A couple of months ago, Renaissance woman Mindy Klapper Trotta, fellow blogger, baker of all things scrumptious, and an editor at the web magazine “Better After 50”, threw the information out there on Facebook that she knew of a major publication that was seeking models “of a certain age” to participate in mini-makeovers. I had decided right around that time to stop dyeing my hair. The results of this decision were not as pleasing as I had hoped.
Sure, my hair required less maintenance, but I looked less like Emmylou Harris and more like Pepe LePew than I would have liked. I had decided that my hair needed a little professional help to ease the transition from bottle black to the nice silvery color that I was after. Enter Mindy. And the makeover opportunity!
Several questionnaires were filled out, lots of emails with editorial assistants were exchanged, and numerous photos were shared. I kept getting notifications that I had “made it to the next round” of the selection process. I had no idea how many “rounds” were involved. Frankly, I was afraid to ask. Finally, I got the news that I had, indeed, been chosen. I felt like I’d won a very big prize.
And, really, I had. They whitened my teeth and sent me to a very fancy salon where a magician named Kyle the Colorist transformed me from Pepe to Emmylou. According to reports, J Lo is one of their clients. As you know, my motto in life is: If it’s good enough for J Lo, it’s good enough for me!
The whitening treatment alone was worth $600 (I asked!) and just a haircut at this very swanky Madison Avenue salon would undoubtedly cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $200. I would love to return there, but I just don’t think there is any way that I could work that kind of money into my budget. If a simple haircut carries such a steep price tag, I don’t even want to know how much I would have to shell out to have Kyle the Colorist employ his very impressive foiling skills once again!
Somehow, between the cut and the color, they made going gray look (and seem!) kind of hip! Modern, even. The best part? No one tried to talk me out of doing it.They worked with me, rather than against me. That was refreshing.
The last time I had a haircut, following my decision to stay gray, every single person, including the shampooist, insisted on trying to talk me out of it. The shampooist hardly spoke any English, but through the use of pointing, eye-rolling, and other universal signs designed to communicate shock, horror, and disappointment at what he had decided was an ill-informed life choice on my part, managed to make me as emotionally uncomfortable as I was physically uncomfortable — those salon sinks always put me in mind of a guillotine! My unhappy eastern European shampoo guy called at least three “stylists” over to the sink to try to convince me to cover the gray. There was, if I remember correctly, a great deal of tsking — you don’t have to speak Romanian to understand the implications of THAT! Suffice it to say, I’ll never go back THERE again!
The whole makeover process was documented by a “behind-the-scenes” photographer. That was pretty cool. I can now say that not only did I get my hair done at the same salon frequented by J Lo, I can also discuss what it feels like to have my own personal papparazi! While Luke, the ever-present photographer, was delightful, shared my love of Irish oatmeal, and served a purpose, I can see how having a camera shoved in your face when you’re trying to do something as simple as taking a bite of a bagel can send guys like Alec Baldwin over the edge!
I loved the gal who did my make-up, too. She gave me some very good tips! Did you know, for example, that the most important tool in your cosmetic kit or, in my case, the zip-loc baggie, is a good eyelash curler? Me, neither. I also discovered that I’ve been wearing the wrong color lipstick my whole life. She also converted me to a cream blusher aficionado! She imparted this and other extremely helpful information in the kindest possible way. A gasp never left her mouth. There was no finger-wagging, no eye-rolling, and, most importantly, NO TSKING! I have half a mind to introduce her to a few Romanians I know — she could, undoubtedly, teach them a thing or three about tact.
I also learned that the most important people “on set” are the photographer and his hard-working crew. These people certainly had their hands full with me. When it was time to do my “After” pictures they asked me what type of music I like to dance to. Dance? Me? In public? I don’t think so. The idea that I might be called upon to DANCE was almost too much to bear.
Outside of the fact that they put me in a dress that I would NEVER be caught dead in, the final shoot went well. The intrepid photographer managed to get at least one usable shot out of the three-hundred pictures he snapped. And, I’m happy to report, that while I managed to do a little swaying, no actual dancing was required.
One more thing, my whole transformation is going to be in a book. Good to know that I won’t have to commit a crime to be immortalized in print!