Ms. Jacqui’s Makeover
I was made over.
Old friends may notice a difference in appearance between my former self and my current look on social media. This is the reason why.
When my debut novel, Ms. Murphy’s Makeover, was accepted for publication I had to submit an author photo. I was advised to seek professional help. Immediately. My generous friends, Nan and Marlena, two talented and stylish writers, offered to take me in hand. I accepted gratefully. I am sadly challenged when it comes to fashion and make-up.
This is my husband’s fault, of course. He says likes me without lipstick or mascara or anything at all on my face. Lucky for me.
But this has made me complacent, or let’s face it, lazy, about my appearance. My make-up consists of a smear of lipstick I put on in the morning and forget to re-apply. When I get my hair cut I stick to the basic bob, all one length. My stylist always looks a little sad, and asks why I let it go so long between visits.
Anyway, on to the project. My friends had their work cut out for them.
The first step was eyeglasses. Mine were fairly attractive, I thought, wire framed progressive lenses. I had let the helpful receptionist for my eye doctor choose them. Eight years ago. My vision had not changed. But Nan and Marlena explained that the frames were passé.
They went with me to Lens Crafters early one morning and together we examined every possible option available for my prescription. They discussed each pair I tried on at great length, photographed me in each, and drove the sales associate crazy. We were in the store for two hours. At last I ordered the designer tortoise shell frames they’d selected. Designer frames at a designer price. I pulled out my credit card and signed.
On to wardrobe. Marlena, who is an artist as well as a writer, told me that the pastel color palette I’d preferred all my life was wrong wrong wrong. Jewel colors, she told me. Pale pinks and blues washed me out.
I went shopping with this in mind, and explained my predicament to the helpful saleswomen. They loved the idea of a project, and selected a cashmere sweater in burgundy and a blouse in teal blue. You can see my jewel-toned threads on my facebook author page, Jacqueline Goldstein Author, and on my soon to be published website.
Next came hair. My stylist, Cherry, gave me a pile of magazines to go through. Together with her assistant, Laura, we chose a layered style with flipped up ends, guaranteed to take time out of my mornings. And then Cherry gave me the best haircut I’ve ever had, layering my hair to frame my face and even flip up impishly. It was a great success, although I’d never be able to replicate it myself.
The make-up person at Cathy’s loved my haircut. When I told her that I was about to be photographed she gently patted layers of stuff on my face, making my nose look smaller and my mouth seem bigger. Suddenly I had eyebrows and eyelashes. False eyelashes. My small blue eyes became bigger and bluer behind my brand new glasses.
Finally it was time for my close-up. The photographer, Noelle Marie, chatted me up about my life and my book, posed me this way and that, smiling, serious, pensive, and mischievous. I had a great time. Being with her was like meeting a new friend.
The pictures turned out great. But then Noelle re-touched the photos, removing my wrinkles, adding whitener to my teeth and heaven knows what else. I emerged, glamorous, and cover ready.
Ironically, Ms. Murphy’s Makeover, is about a teacher who hates the way a cosmetic makeover turns out. She washes her face, and moves on to a more honest life. Unlike my character, I loved the way my makeover, and the photos, turned out. But it takes a village, a lot of time, and deep pockets to look your best. At the end of the photo session I was happy to wash my face, put on my old pastel sweater, and be just me again.