Monday was our first Turning Heads road trip! Debbie, Olga and I were getting organized with everything to bring, and planning our day (with a lot of help from Deb’s detailed time schedule to keep us on track). Who knew we’d have a good friend offer to join us and even better, he volunteered to drive us so we could just relax and enjoy the ride. Ted, recently retired, not only offered up his driving services and giant SUV, but was a welcome extra set of hands on set. He sure knows his way around a reflector, we couldn’t have done our outdoor photos without him.
We arrived in San Diego at our supermodel’s home right on time (Deb’s schedule to thank for that, even with TWO Starbucks stops en route). Beverley swung open the door as we came up the walk. She saw us all and burst into tears. She was so excited, as were we. Huge hugs and hellos followed on the front porch but then we were quickly beckoned inside by the most incredible smells. Bev had told us over the phone that she loves to cook and insisted on feeding us if she was feeling up to it. Of course, with the ups and downs of chemo she was counting the days that would be her “down” days and was looking forward to feeling better just in time for the shoot. She must have worked for two days on the elaborate spread she laid out for us. We enjoyed cinnamon cake, homemade muffins, fruit and yogurt parfaits, and so much more. What a treat it all was, now WE were being pampered and we had intended it to be the other way around. (thanks again for spoiling us Bev!)
Pinch me! Another dream of ours came true for this shoot, as we’ve been wanting to involve the community in styling our shoots using clothing from local stores and designers. Susan Stein, Fashion Editor for Palm Springs life and a great supporter of Turning Heads, tipped Debbie off to a local store called BG’s El Paseo. The owner, Elyssa Goldberg, was so generous and supportive when she heard about Turning Heads and agreed to lend us a few unique and beautiful tops for the shoot. We’ve talked about our desire to get fashionable and fun clothing from local stores to style our models and Elyssa is our first official lender of fabulous clothes. Just like a fairy godmother.
Bev’s husband, Chuck, was on set watching the whole shoot and we loved adding him into the photos with her. They shared stories of how they met and the love story that followed. Paula, one of Bev’s best friends, also joined us for the shoot. She was a great help on set, and one of the most treasured things for me was to see and hear the two of them together. I had a flashback to when Debbie was going through her chemo and it was she and I chatting back and forth.
Bev’s shoot was on location in her home so quite different than our studio shoots. (FYI: “Studio”=Stacy’s living room) What luck! We had our choice of great backdrops and settings to shoot both inside and out. No corner went to waste, we even shot on the lovely, bright stairway. Olga set up makeup and Deb had her styling section in the master bedroom which opened onto a gorgeous terrace. A hidden surprise, just steps below the main terrace, was a lovely area with a dining table set as beautifully as if she were expecting Architectural Digest. It was so sweet that it was all set for us to eat, but it ended up being a beautiful set for our shoot instead. We romped around from place to place and Bev was amazingly up for anything. I can’t decide what smiles most on Bev, her eyes or her mouth. Her whole face captures her beauty within, especially when she smiles. That smile and inner glow couples with her beauty on the outside and packaged together she shines like the sun. Sometimes I like to mix up photos that show both serious and smiling, but Bev was just smiling from ear to ear all day.
In the master bath I found a couple of Bev’s wigs on their stands. In talking more to Bev about her experience with hair loss I learned a few things about her journey that day. Bev had never been outside her home without her wig on until she stepped across the threshold for the photo shoot. Her best friend had never seen her without her wig. She wore it for her own comfort as well as so others would feel comfortable with her. Prior to our shoot, she only saw her hair loss and resulting baldness as something to cover up. I hope you’ll read Bev’s own words about her experience and what shifted for her during her shoot, posted in detail in her gallery.
We ended our session, as we always do, with interviewing our supermodel. We had a very special guest. Bev’s twelve year old niece, Erin joined us over Skype from Toronto, Canada . It was so much fun to get to meet her and for her to see much of the shoot. We even added her into our group photo at the end of the session. Erin had recently celebrated her Bat Mitzvah and decided to donate a portion of the money she received to a charity. She had her Aunt give us a check for $300 payable to Turning Heads so we can continue to provide experiences like Bev had for the next person who is bald from chemotherapy. We were so inspired and awed by the generosity of this young girl wanting to be a part of Turning Heads.
Bev had to be exhausted from her shoot, it’s a lot of up and down, clothing changes and activity, but she was so excited for the day she wanted to celebrate that evening with a dinner out with her hubby. She’s no exception to the rule, nearly all of the Turning Heads supermodels love to go out and show off their gorgeous makeup along with their new found confidence. But what changed for Bev was even bigger. She decided to go out without her wig. She wanted to show the world what cancer looks like and that it can be sexy, and gorgeous, AND bald.