Mona Shield Payne / Special to the Sun
Tuesday, March 24, 2009 | 12:47 p.m.
Running around with freshly manicured nails, new coifs and spring makeup, 20 teens from St. Jude's Ranch took over the Seva Salon & Spa in Las Vegas on Monday for a day of beauty with Miss United States.
Miss United States 2008, Brittany Williams, said she wanted to give the girls head-to-toe makeovers and teach them about her platform of building self-esteem with her programs B.Real and B.Youtiful.
"It's all about being yourself and accentuating your own positives and the things you really enjoy about yourself, and not what society says you're supposed to be," she said. "My purpose is to say, 'Just be who you are.'"
Williams said self-esteem issues kept her from entering pageants until she was 21 years old. She said she was a tomboy growing up and felt that she had to keep her desire to compete in pageants a secret.
When she eventually decided to enter, it was to work on self-esteem and body image issues, she said. "I think it's important for me to use my title to not just say it's about being pretty, a beauty queen, but that there's a whole lot more to being a woman today," she said.
Williams approached St. Jude's Ranch, a home in Boulder City for abused, abandoned and neglected children, and Seva Salon & Spa, 8630 S. Eastern Ave., about the makeover day.
The girls were split up into groups for nails, hair, makeup and one-on-one time with Williams. Afterward, there was a photo shoot and dinner at Tropical Smoothie Café, 7291 S. Eastern Ave.
"I just like spending time with the other girls and getting to know them," said Victoria, one of the participants. "Miss United States was really cool and she's a really good role model for younger people and she's very pretty."
The girls excitedly mugged for the camera with each other and with Williams. They each got a rose after their transformation.
The sounds of the girls exchanging compliments, such as "I love your haircut" and "that nail polish is awesome," echoed down the halls of the salon.
Seva salon manager Debbie Trough said the makeover day was "just something that we can give back to the community, give back to these girls, boost their egos a little bit."
Cydney Cappello can be reached at 948-7828 or [email protected].