As a makeup artist, I’ve made a career out of working with both celebrities and regular people from all walks of life. It has been my job to make these men and women look and feel their best before appearances on TV, film, and the stage. As I worked to get my clients “camera-ready,” I began to see a clear connection between who these individuals truly are and how that translated into their outer beauty.
I realized that the magical “it” factor we all search for as women had nothing to do with finding the right shade of foundation or being a size 2, and it went well beyond mere celebrity status. There was something more, and I wanted to know how to get it.
And so my journey began. I kept working on helping women look beautiful while searching even harder to find the secrets to actually being beautiful. I spent years trying to understand what made certain individuals such rare standouts. 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 I worked for, the morning-show producer caught me as I came through the door.
She wanted me to come up with a beauty-and-style segment to appear on the newscasts from time to time. And not only was I supposed to help create it, they also wanted me to host it! My dream had always been to work behind the scenes making women feel beautiful, but I realized that this new opportunity would allow me to reach thousands of women at once.
As soon as I agreed to step up to the challenge, my mind immediately raced in a million directions. I could help people learn how to become more beautiful! I was ecstatic!
Of course, I couldn’t have known it then, but this assignment would not only be the catalyst for me to achieve my lifelong dreams, but would also prove to be the beginning of a brand-new me. 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—someone who needed to feel beautiful, not just look beautiful.
Near the TV studio was MacDill Air Force Base, and many of the soldiers stationed there had just been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. The majority of those left behind were women, and the stress and worry they had to bear was unimaginable. With their husbands risking their lives fighting for our freedom, these military wives patiently survived the daily grind of working, and raising their children on their own.
I instantly knew that they were the ones I wanted to work with, and that I was going to do more than one makeover. This was a way I could show my appreciation for their unselfish “call to duty.” So 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.
As often happens when you serve another, your own spirit is lifted. I began to see beauty in a new way.
Once the makeovers were complete, the women were videotaped, and those recordings were then 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: True beauty is not what is on the outside; it’s what dwells deep within our hearts, in the essence of our beings. The only thing makeup can do is enhance that true beauty.
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.