Three years after losing her daughter, Charrie Hyatt looks at everyday as an opportunity to try something new.
What kind of a woman needs a makeover most? Is it the potential candidate for What Not to Wear, running around town in her PJ bottoms and dirty ponytail? The classmate who shows up at the reunion looking exactly like the day she graduated—in a big hair kind of way?
Or could it be the average woman, trying her best to look great—but putting her work and family first, rarely indulging in luxuries like a new outfit or a spa treatment?
And what if that everywoman had endured a tragedy so unfathomable, a day to recharge with a friend, to be pampered and honored for her lovely femininity and formidable strength, might be a small token toward healing?
Welcome to Okanagan Woman’s second makeover session featuring Charrie Hyatt, a Westbank woman catapulted into national news, when her 16-year old daughter, Ashlee, was stabbed to death by another teen girl at a Peachland gathering in June of 2010.
Charrie and Heather: Holding Each Other Up
I wonder how to be when I meet Charrie. After all, I have a 16-year old daughter and can’t possibly pretend to understand the depths of Charrie’s anguish. It scares me—this pain and this possibility; the truth that our children are vulnerable to the evils that befall our world and even the weight of our love is not armor enough to protect them.
Yet the first thing that strikes me when she steps into the car—a new Corolla S generously donated by Kelowna Toyota Sales Manager, Steve White—is her infectious enthusiasm, her contagious laughter.
She’s thrilled to be embarking upon this day with her dear friend, Heather Bridge.The two met when Charrie was working at a Shell gas station.
“I always came in my Suburban and we would chat,” Heather explains. “One day I pulled up in my little Jeep Cherokee and Charrie said, “What’s with this?”
“I told her I was separating from my husband,” Heather says. “Charrie immediately became a mother hen, wagging her finger in my face and telling me to come in for regular oil changes. She always looked out for me.”
Heather worked hard, establishing her own business, Borrowed and Blue Bridal Boutique in Westbank. Mother to two daughters and a son, she’s now in love and step-mom to another daughter.Charrie also has a loving partner, Brody, and two daughters, Ashlee and younger sister, Brooklyn. When she met Heather, life was good. But the night Ashlee was taken, Charrie’s world completely crumbled.
Heather was ready to hold her up through the devastating loss, ensuing media circus, and gut-wrenching trial.“Heather cries at everything,” Charrie jokes, “But she was my rock.”-
Every Woman Feels Better in a Little Something New
A new day calls for a new outfit and accessories, courtesy of Bella Clothing Boutique and partner store, Dandy Diva.
Charrie is stylish in black pants and shell, topped with a long, black cardigan, the lapel set in sparkling silver. Her outfit is comfortable and easily goes from smart casual to sexy with the addition of a lacy shell or tank top and a pair of heels.
Heather looks fabulous in black tights topped with a long, printed blouse in one of this season’s hottest colour combos: coral and animal print. With cut out shoulders and gold chains serving as straps, it’s a fun and fashionable walk on the wild side.
“I wanted to add some punches of colour to my black and grey wardrobe,” Heather says.
“I picked black because it hides things,” Charrie quips.She is particularly pleased with her butterfly and heart bracelet. “Since Ashlee was taken, I see butterflies everywhere, they follow me, swarm me,” she smiles. “See my tattoo?” Tugging her pant leg, she reveals a butterfly on her calf, the words, Fly free my angel, engraved within.
Onto Odette's, Where Skin Care is Soul Care
Odette Baumgartner knows beauty. Offering a range of esthetics including waxing, spa and laser treatments, as well as holistic health counseling, she pampers clients at her tranquil wellness clinic in Ellison Estates.
Heather is in heaven as Odette gently applies a Diamond Microderm abrasion to her face, ridding it of dead skin cells. The procedure allows products, like Lumilift cream, to be more deeply absorbed.
Meanwhile Charrie oohs and aahs as holistic practitioner, Kylie Kranabetter, performs reflexology on her feet.Both ladies are treated to body wraps, a process that sees their midsections mummified in something like Saran, encouraging essential oils and herbs to travel into fat cells and detoxify them.
The results, according to Odette, are astounding: up to three inches off the waist in as little as 45 minutes.Marketing Executive, Gemma Walsh, photographer, Josie Jaggers, and this writer, want to know where to sign up.
MAKEOVER (Winter 2013/14)
New Day Calling
Story by Shannon Linden
Photography by Josie Jaggers
At Kelowna Toyota
Kelowna Toyota donated a new Corolla S to chauffuer Charrie and Heather to each of their makeover stops.
A reflexology treatment at Odette's
Charrie receives a relexology treatment at Odette's Skin Laser Wellness Clinic
All She Wants to do is Dance
The day has flown by but Gemma knows Charrie and Heather love to laugh so she’s planned a little something that comes as a surprise to us all.
The look on the ladies’ faces when we arrive at the dance studio—fully equipped with shiny floor to ceiling poles, not unlike the kind firefighters shimmy down—is not- so-subtle shock.
Charrie laughs. “Pole dancing! Well, I did say I wanted to try something new!
”Okanagan Pole Dance owner and instructor, Erin Smith, has to laugh too—after all, she’s used to this reaction.
Lithely enveloping herself around her pole, spinning in one direction while her long, brown hair flies in the other, the rest of us stare, perplexed. We awkwardly wrap legs, clench with slippery hands, heavily hoist ourselves and clumsily fall around the thing.
Pole dancing is not what one might imagine. Sure it has a certain reputation, but it requires the strength of an athlete combined with the grace of a dancer to become a poetic expression of sexy. As such it is moving into the realm of recreation, becoming a fitness trend.
After only a few tries, Heather has the basic spin down, quickly adding the knee spin with success.
“I’m using muscles that have been extinct for a long time!” Charrie says.
“I’m getting dizzy,” Heather admits.
A dancer for seven years, Erin has been teaching pole dancing for half that long and running her business for almost a year. Talented and light-hearted, she offers lessons and group instruction for good times, like stagettes and birthdays.
A Fresh Face and Phenomenal Outlook
Though so much was taken from her, Charrie is determined not to succumb to the bitterness that would steal anymore of her life. She relishes new adventure, like this makeover day.
“People say you have to move forward,” Charrie says, “So that’s what I do. I just take Ashlee with me.
”She’s established an annual bursary in Ashlee’s name, awarded to a peer-mentor graduate at Mount Boucherie. She has a memorial garden for her daughter in her backyard. She talks to her everyday on Facebook. She posts new photos of now 14-year old Brooklyn and even old ones of Ashlee.
“Some pictures she would tell me to take down,” Charrie grins. “Mom!” she’d say. “You take the worst photos!”
“She’d worry that all her friends would see them. Little did she know all her friends would end up on my Facebook anyway.” Charrie grows serious for a moment but soon smiles. “She’d want me to keep living my life and so I do. She’d want all of us to keep living life.”
THESE BUSINESSES GRACIOUSLY DONATED PRODUCTS AND SERVICES TO MAKE THIS FABULOUS DAY FOR CHARRIE AND HEATHER