Day of Beauty: Fixing Crowns in Houston

In the wake of hurricane Harvey and Irma, things are slowly coming together. Many residents are returning home, assessing damages and pulling together resources to bring normalcy back to their lives. Fortunately, many have returned home with minimal loss. However, there are a number of men, women and children who are still in shelters, hotels, or residing with family members. Their homes are being gutted with irreparable damage to walls and floors. This does not even account for the lives lost, injuries, or unnerving memories of being rescued by helicopters or boats. The last few weeks have been quite cataclysmic.

A remarkable thing about the human race is the capacity to adapt, survive, and thrive. Once again, we have come together as a nation to begin the journey of recovery. One described the climate in Houston as a “Sunflower blooming,” as communities have come together. FEMA, Red Cross, philanthropists, and organizations alike have ensured that basic needs are meet with food, clothing and shelter. In addition donations far and wide have contributed school supplies, toiletries and other everyday essentials. There is also the need for mental and emotional support due to overwhelming stress and anxiety. Closely related is yet one more thing that women especially find to be a basic necessity to maintain sanity. That would be the ability to keep up our physical appearance. On Sunday September 10th, Crown Salon and Mielle Organics rose to the occasion and did something that needed to be done. That’s right—Makeovers!

They called it a "Day of Beauty.” Imagine the atmosphere. All participants were initially checked into the hotel with all-expenses paid. The day began with breakfast and mimosas by Hell’s Kitchen Chef, Nedra Harris. Like clockwork, each woman in turn met with a stylist, artist or esthetician at their appointment time. Over 50 women were treated to hair styling, facials, eye brow threading, and a full-face of makeup. Each participant received gift bags filled with hair products, lipsticks, body scrub, coupons and more. Then there was dancing. After gospel music brought down some tears, Beyoncé tracks quickly uplifted spirits with dancing, laughter and enjoyment.

Only an organized and well managed team can pull off such an operation. The beauty team consisted of 3 hair stylist, 3 shampoo techs, a makeup artist, and an esthetician. Appointments were made in advance for the services. Participants were handpicked and referred by the NRG shelter. Several participants were teachers who were expected to return to work but didn’t know how they were going to manage their hair. Remember, they lost everything besides the shirts on their backs. The Day of Beauty was indeed a success and the response has been phenomenal. One woman sent an organizer a thank you text saying, “I almost forgot I am homeless.” Women have even come back to offer their gratitude.

Head Stylist Vonda Kennedy reflects:

Real Queens fix each other’s crowns. That’s not just your outer beauty but your inner beauty. We must understand that beauty starts in the inside and then comes outward. Once the storm hit [and seeing] the way they looked…we wanted to turn it around by making them feel better by what they see in the mirror. Then they would bring it inward. We wanted to make them feel better, everyone was giving them clothes and assisting them, which is great. We liked to give them something more. We know how it feels once you get a facial and your makeup is done and your hair is done. I noticed they lost not only tangible things but they also lost a 'good feeling' on a day to day basis. That’s why this was awesome.

Vonda Kennedy now challenges other salons in hurricane affected areas to model after their event and bring beauty back to the communities. #Beautymatters

Crown Salon was voted best salon in Houston and is owned by Kris and BJ Lafell of the Cincinnati Bengals.

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