By Andrea Yeager | Photography by Brian Pearse //
Anyone who died four times during surgery for a brain tumor deserves a makeover and more, and a Gulf Coast Woman “dream team,” led by Tanya Tancredi, accepted the assignment of matching Belinda Quave-Adams’ outer beauty with the inner loveliness that radiates from her.
Belinda Quave-Adams seems to be enjoying all of the attention as she jokes with the hair, makeup and fashion stylists lavishing over her at a Gulfport salon. Max, her service dog, and baby puppy, Tipsy, also are hanging out with her on the big makeover day. Tipsy, true to the name, has fallen asleep on her feet.
Quave-Adams was diagnosed with a meningioma or tumor in the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord in 2006 and had her first surgery in May of that year. After that surgery, she developed methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, a staph infection in her brain. Consequently, more surgeries for MRSA and a skin graft followed.
She now lacks the jawbone and part of her skull on the left side. Her face has been separated so many times because of the surgeries that she cannot lift her left eyebrow. Reconstruction is not feasible because she is allergic to the plastics and metals used in the surgery.
Yet, she is “a joyful person. I have a right to believe in Jesus because of what He has brought me through. I tell everyone how wonderful He is,” says Quave-Adams, who has three daughters, a son, six granddaughters and two step-grandsons.
“But I think others are more deserving of this makeover than me.”
“My daughter, Angela Lee, for one; she goes through so much. Her daughter, Lilli, has heart and kidney disease, and Angela is a teacher working on her doctorate.”
Quave-Adams was selected for the makeover because of her humility, perserverance and big heart. Ann Madden, a Bay St. Louis photographer, nominated her for the day of beauty. “Ann said she could think of no one more deserving than Belinda,” Tancredi says.
“Some people give up, but Belinda has not,” says Tancredi, owner of Tanya Tancredi Salon. “I want to help women bring their inner beauty out. It only takes one or a group to bring it out. We want to play off their best features and help instill confidence with no trace of inferiority.”
Quave-Adams, despite having residual seizures, works full time. “I have worked since I was a child,” she says. “I worked for the USDA inspecting Gulf Coast seafood. Later, my husband was a truck driver, and I got my CDL and went on the road with him and my son.”
It was while backing up that 18-wheeler one day that she realized she could not see well out of her left eye. She thought she had an eye infection. Her eye doctor sent her for a MRI. A tumor was found, and one surgery led to another between May 2006 and January 2007.
But this day, she’s enjoying being pampered and the rare occasion taking time for herself. She has made arrangements for a friend to meet her son after school, and she has her two dogs with her. She surrenders to the dream team for a new haircut, color, makeup and outfit.
Hairstylist Felecia Pokallus listens as Quave-Adams explains that that her head was shaved when she had the tumor and now that her hair finally is long again, she wants to keep as much length as possible.
Pokallus decides to go with an asymmetrical long-layered cut to cover the effects of surgery.
“Belinda’s an easy care woman,” Pokallus says. “This cut can be worn various ways. It’s easy care styling for her eclectic style.”
Now comes the color. Angela Taylor, colorist, wants to keep Quave-Adams’ light color but add more definition.
“We are going to keep her on the blonde side and add fun panels of color hiding in
the interior of the cut,” Taylor says.
Makeup artist Louis Peterman, who is back home from work in Los Angeles and New York, also wants to keep a natural look in her makeup. Peterman chooses slate and a soft purple with a neutral liner to give the illusion of fuller thicker lashes, especially on the left side.
Quave-Adams says she tries to learn something new everyday. “Everything that happens in life is a lesson,” she adds. Well, this day she’s learning that she is beautiful inside and out.
To finish the swinging, freestyle look, she is outfitted in a sassy but casual dress and jacket and, of course, her cowboy boots, which is fitting for her “never give up” lifestyle. “I am absolutely giddy about my hair,” she says.
The Dream Team, the brainchild of salon owner Tanya Tancredi, works to make women feel good about themselves, to enhance their self-esteem.
Team members for this first makeover are:
• Tanya Tancredi, creative salon director; owner Tanya Tancredi Salon in downtown Gulfport. Worked in New York and London
• Felecia Pokallus, specialized hair cutter for more than 10 years
• Angela Taylor, colorist for more than 10 years
• Louis Peterman, makeup artist and Bobbi Brown representative; worked in Los Angeles and New York
• Adrian Holland, owner of Back on the Rack in downtown Gulfport
• Brian Pearce, photographer.