Volunteering: Community Beauty

by Claire Alexandra Doyle

As a child, I loved being involved in theater and dance. Each equipped with our individual skills, we would come together to create a beautiful piece of work. Some would design outfits with their own flair to it, whether that be a specific stitching pattern or adding in machine embroidery designs so they looked unique, whilst others would channel that creativeness through make-up and beauty. This artistic-minded community is one of the reasons why I sought out a career in film and television, as well as joining Local 706. Working amongst like-minded and skilled artisans to create something beautiful.

Earlier in 2017, while dropping off some dry cleaning, I noticed a flier for a public high school seeking men and women’s formal attire for donation to the San Fernando High School prom drive. This school wasn’t in my neighborhood and about 12 miles away. I asked the dry cleaner if he knew someone at the school and he said, “No, just a friend is organizing the event so I thought I’d help and put out some fliers.”

I thought, “Wow, how nice for the dry cleaners to spread the word. I don’t have any dresses to donate, but maybe I could also pay it forward and gather up some make-up and hair people to help out.” I created a posting on our Local 706 Facebook page to see who was available and interested in volunteering.

On May 20, myself and fellow make-up artists Randi Mavestrand, Cheryl Ann Nick, Janice Heaton, Lisa Ruckh, Jessica deBen Polish and hairdressers Maria Elena Pantoja and Raissa Patton set up our stations on the lunch tables in the high school cafeteria. A student performed as our DJ churning out songs to keep the mood festive and they shared snacks and even cake that the students baked in one of their classes to feed us. Had they had enough funds and resources, they may have had the opportunity to get in touch with reputable companies like Moonlight Limo and similar ones and hired a limousine service to drop them off at their destinations. This may have provided them with a night to remember by. However, owing to their circumstances, we decided and pooled together our skills as artists of our crafts and transformed the students; beautifying them for their prom. We had thought about bringing along accessories and jewelry too; a sun necklace or a cute pair of earrings that the students could wear to prom. We weren’t sure if there would be enough for everyone, so we did not pursue that idea further. But it was amazing doing hair and make-up for all of these beautiful girls.

I even learned a few new tricks from some of the makeup artists. For example, did you know that you can now use CBD oil as part of your skincare and beauty regime? In case you did not know, CBD stands for cannabidiol, a compound extracted from the cannabis plant. It is a cannabinoid, however, CBD does not contain enough THC to make you feel high.

Scientists are only just beginning to discover the benefits of CBD oil but there is research to suggest that it has a positive effect on numerous skin conditions including acne, dermatitis, and psoriasis. CBD also has an antioxidant effect, helping to protect skin cells from the potentially damaging effects of free radicals. To learn more about the potential health-boosting benefits of CBD oil, check out some of the products that have been voted the best here.

As we packed up our kits at the end of a long day, each artist was given handwritten notes of thanks from the students they worked on. Their notes were heartfelt and expressed gratitude not only for our time, but also how beautiful we made them feel and look for this special moment in their lives.

I am grateful to these artists and this union for connecting us together for this special day. To quote Maya Angelou, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”