At age 18, my mom hosted a Mary Kay home party and begged me to sit in the chair of a "no-show". For the first time in my life I experienced a visual transformation that I created by myself. Instantly I became a believer in cosmetics and the self-esteem "lift" that emerged from my new image.
That summer, I became a Mary Kay rep and quickly honed my skills as a make-up artist while going to Cal State Northridge. My new look and lanky physique launched a modeling career that took me from California to New York and eventually Europe. As a working model, I learned more about magical transformation from some of the globe's top make-up artist and hairstylist. Instead of stripping off my makeup before leaving the photographers' studios, I went home and studied what the artists designed and taught myself to recreate the looks I modeled.
At 30, I returned to the States and opened my first tiny facial studio inspired by the salons I admired in Italy, France and Germany. For the next three decades I shared my experiences with clients from all over the country that passed through Sacramento at one of my 5 salons.
By the time I was 35, I had birthed my beautiful two sons but suddenly became a single parent while juggling 2 salons and 60 employees. Life began to spin out of control. In order to care for the boys and keep up with business I justified most of our meals at drive-thrus and restaurants. Sleep was a luxury but I only averaged 4 to 5 hours a night. My only social contacts were my day care providers. By the time I was 43 I was nearly 200 pounds, seldom wore make-up and sported super short bleached blond hair. Even though I was a beauty expert, my own mirror image was a disaster. My epiphany was the day I couldn't squeeze into size 16 jeans. (I was formerly a size 4). For the next year I re-disciplined myself to make better choices and gave myself permission to "exist". The result of my positive changes launched a series of events and opportunities that included two books, an Emmy-nominated PBS television special and appearances on America's Store and Home Shopping Network.
The greatest benefit was that I became a better Mom and boss. I rechanneled my energy from chaos and confusion to peaceful organization. I handled life better and had more time to be with my boys.
For the last 10 years I have shared my story and techniques with hundreds of women and men who have all experienced the same benefit: "Taking time for oneself is not selfish but is self-respecting and energizing". My message is, "caring for yourself including your appearance will speak volumes about you and will inspire those around you. If you are a Mom or a Dad, think about what you will be role-modeling to your children."
My goals for the next decade are to continue to share all that I've learned to help you feel better about yourself. If you don't live in Southern California and you would like my help, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Virtual makeovers are always a possibility as long as you send me several photos of yourself. It's never too late to begin your transformation.
~ Laura DuPriest