By Courtney McEwen
(Photos by Mouton’s Salon & Hello, Gorgeous!)
It was an ordinary day at the salon when I perched myself at my hair designer’s beautification station with a messy head of humidity hair. A small postcard attached to the mirror offered a sweet greeting, “Hello, Gorgeous!” Those two simple words echoed through my harried day, what a thoughtful and delightful touch. Upon further research, I discovered the message was more than a confidence booster for salon patrons but a non-profit organization that’s touching numerous lives by providing red carpet, full spa, ambush-style makeovers for women battling cancer.
Many have described the disease as a roller coaster. Good days and bad days create ups and downs, making it difficult to detect any sense normalcy. Dealing with diagnosis and treatment becomes all-consuming, a process that affects emotions, daily outlook and, with changes in the body, self-confidence.
Hello, Gorgeous! was created by Micheal and Kim Becker. With over two decades of experience in the beauty industry, their mission has always been to restore what cancer steals and help women smile at their reflection again.
Bruce and Teresa McGaha, owners and operators of Mouton’s Salon in Grapevine, were first introduced to the program at an industry conference last January. During a seminar, Hello, Gorgeous! was shared by a San Diego affiliate salon and Bruce said he was immediately captivated. With a father as a cancer survivor, McGaha says, “We’ve all been touched by cancer in one way or another. From the salon’s perspective, we’re usually on the entrance phase of a client’s treatment and dealing with the side effect of hair loss. We’ve never been on the exit phase, after treatment,” says McGaha. He still recalls the day he shaved his own head as a sign of support before he did the same for his father.
Eager to be involved, he reached out to Hello, Gorgeous! and inquired about becoming a salon affiliate. Each salon certified in the program is asked to perform 12 experiences in a 12-month period. The organization’s goal is to certify two or more top salons in each city of the United States and makeover more than 400,000 courageous women with cancer each year. After completing the application and approval process, Mouton’s Salon proudly became the first and only certified Texas Hello, Gorgeous! salon affiliate.
Since beginning in June, September marks the fourth red-carpet experience for Mouton’s. McGaha feels the magnitude of each and every makeover, “This is something these recipients would never do for themselves but they enjoy it immensely.” Their message is always, “Today is your day and we’re here for you.”
When presented with the opportunity, the response of salon staff was an enthusiastic one. People were eager to volunteer their time and talents. As beauty specialists, they touch people in ways no other professional can and say it’s a tremendous pleasure to help. “After each makeover, our hearts are so full. Both physically and emotionally, it’s the ultimate way we can give back to these amazing women,” says McGaha.
Each experience begins with a nomination by family and friends. If selected, the recipient is escorted to Mouton’s and surprised with flowers, chocolates and a heartfelt greeting, “Hello Gorgeous!” She is whisked away to be pampered with spa services such as a manicure, pedicure and facial, as well as instruction in new makeup application and hair care (or hair substitution) methods advantageous to her individual issues. Dressed to the nines in a new outfit of her choosing, the makeover is complete.
Before departing, her beauty team makes certain the gorgeous woman understands how to reproduce her new look on her own. She is gifted a supply of the cosmetics, skincare and nail products used to complete her services that day. All done at no cost to her because of selfless donors and sponsors.
Breathtaking, she is ready for the big reveal. Nearby, a gathering of friends and family are waiting to help her celebrate her new look. This sometimes is a private, intimate affair but can also be a crowd of 10,000 spectators at a sporting event on center court! This part of the process is always touching and has become a positive anchor to the gorgeous women. Some recipients say it’s the most important aspect of the whole experience.
As a woman, how you feel on the inside reflects how you face the world on the outside. Cancer steals so much and Hello, Gorgeous! is working diligently to prevent it from stealing the beauty women inherently have inside. Many times, the results of these makeovers are not only physical but mental as well. It helps her appear less affected by her treatments, strengthens her confidence, empowers her to feel more acceptable to the public eye, and most importantly, more acceptable to herself. One special day like this can create extraordinary light in the darkness and remind women they’re far more precious than rubies.
My mind still travels back to that ordinary day in the salon where one greeting spoke volumes in my day. I try to imagine the woman who is taking her place in the very same chair. Perhaps she’s a grandmother, enjoying the fullness of life with grandchildren filling her home. Maybe she’s a single mother with three smiling faces completely dependent upon her well-being. These women and the significance of the situations they face still humble me, offering a very real dose of perspective, and driving me forward to find ways I, too, can give back.
McGaha says it best by proclaiming with absolute certainty, “It’s, by far, the best thing we’ve ever done.”
Each month, more and more people are blessed by the outreach and love of this program. Utilizing community relationships, Bruce and Teresa McGaha are truly grateful to EatZi’s in Grapevine for providing each recipient with flowers and chocolates. Fashion styles are provided by Machelle’s Boutique in Colleyville and Winewood Grill in Grapevine for wonderful dining experiences during the reveals. They are truly humbled by the outpouring of support and the community’s enthusiastic desire to give back.
Hello Gorgeous! is supported by public donations, sponsorships, and fundraising efforts. To see how you can be involved in bringing these services to more wives, mothers, sisters and daughters that are bravely battling cancer in your area, please call Mouton’s Salon at 817-416-2075. You can also read more about the organization at hellogorgeous.org.