All Women's Talk

Maria ShriverWhy I do What I do. Every Now and ...

By Elke

Maria ShriverWhy I Do What I Do.

Every now and then, I sometimes stop and ponder, if what I do is really that important. Makeup and models in glossy magazines does seem very superficial and so based on image and it's twisted perception. Of course, this train of thought always seems to happen during a slow month. When the jobs aren't that frequent (like December) and my days are slower when I can breathe a bit. And my father always inevitably asks, "When are you going to get a real job?" (He's been asking me that since high school...)

But then I stop and think of how important image truly is. To yourself. Forget society and what they say and do. Who cares? Image is only important in your eyes. That's what counts. And it took a TV appearance to get me to see that.

And I'll never forget that day.

No, not a TV appearance with me. But for 20/20 or one of those shows, the one where Maria Shriver was a host. Remember way back then? This was so long ago, back when I was in college. I got asked by a prestigious hospital to do the makeup for one of their patients that was going to interviewed by Maria Shriver. And it was a big deal.

You see this patient was a women, young, married with two little boys, who had cancer and was undergoing a new type of chemotherapy that was drastic, radical, but it seemed to work. I walked into the hospital room and was greeted by this amazing women, who had simply, no hair. No eyelashes, no hair, no eyebrows. Gone. Her husband and two little boys were there as well. And I went to work.

And when I finally got done with her, she smiled and said, "Thank you. I feel so beautiful." I walked out of the room to see Maria Shriver walking down the hall, and her husband and little boys came out of the room to join me, as they started their on camera interview. Her husband, with tears in his eyes, said to me, "Thank you. That was the first time in a long time that I've seen my wife smile." And it hit me. What she said. She didn't say thank you for making her 'look' beautiful. She said thank you for making her 'feel' beautiful.

Just a few years ago, I was asked to be the special makeup artist for a very special teenager through the Make A Wish Foundation. Her wish was to be a Celebrity for the Day. And I, as her Celebrity Makeup Artist, was to accompany her to a movie premiere, a walk down the red carpet, photo shoots, a dinner in her honor and everything else a celebrity might do in one day, complete with Limo rides and autograph seekers. What an amazing day. And it took everything I had not to cry that entire day. Because that great big smile on her face, lit up the entire world. When I got back from NY just recently, I got a belated note from her mom saying that she just graduated high school. And is doing great.

She will always be my favorite celebrity.

You see out of all the famous models and celebrities I do, these two ladies are who I remember and think of almost every single day. I will never forget them.

That's when it all made sense to me. What it is I do. And how it's all connected. Image connects to how you feel. You think you look beautiful, you feel beautiful. And that's the most important thing of all. Because who really cares if you're wearing the latest denim jean, or best selling lipstick, or that you're a size 2, 6 or 8 or 22? It shouldn't matter to anyone but you. Because you live with how you feel everyday, and if my one little makeup application can make someone feel great, then, I've done my job.

That is why I do what what I do.

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