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More than a makeover

By Dana Sleger //

In 2013, Cristina Ucles’ world took an about-face when her husband, Henpvel, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Homeschooling her two young children stopped; her husband’s successful carpentry and remodeling business stopped; steady income stopped; and life as they knew it stopped. However, one thing that didn’t come to a halt was the determination to move forward with resilient faith and embrace the challenges ahead.

Ucles, 29, says that first year was particularly rough because on top of dealing with the initial blow of the news, a series of complications followed. Not only did the biopsy confirm the tumor was cancerous, the surgery caused Henpvel to lose significant mobility on his left side, and a blood clot also developed in one of his lungs.

Radiation treatments and intensive physical therapy was a tough combo to handle, but thankfully, Henpvel is now able to walk by himself and can use his left side more. The tumor has shrunk, and chemotherapy has been reduced to once a month.

“We’re going through a big storm, but I see my husband smiling with so much joy, and it encourages me,” Ucles says. “I have to be strong for him. He means everything to me.”

Being a stay-at-home mom while also serving as Henpvel’s primary caregiver is tough at times, but Ucles’ positive attitude caught the attention of someone who thought she deserved a few hours of pampering.

She was anonymously nominated for Gulf Coast Woman’s makeover experience that included a new look from head to toe. She heard about the nomination when she was going through a particularly difficult time with Henpvel’s health issues, so some TLC was just what she needed.

“When I found out about the makeover, I was thankful for the good news,” Ucles says. “All the troubles, worry and cares of this world disappeared for a few hours while I enjoyed the experience.”

The makeover team met Ucles at Red Lily Spa in Ocean Springs, and they were immediately captivated by her story and her sweetness.

“She was absolutely precious, and it really was an honor for us to be able to help out,” says Emma Bain, owner of the spa.

To complement her features and facial structure, hair stylist Keith Register gave Ucles a layered bob with lots of texture. Colorist Lauren Damond chose a rich dark chocolate base with warm golden highlights to brighten her complexion.

Makeup artist Louis Peterman also wanted to “create a gorgeous lit-from-within” look by using neutral bronze tones. Giving her eyes a hint of bronze shimmer allowed her eye color to pop, and blackest black liner coupled with adding individual lashes gave the illusion of a fuller lash line.

After evening out her complexion, finishing touches included a natural-toned browny pink blush, a soft sweep of golden bronzer, and illuminating powder on the high points of the face. Lip gloss and liner were applied in a neutral pinky tone to give her a natural, yet enhanced lip color. Peterman says this look could be jazzed up for a night out by adding a darker, bolder lip and layering on more blush.

Brooke Broadus, owner of Dressed in Blue boutique in Gulfport, provided clothes and jewelry. To complement Ucles’ skin color, hair length and “bubbly personality,” Broadus chose a bright neon yellow tank top dress with a crochet and lace detail on the front and a cutout keyhole detail on the back.

To add some pizzazz, she finished the ensemble with gold wire-wrapped Burban & Bowtie bangles and white druzy gold-plated earrings. According to Broadus, druzy jewelry is all the rage now because the tiny sugar-like crystals on top of a colorful mineral adds beautiful sparkle to any outfit.

On the drive home from her makeover, Ucles says she was thinking about how much the makeover team blessed her with overwhelming attention to detail and genuine care that made her look and feel so loved. Coincidentally, just a few days prior to learning she was nominated, Ucles mentioned to Henpvel that a haircut would be a nice present for her special day.

“My birthday was coming close, and I was trying to drop hints to my husband that I wish I could have a haircut for myself,” Ucles says. “It was perfect timing! I had much more than a haircut — it made me realize that God sees me; he really for cares for me.”


Keith Register, hairstylist at Tanya Tancredi Salon and Red Lily Spa

Lauren Damond, stylist/colorist at Tanya Tancredi Salon

Louis Peterman, makeup artist and Bobbi Brown representative

Brooke Broadus, stylist (owner of Dressed in Blue)

Emma Bains, brows (owner of Red Lily Spa)

Sarah Schindler, manicurist at Red Lily Spa