It was a rushed morning as I double checked my bags to ensure I didn’t forget anything I needed. I was packing for two this time and I was overwhelmed by the feeling I would forget something vital. We had worked so hard, come so far, and so many people were cheering for us. It was the morning of November 18th, 2016 and my 9 year son, Christopher James and I, who both held Southeast Florida Legacy titles, were headed to state competition for a full weekend of hair & makeup, wardrobe changes, and steep competition for the Florida State Titles.
Dressed to the nine, we drove two hours, parked, unloaded all our bags ourselves onto a cart, guided said-cart through the parking lot (which is crazy challenging) and into the hotel, checked in, found our room, unloaded and completed our first wardrobe change for the mandatory meeting.
We were both nervous and excited but I felt such a huge weight on my shoulders. I not only had to worry about myself but my young son too. He was recently in a major accident and was badly scarred on his face. No one had seen him since the accident and he was worried what people would think. Many people knew he was injured but we kept his healing process pretty close to the vest as we tried to cope. Regardless, he wanted to get his new message across, “Don’t let bad things slow down your dreams”. I just hoped he would have the confidence to step out on that stage. The school playground has been quite a brutal place lately.
After the meeting, we were dismissed to prepare for the actual competition. I had called ahead to arrange a last minute fit-in for my son to have makeup done on his scarring. I just didn’t feel confident doing it myself, even with the dermablend products. Not only did she say on the phone that she would fit him in, she said she would take complete care of him and not to worry. So we scrambled to our hotel rooms to change into our first competition outfits and then ran from one floor to the next to make our appointments for hair and makeup.
That’s when we met her, and her chair, and her brushes. Catalina Sommers was the Hair and Make-Up Artist and she had this way of reigning me back in every time my anxiety began to grow. She exhilarated my son by making him feel like nothing ever happened to him. She made me feel so beautiful and glamorous. I’ve never met anyone quite like her. She took your lit match and was the fuel that created a huge fire in you. Not just her skillset but the person she is empowered us.
Before I knew it, we both had a pageant coach, a modeling coach, a director, a fan, a mentor, a friend, and not to mention, an incredible stylist. She went through our walks, examined our poses, kept me from crying, fixed all the slip-ups, constantly showed up backstage for touchups and became a friend. I thought maybe, just maybe she was showing us some special treatment. Maybe my son’s story had really touched her or maybe my sponsors had given her extra money for frills. No. She is just THAT good and that professional.
Sitting in her chair, I jabbered on and on and asked her all kinds of questions. I had seen her photography and wondered how she transitioned or where she started. I wondered how she came to know her clients’ needs. I wanted to know if she loved photography, or hair, or makeup more. Luckily for me, Catalina jabbered back and I was given the back story of this phenomenal woman.
Catalina’s story sadly begins with the death of her father. They were close and his passing hit her hard. Debilitating, actually. She became depressed and although she knew her dad wanted her to be independent, make something of herself, and have a career, she was stuck. Friends and family encouraged her to pull herself up by the bootstraps and get moving. They suggested she find a hobby to distract herself from the pain so she could start to heal.
It was her husband, Curt, in fact, who recognized her hidden talent as a photographer and he showered her with support so she could follow this newly blossomed passion. He even purchased her a professional grade camera to solidify just how much he believed in her. Before she knew it, she had taken that camera, made a name for herself, created a business, and had a regular flow of clientele.
As her success grew so did her awareness and she began to notice that many clients were unable to secure a hair and makeup artist for shoots due to scheduling difficulties and/or funds. She knew there had to be a better way. From that, she enlisted herself in training with her brother, Mario, who is a master hair stylist and found a YouTube makeup tutorial trainer, Patrick Star.
She started by adding this extra as a pro-bono until she honed in on her skill and learned about various skin textures, mixing and matching of foundations, and even contouring. Incredibly, she not only had a natural talent for photography but for hair and makeup as well. She was a triple threat. Before she knew it, she was working pageants, weddings, modeling events, and was able to create a complete package of photography, hair and makeup for her clients.
Catalina pleased her father. I know she did. She became independent, she started her own business and she is truly happy. She is able to give back to the community by donating her services to organizations such as the Children’s Miracle Network and kids like my son.
The most rewarding part for Catalina is that moment when she turns around the chair and shows her client the mirror so they can see the transformation. I experienced that. I cried and she had to touch up my eye makeup after I was done with my tears. My son, he said it was like his accident never happened and he looked like his old self. He felt new again.
As for the competition, we rocked it. Both Christopher and I were crowned top titles in our divisions and won awards for every category. We have the crowns, the banners, and a year of royalty. BUT, we also found the most amazing hair and makeup artist which we will continue to use for events, and even better than that, we gained an incredible friend for life.
Written By: Angel Beth