An Intimate Makeover Experience
by Laurie McCall
Photography by Emily Scott Pack Fine Arts & Photography
Have you ever looked at a picture of yourself from a few years back and thought, “If I’d only known how good I looked…”? You’d have ditched the swim dress that you’re now convinced you need, only it’s not really long enough to cover all your “problem areas,” so you avoid the beach and torture your no-gap thighs by wearing jeans all summer long. But the truth is, in a few more years, you’re likely to catch a selfie on your Time Hop and think, “If only I’d known…” You’d have traded those jeans for shorts and now you’re stuck in a muumuu trying to hide that tummy roll, but the muumuu does nothing for your double chin or the 11s that suddenly appeared in the middle of your forehead.
Why is it that when we look in the mirror, we pick ourselves apart, focusing on every perceived flaw and sign of aging? While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be your best, get in better shape, or kick bad habits to the curb, it’s also important to love and accept yourself exactly where you are—physically, mentally, and spiritually (all of which are connected).
What if, when we looked in the mirror we saw something different? Something beautiful in the here and now? How different would we feel?
When we focus on all the negative, we forget about the allure in the fullness of our lips, the power in the sway of our hips, the beauty in these breasts that fed three babies, the strength of stretch marks like tiger stripes left behind from childbirth, the irresistible dimples in the small of our backs, and the wisdom of grey hair that shows we’ve lived a little.
This month’s makeover was all about loving your present self—from the pampering of hair and makeup, a session that included mimosas, fresh baked bread, and girl talk, to the boudoir photography session, we wanted our candidate to see a different side of herself.
The energy and heart of this team of women at Circa 1838 and Emily Scott Pack Fine Arts & Photography was focused on a single driven purpose: To show our makeover candidate how incredibly beautiful she IS. Photographer Emily Scott Pack expressed the passion behind the mission. “When I look at people, I see how beautiful they are. I know I can capture that with my camera and give it back to them, show them what I see.”
Together our dream team had to come up with the perfect candidate. We wanted the experience to be authentic. Most women, who come in for a boudoir session, have never experienced anything like that before. As you can imagine, it’s a little more intimate and revealing than most of us are with our best girlfriends, much less with women we just met. We needed someone who would agree to allow us to publish photographs from her session and someone who was willing to share her thoughts and feelings throughout the process. We wanted it to be a woman who was deserving, someone who works hard and gives back to her community.
Kim Radke, owner of Circa 1838, found our girl! “Donna is the kind of woman who will show up with the chainsaw and help you take down the tree. She just does so much for our community.”
Self-professed tomboy, Donna Patrick, age 42, is a single mom to three children. She retired from the Navy after 20 years of service. That’s two decades of camo and hair buns and hanging out with a bunch of guys. Donna says after all those years, when she left the military, she felt clueless when it came to buying clothes and fixing her hair, and forget makeup. Now she owns and operates a karaoke DJ business, and she coaches volleyball and softball for Beaufort Academy.
MEET HOLLY: Holly Glover, hair stylist for Circa 1838, says, “Hair is a vital part of a woman’s life. It’s the one thing that we can easily change.” Donna came in to the salon with solid blonde hair. Holly decided to stick with the blonde, but to break it up by adding highlights and lowlights to create texture and give her hair a more natural look. Afterwards, she blew Donna’s hair dry.
Holly’s tip for a blowout you can do at home: Get the largest round brush you can find made from ceramic and ion that holds the heat.
To complement the boudoir session, Holly went with big, sexy hair—lots of volume and lots of hairspray. She used a curling iron to create beachy waves. After allowing them to set for a few minutes, she separated the curls with her fingers.
MEET NOELLE: Self-taught makeup artist Noelle Clark shared some of her makeup tips. You always want dramatic eyes, but either you want super dramatic eyes or super dramatic lips—one is always more understated than the other, to give it balance. You go with whatever the client’s best feature is. So, if someone has gorgeous full lips, embrace the bright red. If someone’s eyes are their stronger feature, then you want to draw lots of attention to them.
When it comes to eyeshadow, if someone has dark hair, they can pull off more dramatic eyes with darker colors than someone with lighter hair who needs lighter shades. In Donna’s case, Noelle chose to emphasize her eyes, layering colors to add depth and blending to create transitions.
Then the lashes, which we all agree is a glamour must! Noelle’s lash application tip: Allow the glue to sit for around 30-60 seconds so it becomes tacky. Place a mirror flat on the counter in front of you and try applying the lashes while looking down into the mirror. Special lash tweezers are helpful, too.
I asked Noelle about contouring, and she used a few highlights to bring out Donna’s best features, but she said overall, she doesn’t want to change the structure of people’s faces. When they go to have their picture taken, she wants them to see themselves.
When Noelle finished, she handed Donna a mirror, and there was a moment, all joking aside (and there had been plenty), that everything stopped. Everyone’s heart and energy and intention of showing this woman how beautiful she is, was felt in that moment as each woman used her gifts to make it happen. Imagine receiving that kind of love from a group of women. It was powerful.
Photographer Emily Scott Pack has a studio just above Circa 1838, where she holds her indoor boudoir photography sessions. Just before each session, she smudges the space, cleansing the energy of the room by burning a combination of cedar, sweetgrass, rose petals, and sage in a small bowl.
Her studio is the perfect setting for stunning photography. The brick walls and wood floors offer texture and color. The room is perfectly illuminated with window light on all sides, and the location itself offers plenty of privacy.
When we walked in, the bed was covered in lingerie options which she and Donna had previously discussed. Donna began by trying each piece on to see which ones she wanted to wear in the shots. I’d say that’s the ice-breaker right there. Once you’ve changed into four or five different pieces of lingerie and discussed various body parts with your new BFF’s and a magazine reporter, you’re probably ready for anything.
This is where Emily’s inner artist takes over, and you don’t have to be a model because being you is enough. She tells you every pose as she’s looking through her viewfinder and making subtle adjustments to capture your beauty as she sees it. She’s like a little sugar glider moving from sofa edge to window sill, whatever will get the best angle. She keeps the energy moving and the affirmations flowing as she checks her camera and smiles, knowing she’s got it.
Emily says her favorite part of the whole process is when women come back and see their pictures for the first time, when they see that side of themselves, when they see how beautiful they are in the here and now.
Special Thanks To:
The dream team at Circa 1838, including owner Kim Radke, stylist Holly Glover, and makeup artist Noelle Clark. Discover this hidden gem, nestled in the quaint town of Port Royal. Meet the most fabulous group of women whose “soul” purpose is to make other women look and feel their best. Call 843-524-1838 to make your appointment today.
Emily Scott Pack of Emily Scott Pack Fine Arts & Photography for using her heart and talents to show ordinary women they are beautiful pieces of art. Don’t wait to lose those ten pounds. Love yourself today. Call 334-497-2802 to book your boudoir session.