Her name was Haley, she was sixteen, and when she approached me she had tears in her eyes.
“You really deserved to win,” she said. “Your story is about surviving, kicking ass. I’m so glad they chose you.”
A few weeks ago while browsing through my blog roll or Craigslist late at night — I’m not sure — I found an ad asking for people to submit nominees for a new TV show by Stila Cosmetics that would air on their online TV channel. They were looking for people who had gone through life changes, were looking for a new beginning, and lived in the Los Angeles area. Fitting into all of those categories and figuring I had nothing to lose, I submitted 2 photos, my basic info, and a short paragraph.
I sent my email away into cyberspace, thought how cool it would be if I won, and didn’t give it another thought until I received a very special phone call a few weeks later. It was Stila — they loved my story and I, along with 2 other women, were chosen to be madeover and taped three weeks later. There are no words other than exhilaration to describe my feelings after that phone call. It was my Charlie-finds-the-golden-ticket moment, for sure.
Three weeks later, a friend accompanied me to a studio in Hollywood to begin our big adventure. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again — this was my dream come true. Growing up I spent hours upon reading as many celebrity bios and Hollywood-themed books that I could get my hands on at the local library. To find myself IN Hollywood, in the same studio that has hosted a slew of celebrities through the years, was just beyond belief. I still want to pinch myself, because I’m not quite sure how it all came to be!
We meet the various Stila employees, who were ALL tremendously gracious and kind, and were escorted to the upstairs loft of the studios to wait and to eat some very delicious lunch as another couple was being made over and taped.
The studio was a large, brick-interiored space that had plenty of gorgeous light coming through during the daytime, with a little section for makeup chairs/light, and upper loft with a kitchen/bar, and then a green room, where we spent our down time waiting. We didn’t have that much to wait, since we were slotted for 4 pm to 6 pm and the reveal party was starting at 7 pm.
When it was time for the makeovers, we sat down in the dual makeup chairs, had microphones placed on us, and had some introductory chit chat to warm up. While we were being interviewd, my friend was being madeover and I was made over by Sarah Lucero, the lead makeup artist for Stila who was hand chosen for the job by it’s founder, Jeanine Lobell.
I talked about my life, about my divorce, about the difficulties of being a single parent, and then there was a big Barbara Walters moment … I looked up at one point and saw tears in Sarah’s eyes and noticed that everyone else was crying … and then I started crying. Luckily, we were in the foundation phase of the makeover, so not much makeup was sacrificed for our tears!
It wasn’t my intention to cry, but at that moment, I finally recognized that the last few years of being married, then divorced, and then being a single parent have been ridiculously and unbelievably difficult. It was a cathartic moment, and I think my remarks ended on a positive note, making sure to mention that my entire goal is to move forward and make a good life for my son. We’ll see when the segment is out!
We were constantly taped, photographed, and when I got a look at my makeup, I was bowled over in happiness. Yes, I know my way around a makeup counter, but this lady’s work was simply amazing. She has some mad skills! Mad! My eyes have never looked more fabulous!
Our next step was to wait around the green room until it was time for hair. We went over our wardrobe choices, and chatted with the other winners. The common denominator between us is that we’re all the types of people who take care of others, and this was our time to be taken care of, which we very much were by the generous employees of Stila.
Time zipped away, and it was time for hair. I asked for my curly locks to be straightened and curled, and immediatly felt sorry for the gal who was doing my hair, as she had to wet, blow dry, flat iron, cut, and then curl my hair. I have lots of hair, FYI. It took a while. I apologized multiple times. She was super cool about it.
The end results knocked me off my feet. My hair has NEVER looked that amazing … that, with the makeup, with the dress … damn, I felt like I needed to go and kick some bootie!
The party started, and I went to find my guests and we mingled and chatted and ate a very nice dinner with some VERY nice drinks. There was a reveal, where our stories were read aloud, we posed for pics, were interviewed one last time with a friend of our choice, more mingling, lots of hugs, lots of joy, lots of super cool goodie bags. I said it a few times during the night, but who knows when I’ll ever have a night out like that again, and I made sure to enjoy every single delicious second of it. Every second!
In the end, when the makeup was washed off (at 9 am the next morning) and my hair was back in a messy bun, the memories of the evening before were still vivid, and the life lessons I brought back with me will be burned in my heart forever. It truly was a beautiful night, and I am so grateful for the opportunity.
The video should be out soon, and I will definitely post it upon receipt. Until then, I hope you’ve enjoyed this little recap of one beautiful night. It really was.
P.S. None of those photos I’m posting are official event photos, just courtesy of some of my lovely friends.