Audrey Staff Makover: Pluck and Pizzaz

I’d like to make the record clear: I have never had a make-over done. No parent, friend, stranger or significant other has drastically altered my ‘look’ since I eschewed mother’s haircuts for the $8 Vietnamese-run barbershop by the mall. Besides the terrible conclusion that I am solely responsible for all this, never having had a make-over has apparently affected me in ways I am just beginning to understand.

Perhaps you too have never been made over. For some, this is a matter of guilt. I understand. I’ve paid for two massages in my lifetime–once in China, once in Vegas–and both times, regardless how much I spent, I always felt undeserving of the attention lavished upon my sometimes naked bum and rest of body. For others, avoiding the make over is due to you being A Man and this being Not Socially Accepted Yet. I sympathize with you, as I am the same way.

Samantha Llanos gets the whole undeserving-feely thing. She was chosen along with two other girls for an LA weekend make-over, courtesy of super-stylist Chriselle. Full disclosure: Chriselle is working with Audrey Magazine on a number of things including our next cover shoot, but to this day has not offered me a make-over.

Left to right: Samantha Llanos, Sara Warren and Alexandra Becker, post-make-over.
Last weekend Llanos was plucked from her home in the barren northern-Celtic lands of Boston, Mass., and flown to Los Angeles where she met fellow make-over recipients Alexandra Becker and Sara Warren. The three then went on a two-day tour of sustained attention-receiving, from having their locks combed and pampered by Ree of the Angus M Salon, to makeup by YouTube makeup phenom and Lancome video makeup artist Michelle Phan, personal styling by Chriselle, plus a photoshoot by photographer Karla Ticas to top it off.

Michelle Phan laying a foundation on make-over recipient Sara Warren
“I was just really happy,” reflected Llanos when I caught up with her this week. “I don’t remember being excited about anything, vaguely happy about anything for such a long time now.”

Stylist Chriselle stringing a necklace on Samantha Llanos.

Llanos for the past year and a half has been dealing with the death of a boyfriend. During that time, she describes her life as occupied by just the bare minimum: going through the motions, not doing much else. Now, for the first time in a long while, she’s excited for something like shopping for new clothes. When I spoke with her a work week later, she remained optimistic.

“Seeing the team and seeing [Chriselle and Michelle], I don’t think I’ve ever seen people who were working, and loving what they did so much it didn’t seem like working. It changed my perspective of life in general.”

The make-over couldn’t have hurt either. Note to Chriselle: I think I’m due for mine.