Sheila’s daughter Dawn called me out of the blue and said, It’s My Mum, Sheila’s birthday. She is 82 years old and has Dementia . We are transitioning her to a home but not before we celebrate her birthday and that’s where you come in, I would like a tasteful yet fun makeover and photoshoot experience for Mum plus, we as a family, don’t have any nice pictures of her in her advancing years… Can you help? Well.. Of course I can I said!
I knew how special this gift was going to be for all involved, Sheila firstly and Dawn and Sheila’s Best friend of 60 years BUT I also knew that myself and our two photographers Sue and Jared who going to all have a ball, fill our cups and create some magic!
Firstly though I had to hit my husband & son up to get cracking and make some stairs “stat” to enter the studio (we are in the middle of a build and only had a ladder to date to get inside the studio!) $500 and 24 hours later my stairs were in.. Now when Sheila arrived she was able to enter safely and grandly into our new and stunning studio space. Thank you Ray and Jesse.
Next, I put a call out to Facebook for any photographers that were available on such short notice on a weekday for this experience. Within minutes Susanne Kelly (A dear friend) and Jared from Seaborn Creative put their hands up. Both budding photographers who were keen to be involved.. so just like that we had a team! “Team Sheila”… Now to let the makeover begin..
Here is a before picture of Sheila.. She was nervous, excited, unsure as to what what going on but after a few minutes of reassurance and gentle touch she settled into my makeup chair and allowed me to take over. From that point on I could see the sparkle in her eyes, she was loving it! Sheila was humming along to my swinging tunes in the background and said that her favourite crooner was Frank Sinatra and her favourite album was Swing Lovers.. Thank you Spotify, next minute, piping from the bluetooth were all her favourites from Frank and she sang all day. Our hearts sang too!
We wanted to create a regal glamour look as well as some fun and cheeky looks. Using all The Lindy Charm School hair and makeup products, our simple yet classic look was achieved!, now for the dress up part! We started with the Gold Ball Gown I had on the mannequin that Sheila eyed off immediately when she arrived. The shoes were going to be a problem as Sheila had 1 size 10 foot and 1 size 11 foot! and my shoes were size 6.. No matter, the queen of the ball flopped into her armchair with cocktail in her hand and threw the shoes to one which totally captured the essence and feeling of her mood right then! Sue had brought down with her a couple of stella kaftans and chunky jewellery so next we created a Gloria Swanson (esq) look with a turban and B&W kaftan and teal jewellery. We took this one outside as I knew the oranges, pinks, blue and yellows of my front yard would pop against this look. And the last look, Sheila was totally in her element and this is evident by the shear joy on her face.
The quote of the day for me and the moment I knew Sheila was totally immersed in this experience is when her daughter Dawn said “Mum, are you OK, do you need some water?” Sheila (in her most theatrical & commanding voice) “I’m fine Darling!, I’m Working!” we laughed and laughed and her eyes twinkled and a little smirk appeared on her face! She was there!