Introducing our Okanagan Woman Spring Makeover winner!
Lee Marcotte leans back in the comfy reclining chair, feet up, head over the shampoo sink, hands gently folded in her lap. A hairdresser’s cape almost covers her head to toe. Oliver Elliott, cutting technician at Kelowna’s Untouchable In Hair salon, gently massages Aveda Beautifying Composition Oil into her long brown hair. She sits up for a moment when I offer her some Honey Lullaby Tea, a heavenly mix of chamomile and rose petals infused with the aroma of honey, provided by David’s Tea.
“My manager and friends at work said I deserve this, to take the day off and let the Okanagan Woman team do their thing,” she says with a relaxed smile, then sinks back into the chair while Oliver applies Damage Remedy shampoo.
The past year has been a difficult one for Lee, her husband Greg and their two daughters. “A good night is one without nightmares,” she says. It is now almost a year since the death of their oldest daughter, a young mom with two young children. “She was our daughter, but she was also my friend and I miss her so much.”
"But this is my day to let it go,” she says, as Oliver escorts her back to his station to begin the consultation about her choice of haircut.
“Communication is key,” says the talented and gracious veteran of 21 years at Untouchable. Together they decide on a Lob, a long bob, which Oliver explains is the 2017 cut of the year, shorter in the back than in the front.
Born in Manchester, England and raised in Burlington, Ontario, Lee, now 44, met her husband Greg at Georgian College in Owen Sound. They first visited the Okanagan in the summer of 2005. “We fell in love with this unbelievable place,” she says, “no humidity and no mosquitoes.” Their Christmas ski holiday at Big White the same year sealed the deal. Two years later they moved west with their three daughters.
Then, 10 months ago, tragedy struck with the unexpected death of the couple’s oldest daughter. She shares strategies that are helping her through this difficult time.
“I have no time for superficial relationships in my life. And no more clutter. I just
want to concentrate on being there for my husband, two remaining daughters
Lee interrupts her story when stylist and advanced colour expert Charlotte Roberts joins us. She and Oliver consult further with Lee over colour, style and the length of her bangs. Considering Lee’s warm skin tone and brown eyes Charlotte colours Lee’s base a chestnut brown, highlighted with intense gold flakes and pieces of chocolate brown.
About a half hour later, Charlotte treats Lee’s newly coloured tresses to four Davines Hair Products. From leave in conditioner and anti-humidity spray to volume boosting mousse and invisible no gas spray, for a shape forming brushable new look. Charlotte’s expert blow dry and curling technique leaves Lee with great looking hair and a huge smile.
“So far what’s been really wonderful is that this has been an amazing day, but more than that I have made new connections, received good advice, and really connected with Oliver and Charlotte.”
And with that we are off to the high-end Aldila Boutique in Mission Park Shopping Centre to find a new fabulous outfit, where store manager Karen Cooper greets us with a big friendly smile. As we walk through the store, Lee’s eyes lit up as we approach a beautifully laid table displaying freshly hand crafted chocolates by Annegret’s and a welcome bottle of bubbly.
What follows is a flurry in and out of the change room as Karen and assistant store manager Elsie Russell provide an array of outfits by Canadian designer Joseph Ribkoff.
Several champagne sips and chocolates later, Lee decides on sleek black, perfectly fitting dress pants, a slinky black tunic top and a poppy red, draped swing coat with a stylish portrait collar. What beautiful clothing said Lee, Joseph Ribkoff knows how to make a woman feel like royalty. A leather magnetic black and gold cuff is placed on Lee’s wrist, giving the outfit a little sparkle.
When it comes to picking the perfect shoe, Bonnie Schadeck, owner of Sassy Shoes, has every type of footwear to complete any outfit for any occasion. Bonnie offers a few different styles and Lee was a little spoilt for choice, but as she slips on a pair of classic black leather platform Dorking pumps by Fluchos, she knew instantly that these were her shoes to compliment her Aldila outfit.
“Classic, elegant choices,” says Elsie as we raise our glasses to Lee. “I feel so happy right now. My smile is real.”
With Lee’s outfit carefully folded in a large shopping bag, it’s off to the studio to meet up with mobile makeup artist, Tammy Peterson.
Tammy and Lee sit down together under the bright spot lights to decide on a look that will make Lee feel confident. Lee loves placing focus on her eyes, so Tammy decides on a beautiful and vibrant bronze eye look, with a lot of volumizing mascara and a lip colour to match her new red coat.
Once the makeup is finished and Charlotte from Untouchable In Hair puts the finishing touches to Lee’s new hair style, it’s time to have fun dressing up again for the photo shoot. Lee steps in front of the camera and her confidence explodes under the expert guidance of professional photographer Jenny Kamo. As Jenny gently guides Lee into poses that suit her and her outfit best, she smiles and struts her stuff with ease.
The long, but incredibly amazing day ends fittingly with a gift basket full of goodies from the Body Shop, presented by store manager, Tammy Peterson.
“I was very uncomfortable letting my wall down, stepping out of my comfort zone at first,” says Lee. “I still often experience triggers: seasonal music, smells, sounds, certain words. Life has become a process of allowing me to experience every emotion, in every form, as it arrives. But I wanted to share with others my story of surviving and living with child loss in order to help others who also have struggles."
"I had a fantastic day connecting with a special team of wonderful, professional and caring people, who I now consider to be part of my life.”
BEFORE & AFTER:
OKW says “Thank you to our most generous sponsors for the beautiful clothes, shoes, accessories, refreshments and body care”
“and a very big thank you to the talented professionals who gave their all in creating this fabulous OKW makeover day for one special lady in the Okanagan”