When Tonya Chervin walked into the YWCA lobby after her makeover Tuesday, she was surrounded by admirers.
Friends and ‘Y’ staff members hugged her, took pictures and told her she looked wonderful, amazing, beautiful.
She beamed, unsure how to react to all of the attention.
Chervin, who receives assistance from the YWCA, is looking to get back into the workforce. A hairstylist and a makeup artist offered the free makeover to give her a boost on her way to that goal.
The YWCA, which primarily serves low-income individuals, offers a variety of services, including housing for homeless and very low-income women, a domestic violence shelter, counseling, education programs and employment services.
A second woman was scheduled to get a makeover Tuesday, but she was sick, so Chervin received exclusive attention from hairstylist Leo Crews of Albany and makeup artist Krystal Salisbury, owner of Krystal Rose Studio in East Greenbush.
Crews, who offers a come-to-you hairstyling service, has done work for MTV, Project Runway, America’s Next Top Model and the “Rachael Ray Show.” He said he is always looking for ways to use his skills as a means to give back to the community.
Chervin said she hopes her new look will give her more self-esteem. A homemaker for many years, she said she’d like to get a job as a companion to the elderly or working with disabled children.
‘Y’ turns salon
A week ago, Chervin visited La Moda Lisa consignment and antique boutique in Glenville, where owner Lisa Durand donated clothing to complete her new look.
Monday morning, Crews trimmed and colored Chervin’s straight hair, transforming her home-dyed burgundy color into a sophisticated mix of burgundy, brown and bluish-black.
The YWCA’s locker room took on the air of a salon Tuesday morning, as Salisbury spread out her makeup and supplies on a counter and Crews played music on his portable stereo.
Salisbury, who has her own cosmetic line, highlighted Chervin’s eyes with false eyelashes and green eye shadow.
“Use greens and purples to bring out your green eyes,” she suggested, adding, “She has flecks of gold in her eyes so some gold to bring that out would be good.”
Salisbury recommended plum- and berry-colored lipsticks to bring out Chervin’s hair color. She applied a shiny coat of Plum Royale to her lips.
“Oh, it’s bright!” Chervin exclaimed, taking in her reflection, visibly pleased.
Crews sat her down in front of a full-length mirror and got to work with a flat iron and one- and two-inch curling irons. The different sizes create variety in the curls, while the flat iron smooths the hair and creates body, he explained.
“I’m doing what I call a ‘confusion curl’ — a curl mixed with a wave pattern,” he said.
Crews suggested Chervin use a sulfate-free shampoo to help preserve her new hair color. He said she should shampoo only once a week and use only conditioner on the other days.
After about a half-hour of work, he gave her hair a final spray and finger-combed the new curls.
“I love it,” Chervin said, smiling at her reflection.
Next: Prom project
Crews, Durand and Salisbury have decided to continue to work as a team on philanthropic endeavors. Their next joint effort will be a dress and makeover giveaway for the prom. In order to win, girls must write an essay or create a video that details what good deed they will do for the community if they win the prize.
Essays and videos, which are due by March 31, can be sent to Lisa Durand at email@example.com.
Reach Gazette reporter Kelly de la Rocha at 395-3040 or firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @KellydelaRocha.