Because I'm from Mississippi and have many good friends who still live there and on the Gulf coast, Hurricane Katrina certainly hit close to home for me. Fortunately, my family lives in northern Mississippi, so they were spared the devastation and are safe and sound. However, some of my oldest and closest friends and their families weren't so lucky. Frank Conaway, my best friend from when I was growing up in Aberdeen, MS, and who's now a dentist living on the Gulf coast, lost everything, including his business: Literally the only thing left of his home was a concrete slab. The mother of another close friend also lost her home and a lifetime of family mementos, and was forced to relocate to Los Angeles. She certainly can't go back and rebuild her life as she knew it all over again—not at age 83.
Thankfully, these families are safe and their homes can eventually be rebuilt, but it's the lifetime of memories that can never be replaced that makes it all so sad.
I am sure that hundreds of my readers and fellow beauty professionals have had their lives and livelihoods devastated by this horrible disaster. My deepest sympathy goes out to each of you, and you all have my best wishes for your swift recovery.
I'm grateful that I was fortunate enough to be able to volunteer my services in helping raise money for the victims (if you're like me, the devastation is so overwhelming, you probably feel like there's little you can do to help). For example, I was asked to do the makeup for the Dixie Chicks for the "Shelter From the Storm" telethon, which raised funds and paid special tribute to relief workers in the stricken area. I also did Beyoncé's makeup for "Fashion for Relief," the star-studded fashion show Naomi Campbell organized that closed New York's Fashion Week. It's always inspiring to see celebrities give their time and talent to important causes, and this show was a great event.
But I have a very simple idea I want to share with you. During this holiday season, we usually like to acknowledge some of our clients and friends in some small way, but without getting too personal. Instead of an individual gift, why not make a donation to the Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity or some other reputable charity in their name? It's a great opportunity for us to help those in need to move on and start building new lives and new memories. Give your clients a card thanking them for their patronage and telling them a donation has been made in their name to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. I can't think of a better way to say thanks, and I'm sure you'll agree. Remember, our friends in need need our help.
I wish each and every one of you a safe and happy holiday season, with a special thought to those of you who are rebuilding a lifetime of priceless memories.