The Women's Home on lower Westheimer looked more like an upscale beauty salon Wednesday as 56 women who are overcoming great challenges in their lives got a makeover — thanks to Jane Cosmetics CEO Lynn Tilton, who brought celebrity hairstylist Ken Paves, makeup artist Sarah Lucero and fashion expert Richard Lowe, to Houston for an Oprah-like holiday treat.
The energy in the room was off the charts as the team of stylists and beauty experts set up shop, with a whirl of makeup, hairspray and new outfits amid the giggles of glee at the transformation. The women eagerly showed off their new look and explained why such a simple gesture meant so much to them.
"What I want women to know is, remember how beautiful you feel and never let anyone treat you with less dignity than you feel at this moment."
"I've never felt more pretty in my life," said Vikki, a fiftysomething woman who has overcome battles with addiction during an 18-month stay at a transitional facility operated by The Women's Home and will graduate from the program in two weeks. "I came here from Vegas to change my life and I did. I'm not afraid anymore. I'm a survivor."
"Today was really important to just show me I am beautiful, despite all the problems in the past," said Melissa, a 40-year woman who has fought addiction and depression and reached a point where she feels like she has her life back again. "I feel pampered. It's amazing. I feel like a princess."
Confidence and Care
The Houston visit was the last stop on a four-city tour highlighting non-profits as part of Jane Cosmetics' “The Gift of Confidence and Care” holiday campaign. For every Jane beauty product purchased by Dec. 27 at participating Kohl's, Ulta Beauty, Bealls and Palais Royal stores or online, the company will donate a beauty product to more than 25 women’s charitable organizations and women’s shelters in five states.
"My theory is women need to be kinder to each other. And so I want my brands to speak to the world," Tilton said. "Our everyday strategy is to buy one, give one to a neighbor in need. And frankly our field teams were so excited about us getting out here and doing our visits. Those who scream loud enough got us into their communities. And Houston was screaming loud. You can feel the energy here."
"Today was really important to just show me I am beautiful, despite all the problems in the past."
And, she added, she has gotten a lot more back than she has given during the project. "Every one of us who have watched these transformations have really felt better about ourselves. What I want women to know is, remember how beautiful you feel and never let anyone treat you with less dignity than you feel at this moment."
As soon as Paves found out about Tilton's idea, he said, "Count me in."
"Giving back is contagious. It's contagious to me," said Paves, a favorite of Hollywood stars who also did makeovers on Oprah for nine years and continues to do them for O magazine and for contestants on The Biggest Loser. "There's a part of me that wants to feel worthy and welcome. I'm not always comfortable walking into celebrity environments or these type of things.
"We all want to feel present and confident and good in our own skin. It makes me feel worthy. I have something to give these women and that makes me feel good."
Keep the faith
Among those feeling the energy were Pamela, a 50-year-old woman whose life fell apart when her husband was struck by lightening and killed. "I have never had my makeup done before, and I feel really good in it in this outfit," she said. "To get back on my feet again, after all the loss and grief, I feel like I have the future ahead of me. I have a lot of hope. I feel good — especially today."
"This is such a lovely day," Connie, a 54-year-old woman who will soon graduate from the program, agreed. "For us to come together as sisters and be made over again this is just awesome. To all of those sick and shut in and poor, I just say keep the faith because God's got your back."