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A little while back Belle by Joelle, Boho and Braids and  I were approached by Ego Studio to offer a makeover experience. They ran a nomination initiative through their social media and Monique was chosen over approximately 90 other nominations. She won a package valued at over $1500 which included hair design by Ego,  a makeup application by Belle by Joelle, a fashion consultation and some new wardrobe from Boho and Braids and a photoshoot with myself. Sarah from Boho and Braids and myself met with Monique a week or so before the photoshoot to go over all the details and just let her know what to expect. Turns our Monique had been nominated by more than one person which she was extremely humbled by.

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When she came through the door at the studio, I could tell she was a little nervous… She explained that she wasn’t the type that liked this kind of attention but was honoured to be nominated. Let’s face it, having a fashion consultation and getting a full photoshoot done would be nerve racking for just about all of us. Sarah chatted with her a bit about her personal style, what she was/wasn’t comfortable with and got a good idea of Monique’s style. After she was done Sarah and I sat and chatted with her for at least another half an hour to an hour. We asked her about her and what she did and why she thought she was nominated.

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When I say this woman is humble… I may be under exaggerating… she talked to us about Riley’s Legacy which is a community organization helping cats and kittens who are homeless or abandoned and in need of medical attention and a forever home. She started this because of special connection she has with animals and some personal reasons. At the time when we talked I believe she had around 20
cats (don’t quote me on the number)
in foster homes throughout the city. They use foster homes throughout the city so that the cats are in a home environment while waiting for their forever homes.
She does this all out of the goodness of her heart and the organization is run by volunteers and operates solely on donations and fundraising. The 3 of us had such a great chat, I had chills a few times as Monique talked about why she does this and some of the struggles and victories she has gone through. After she left Sarah and I looked and each and said “WOW, what an amazing woman”.

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She arrived at the studio on the day of her shoot, alongside her friend Rachel who was one of the people who nominated her,  with a fabulous new haircut and colour provided by Ego. I could see there was something a little different and she seemed a little more confident already! But she was obviously a little nervous to step in front of the camera, who isn’t? But holy she was a natural. It meant a lot to me when she said “I completely trust you, you just tell me what to do”! After the shoot was done she thanked us profusely and said she had the most wonderful experience and was happy she went through with it (she told me she almost didn’t do it). I could see the confidence grow in her and as she left the studio with a huge smile and some new beautiful clothes I couldn’t help but think how great what I do is.

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I’m very happy with how the images came out, and when I sent them to her yesterday so she could see them before I posted them her reply was: ” HOLY CATS! Is that me? lol…… I love them” Holy cats (which she told me was just part of her regular vocabulary), haha, how perfect was that response? I love that I am able to give someone a new found confidence in themselves through my work, and it is most definitely the most rewarding aspect of what I do.

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And while Monique thanked us all endlessly, I want to thank YOU Monique. Meeting you was such a pleasure and hearing your story and seeing what you do is incredibly inspiring. We are all so happy we were able to be a part of this for you and could not think of anyone more deserving than you to have had this done!!! So on behalf of Ego, Belle By Joelle, Boho and Braids and myself, again THANK YOU for being the wonderful, beautiful person you are!

To find out more about Riley’s Legacy, visit their Facebook Page here.
Makeup: Belle by Joelle
Hair: Ego Studio
Styling and Wardrobe: Boho and Braids

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