Andrea Charles: Professional Makeup Artist Helps Domestic Violence Victims from the Inside Out
From Tyra Banks to Demi Moore, celebrity makeup artist Andrea Charles works with some of Hollywood's most famous faces. Thousands of women from all walks of life have sat in Charles' chair over the years.
And sometimes, she says, underneath the bright, bold, colors, she would discover something unexpected.
"Some women sit in your chair and they start crying. You hear all different stories. You're up and personal in front of your clients. So, you hear everything, they open up with everything, especially when you have to cover up their scars,” Charles said.
In some cases, those scars were signs of domestic abuse.
Charles decided to channel her skills to help some of these women.
In 2011 she launched the non-profit "City Girl Beauty Project."
"When I started, I really wanted to provide a vehicle through which women who survived domestic violence, human trafficking and also sexual assault, I wanted to get them together so they could speak and bring change and make a difference," Charles added.
Charles introduces survivors to industry leaders – female executives, life coaches and other victims of abuse – at workshops throughout the year, with the goal of empowering them from the inside out.
She says it’s here they learn to navigate life without their abusers.
And thanks to volunteer stylists, survivors also get to work on their outsides with a makeover from head to toe.
That’s something Andreia Gibau, Miss Earth USA, says can have a lasting impact.
"When you look good, you feel good. So, if you have your makeup done and you've been styled and you like what you're wearing, it really gives you that confidence to go out in the world and say ‘I know who I am, and I can do whatever I want to do,’" Gibau said.
Charles says she hopes her work inspires these survivors to continue their own healing - while potentially helping others do the same.
"These women have been through a lot, with their abusers. So the workshop helps them to be change-makers, helps them to be leaders, and give them the strength, and to face whatever is coming to them now," Charles said.
For helping survivors find their self-worth and inner beauty, Andrea Charles is our New Yorker of the Week.