Lady in Pink 

May 11, 2012
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By Julie Davis

Sally Harris, a six-year breast cancer survivor, gets a hot, new makeover

Sally and Norm Harris. Sally is a six-year breast cancer survivor and has been volunteering for Paint the Town Pink since its inception in 2006.

Area towns have been awash in shades of pink as Riverview Medical Center’s sixth annual Paint the Town Pink event is continuing to help stress the importance of getting an annual mammogram. Among those devoting their time to make it all happen is Sally Harris, a six-year volunteer for Paint the Town Pink and a six-year breast cancer survivor. 
For all Harris has done to help raise awareness of the importance of annual mammograms, the Two River TimesTM (a sponsor of this year’s Paint the Town Pink), as well as the organizers of Paint the Town Pink, thought she deserved the royal “pinkment.”

When the surprise was revealed, Harris learned she was receiving a head-to-toe makeover courtesy of the Milagro Salon and Spa at The Atlantic Club in Red Bank and Le Papillon, a clothing and accessories boutique in Rumson. The makeover took place a few hours before Harris attended Paint the Town Pink’s headline event, “Unplanned Plan: An Evening with Bill Rancic.” Harris was among a select few to meet the reality show star whose wife, Giuliana Rancic, is herself a breast cancer survivor.

Sally gets ready for her makeover.

“I got goose bumps when I found out I was getting this makeover,” Harris said. “It just amazes me that people honor me this way. I am just a breast cancer survivor in my eyes.”

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Harris is anything but just a survivor. She is a true ray of light, sharing her story to help comfort, encourage and inspire women diagnosed with the disease, as well as remind others to schedule a yearly mammogram.
 “Paint the Town Pink honors me every year, but it’s also a place where I can find other people that I can talk to and help in my own little private way,” said Harris.

Robin Abitanto, hairstylist and colorist at the Milagro Salon and Spa at The Atlantic Club in Red Bank, adds blond highlights and base color to Sally’s hair.

Harris’ makeover began with hair—and tears. Stylist Robin Abitanto, who cut and colored Harris’s hair, announced she too is a breast cancer survivor. The women took a moment to share their stories and then got down to business. Abitanto kept Harris’s hair classic and elegant, yet removed some of the weight on top and added a few face framing highlights. “I took her wedge cut and turned it into a style that she can either have fun with or wash and go,” Abitanto said. “Sally didn’t want the maintenance of color, so I gave her a few non-committal, face-framing highlights to accentuate her natural color and brighten her up. I also gave her a wash-out glaze to richen her natural color.” Abitanto styled Harris’s hair for the big event with lots of volume. “I wanted her look to have wow. She is, after all, meeting a celebrity.”

Carla Van Hemert, makeup artist at the Milagro Salon and Spa, uses neutral tones to bring out Sally’s bright blue eyes.

A few strokes of the makeup brush transformed Harris into a more glamorous version of herself. “I used soft, natural, wearable colors, mostly in the brown family, and applied a burnt orange in the crease of the eyelids because orange really pops blue eyes,” said makeup artist Carla van Hemert. She made Harris’ skin glow with complexion-illuminating Bare Escentuals powder foundation and a touch of bronzer. “A lot of women think bronzer is for younger complexions, but it truly warms up any skin tone at any age. It works for everyone,” van Hemert added.

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The final step in the makeover was the dress. With the help of Mary Louise van der Wilden, owner of Le Papillon, Harris stepped out in a figure-flattering black sheath and, of course, pink accessories.

“I love my look,” said a visibly happy Harris. “I feel so lucky.”

Harris, who attended the “Unplanned Event: An Evening with Bill Rancic” with her husband Norm, was excited to meet the first winner of “The Apprentice,” who now stars in a TV show with his wife, Guiliana.

“I saw Bill Rancic on TV recently with his wife, who recently had a double mastectomy, and he said they were on a journey together. That is how my husband put it to me when I was diagnosed, that we are on a journey together and we would make it through no matter what,” Harris said before the event. “I am anxious to look this man [Bill Rancic] in the eyes and thank him for having that value in him. He knows what’s right to do. It’s about the two of them going through it together. “

Well said, with a well-deserved new look.

From left: Carla Van Hemert, Milagro makeup artist; Sally Harris; and Robin Abitanto, hairstylist and colorist. Sally’s black sheath and printed scarf are from Le Papillon in Rumson.

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