I've had the pleasure of observing many talented makeup artists at work. One of them, who honed her craft by practicing on drag queens, created jaw-dropping effects with contouring and highlights. Spend an hour in her chair and you'll emerge looking like a Photoshopped version of yourself: sharpened cheekbones, Bambi-big eyes. "I wish I really looked like this," people say when they see themselves in the mirror post-makeup application — to which she responds that they do look like this. A makeup artist draws out features that are already there.
A makeover, too, can reveal facets that are overshadowed in day-to-day life. Here, an athlete trades her bike shorts for flirty cigarette pants. A new mom creates a professional look fitting her new career as a doula. A college student tries out a Hollywood-glam alter ego.
These women were selected as winners of the CUE makeover contest, sponsored by The Shops at Canal Place, and received hair and makeup styling from Paris Parker Salon and Spa, but you needn't have a team of experts at the ready to effect your own transformation (though it doesn't hurt). All you really need to do is find out if there's another woman living inside you, and if you'd like to try being her for a day, or two, or three. Then ask her what she'd like to wear. — MISSY WILKINSON
Slideshow: Face Reality
I am nominating my wife, Casey O'Keefe, for a fashion makeover. She is an incredible natural beauty, but since our daughter was born a year ago, she really has not had the opportunity to get out and look for new clothes or even shop with friends. I love my wife, and I think she is the most beautiful woman in the world. Getting a CUE fashion makeover would be good for her.
Casey O'Keefe has experienced several major life changes over the past couple years: giving birth to a daughter and embarking on a new career as a doula. "I did not have a doula, and I realized what a doula brings to the delivery room." O'Keefe said. "In 2012, I did training and attended my first birth, and I'm really passionate about it."
As she balances her new career with the demands of motherhood, O'Keefe requires a wardrobe that's down-to-earth yet professional. "I want clients to feel comfortable with me — I'm going to be there for this huge moment in their lives," she said. "I want to look approachable, not cold or sterile."
Fabs Jackson, a personal shopper and stylist at Anthropologie, picked out a look that was equal parts comfy and stylish. Lucia Galindo gave O'Keefe a low-maintenance hair and makeup look that O'Keefe could easily do at home. "It's a quick look that will bring out her eyes," Galindo said.
O'Keefe says she's happy to present a pulled-together appearance to her clients, not only for her sake, but to show there's personal life after becoming a mom.
"(This makeover) shows there's a light at the end of the tunnel," she says. "Even when you're in the thick of getting spit up on and sleepless nights, you'll be able to take time for yourself after a few months. It's good to give yourself downtime to get to know your own child, but also not to forget who you are."How to get Casey's low-maintenance look
*Subtle caramel, chocolate and honey highlights add dimension and texture to hair, but won't leave obvious roots as they grow out.
*Blow dry hair with a round brush, then use a 1-inch curling iron to curl soft pieces around the face.
*Use three shades of earth tones (Galindo used light and dark browns) for a simple eye makeup look).
*Consider consulting a stylist to create a hair and makeup plan that will save you time in the long run.
I would definitely love to win a makeover because even at age 57, I still don't know what hair style would look best on me, nor how to properly 'put on my face.' I have always felt more comfortable in Lycra cycling garb than dressing for success, professionally, or otherwise. Help needed!
Joann Seaver said she never wears makeup. "I've been a physical therapist for almost 34 years and am very into athletics," she said. "When I'm at work, I'm all over the clinic, kneeling and lying on the floor." Because of these factors, clothes, hair and makeup aren't among her priorities.
But with a friend in town and plans to attend a show at Cafe Istanbul, she wanted to look special. "I'd like to look glamorous and sassy-chic for a night on the town," Seaver said. "I want to strut my stuff a little bit."
Makeup artist Amber Henderson gave Seaver a simple smoky eye ("Simple meaning I only used one color: silver," Henderson said) and finished the look with light blush and a nude lip. Kelly Shields gave Seaver a cut with shorter layers, styling it with a round brush to give it movement. "She was feeling blah with it, so we spiced it up to give it more volume," Shields said. Jonathan Lamb added caramel highlights to Seaver's dark tresses.
Then it was off to White House Black Market, where stylist Elizabeth Woods fitted Seaver in chic, ankle-length black pants. A strapless black-and-white top showed off Seaver's shoulders, and a necklace added a hint of sparkle. The versatile look also included a jacket, which Seaver could wear to transform the ensemble into a workplace-ready look.
"I'd never do this," Seaver said as Henderson applied black eyeliner. However, the final look was just what she'd hoped for. "I'm ready to party!" Seaver said.
*Apply a dark gray shadow from the bottom lashline to slightly above the crease.How to get Joann's smoky eye
*Blend the color with a brush to soften it.
*Apply black eyeliner, smudge it out a little bit.
*Finish the look with mascara.
Attending university, working and struggling to pay rent in my wonderful hometown definitely takes a toll on a 19-year-old. I'm in dire need of a makeover because I don't get out often enough to change my hair color or buy nicer clothes that fit me. I never have explored the world of makeup.
Marilyn Monroe is one of my many role models (for her) attitude, determination and obviously, beauty! Her red lips and engaging style have caught my eye, but apparently not my wallet. It would be a great dream come true to model and represent hard-working women one day, just like Marilyn did.
The objective for Davillier's makeover: Turn this overworked student into a super-glam starlet. It started with a trip to Saks Fifth Avenue, where director of marketing Steven Putt and I picked out dresses, bangles and purses befitting "a modern-day Marilyn," Putt said.
Hairstylist and makeup artist Kevin Starr gave Davillier siren-red, Hollywood-glam hair and lips. "It's very Jessica Rabbit turned human," he said. "Her cut accentuates her layers, to give her an old-school feel. She walked in with blonde hair and left with intense red hair. All of it goes together to equal the look we are going for, and how powerful it is to change."
Davillier was thrilled with her new look and her experience being photographed, which led her to contemplate a modeling career. "People have told me, 'You should be a model,' but I never got that opportunity," she said. "This was the greatest day ever."
*Figure out if cool or warm reds look better on you. (If you wear mostly gold jewelry, you're a warm tone; if you look better in silver jewelry, you're a cool tone.)How to get Kailyn's red lips
*Keep the rest of your makeup nude.
*Apply lipstick with a lip brush for added precision.
*Use lip liner to keep lipstick in place.
Store InformationAll stores are located at The Shops at Canal Place (333 Canal St., 504-522-9200; www.theshopsatcanalplace.com) Anthropologie (504-592-9972; www.anthropologie.com) Saks Fifth Avenue (504-524-2200; www.saksfifthavenue.com) White House | Black Market (504-299-8044; www.whitehouseblackmarket.com)
Special thanks to Carla Adams and the entire team at The Shops at Canal Place for sponsoring the CUE Fashion Makeovers. Thanks also to Marguerite DeAngel and Terri Lamonte at the Westin New Orleans (100 Iberville St., 504-566-7006; www.westinneworleanscanalplace.com) for hosting the photo shoot.