Fighting to be the most ugly

Wednesday, August 6, 2003

There isn't a woman on Earth whose appearance can't be improved with a little makeup. Some women just need a touch of lipstick or a couple strokes of mascara.

Me? I need just a teensy bit more than that. My morning makeup routine takes 15 minutes, a ritual played out sitting on a weight bench in the guest room, balancing my makeup tackle box on my knees.

I've got a love-hate relationship with makeup. I absolutely hate how long it takes to apply, but I love what it does for me.

Little wonder I nearly fainted with excitement when Mom bought me a blush and lipstick when I was 15 years old. Just for church, she told me. (I'm pretty sure she believes eye makeup is what got her pregnant in high school.)

BEFORE: Heidi as she appears at Wal-Mart and the Cape police station.

Despite the initial teenage elation, cosmetics got old soon enough. I've pretty much abandoned them on weekends. A quick trip into the office? Let my co-workers suffer. A Wal-Mart shopping spree? It ain't no Miss America contest in there.

I'm the polar opposite of my sister-in-law, Jennifer, who was born wearing at least lip gloss. When she discovered Mary Kay, it was like an adoptee meeting her real mom.

Jennifer immediately saw the potential of Mary Kay cosmetics to improve my appearance, and she was right. I bought way too much stuff but have been loving it.

So when she proposed before-and-after makeover photos for a Mary Kay contest, I was in. I worked that "before" photo pretty hard -- bad hair, imagining I'd been arrested. Then I let her pile on as much makeup as she deemed necessary to win. I looked ready for my first drag show.

Of course, the contest was a Catch-22 in my mind. Win, and it means you desperately need makeup at all times. Lose, and it means you really can't be helped.

AFTER: Heidi wearing approximately 5.7 pounds of cosmetics.

My before-and-after pictures -- along with about 30 other sets -- were set out for a regional Mary Kay meeting Monday, where I first saw them and laughed uncontrollably.

I couldn't imagine losing, but I did. As I sat there surrounded by Mary Kay consultants with their perfectly lined lips and diamond achievement lapel pins, Teresa Hodges and her Mary Kay consultant, Evelyn Pikey, both of Benton, were named the grand-prize winners of a Caribbean cruise.

I'm sorry, but Teresa is not nearly as hideous without makeup as I am. And the judge did happen to be from Benton. ...

I called the area leader for Mary Kay the next day, and she said the winner was the person whose skin tone had the biggest difference with and without makeup.

You be the judge. Check out these photos. If you think there couldn't possibly be anyone who needs makeup more than I do, I urge you to call Mary Kay Inc. at 1 (800) MARY KAY.

If I get to go to the Bahamas, there's a Sunny Spice blush in it for you.

Heidi Hall is managing editor of the Southeast Missourian.

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