to do more than one makeover. Working with them was a way I could show my appreciation for their unselfish “call of duty.” Together with a team of stylists from my salon, we updated hairstyles, cosmetics, and even wardrobes. Everyone on my team worked diligently to lift the spirits of these special women.
Once the makeovers were complete, the women were videotaped, and those recordings were sent through a webcast to their husbands overseas. The entire experience was heartrending and beautiful. I cried along with them as the couples connected via cyberspace and I watched in admiration as these brave and exquisite women conveyed their love. I observed, I learned, and I understood.
What made the deepest impression on me was the realization that what makes us beautiful goes well beyond our exteriors. It is our passion and compassion, our love, laughter, tears, and sorrow, and how we combine it with a nurturing strength of spirit. Our beauty shines when we allow ourselves to revel in these qualities and share them with the world. It’s in these moments that we are all radiant and exquisite.
From that day on, I no longer defined beautiful as a hairstyle or a look. I viewed it as a woman glowing with love and living a life of purpose.