01/07/2013 10:06AM ● Published by Nancy Babin
I consider myself the least girly-girl I know. I mean, I started playing soccer when I was two, nearly four decades ago, and I have seven brothers – yes, seven! Among the brothers I am sandwiched between two sisters, but compared to them, I always felt like the ugly, misfit duckling. I played and hung out more with the brothers closest to my age than with my sisters. To keep up with them, I made sure I could run faster, climb higher, throw straighter and spit farther than any of them. Otherwise, I would have grown up feeling more isolated than I did to begin with.
My older sister was born glamorous. She sits on a high pedestal - the oldest female of a large family – and was just born motherly, nurturing and beautiful. She has the voice of an angel and a head of golden hair to match. She has long graceful fingers that can reach two whole octaves over the piano keyboard compared to my short, stubby, veiny ones. My younger sister was pronounced a princess before she was even out of our mother’s womb. There are nine years separating us so by the time we were old enough to relate to one another, I was headed off to college. She grew up as the only girl living at home amongst four boys – she was definitely the princess, fully establishing and asserting her “girliness” loud and clear!
It’s not that I never had an interest in girl things – I did, certainly. I sat through the Mary Kay classes and occasionally flipped through fashion magazines so I was aware of the proper make-up techniques and tricks for fuller lashes, whiter teeth and shinier hair. I just never felt I cared about them as much as the other girls. I didn’t start voluntarily wearing pink until about four years ago, when I became pregnant with a little girl of my own and the extra estrogen took over, pulling me towards the more feminine things.
Sometimes however, life has a funny way of turning its tides on you – in an instant and shaking you out of your comfort zone, just to land you in a sweeter spot than you ever imagined possible. That’s what happened a few months back when I got a phone call from a dear friend who said she recommended me as a makeover model. Come again? A makeover WHAT? Thank goodness she knows me well enough to say, “When the salon owner calls, PLEASE answer and say ‘yes’ – please! You will have so much fun and you will love it, I promise.” I had my doubts, but because I love her and have known her for so long, I made the promise and carried through with it. In addition, I convinced myself, who wouldn’t want a free haircut after all!
When Adrianne Brackett, one of the co-owners of the boutique hair salon Pure & Couture (www.pureandcoutoure.com) called me, she explained how I had been recommended by my friends, said they would like to give me a “FREE” haircut, color and style, and that I had a chance to win money for the charity organization of my choice if I agreed to be their model for this “huge” event in November. I quickly did the math and had to confide in her that I was pregnant with my fifth child and that my husband and I had not announced it yet, but by November I would be very visible. Her sweet words and encouragement spoke volumes and told me she completely understood as she was only a week or two from delivering herself, and so was her business partner, Wendy Griffin. I asked more about the money for the charity and then finally agreed that if the event and time needed to prepare for it did not interfere with soccer, church, or my husband’s work, I would do it. (After all, who doesn’t want a free haircut!)
It wasn’t until after I agreed that I realized the full scale of the Emerald Coast Top Salon Event. This is not just a “who had the better haircut” thing – this was a prestigious and coveted prize for the salon owners and stylists. There was a facial, Botox for those who wanted it donated by Dr. Steven Clark’s office, full-scale catwalk training from the famous talent agent and Top Model trainer Marsha Doll, “before” pictures, six weeks of Jenny Craig (again for those who wanted it), shopping, limo rides, fittings and months of planning that went into what I thought was simply a “free haircut!” Not to mention the “Big Reveal” event hosted by Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort where we, the models, had to actually walk the catwalk and strut our stuff for all in attendance, including the “paparazzi” planted at the end of the runway flashing pictures every few seconds! Holy cow, just what did I get myself into? was all I could think of leading up to the event. This was followed by is it too late to back out? What if I trip? I don’t even own heels! And , this is so much more than a free haircut, you ding-dong!
Yet, as hesitant and downright frightened as I was, I fell in love with my stylists. They are just great people – genuine, loving, caring and giving. They live to make others look and feel their absolute best! What an honorable way to make a living. Think about it - someone else takes ownership and personal responsibility for a body part attached to you! The passion and excitement from my team was similar to what I feel every time I go see my doctor and get a baby checkup. There is true concern for your well-being – body and soul, inside and outward appearance. This was evident with the model chosen by Avant Garde Salon and Spa who lost her battle with breast cancer and passed away just a couple of weeks before the final reveal. The tribute to Ms. Annette Riley was moving in a way I had never witnessed before. A bond stronger than that of Rapunzel’s mighty bounds the stylists to their clients. It stands the test of time as well as sickness. There is a mutual love exchanged over the condition and upkeep of your hair, your mind, your body, your spirit and even your family as the relationship is cultivated with each continued visit.
For the first time in my life I understood why my “glamorous” friends and sisters love getting their hair done and are willing to spend an hour or more in the salon chair and spend what I considered crazy money on it. I was the twice-a-year trim girl – always wearing ponytails and either flip-flops or sneakers. To me, it was “just hair” – an afterthought. But the transformation that took place right before my eyes is supernatural. It’s exactly like Beauty and The Beast when Belle’s eyes are opened and the Beast is transformed right before her very eyes. I mean, at one point during my makeover I had two men, one on either side of me, blowing out my hair; the brilliant color specialist Jonathan Doria as well as Loyd Carlyle who jumped in to help when time was running out; the super-talented make-up artist to stars like Kenny Chesney, Deana Kale, delicately applying make-up; and Adrianne wiping my legs and arms with a shimmering body lotion. That kind of attention makes you feel cherished, important, special – like a total princess!
It is 2013, and “13” has always been associated with something bad or horrifying. Why not make 2013 something magical? Find your inner self, open yourself to a qualified stylist or an entire team of experts like the ones who chose to pamper me, and unleash your hidden __________ (fill in the blank here with what you desire: perhaps a hidden sexpot, diva, intellect, sophisticate, polished professional, whatever!) Go for it! Welcome change and embrace yourself! It is transformational to the core and I am proof – the once awkward duckling is now the sexy, hot, confident soccer mom and proud of it! Many thanks to my talented Pure & Couture team and dear friends who thought of me for the honor of a “free haircut”!