Comedian Dena Jackson is ready to take stage with a bold new look—and we showed her how by teaching her to embrace the glamorous side of fashion.
For the past two years, Dena has done her standup routine in a hoodie and jeans in dark colours, whether she was performing on TV's Night Time With Michael A. Charbon or at Toronto's SheDot Festival (find out more about Dena and her comedy act at denajackson.net or @actiondjack on Twitter). But when she heard about our makeover series, she knew she was ready to cast aside her lacklustre clothes and command attention.
"Low maintenance" sums up Dena's daily makeup routine—concealer and mascara, and that's it. But Plutino Group makeup artist Jodi Urichuk suggests Dena spend some time on skin care. "She has porous skin, so prepping her skin is key," says Urichuk. She started with a moisturizer, used a primer to create a smooth surface, applied foundation and highlighter where needed, then lined Dena's lids with a matte black eyeliner. "It accentuates her eyes and makes them look much larger," says Urichuk. Blush and a swipe of vivid berry lip stain—a great shade for blonds—finished off Dena's stage-worthy look.
When Dena arrived at Marc Anthony Salon, her fine blond hair was overly layered and the too-light hue was tinged green from the hard water in her shower. Senior master stylist Julie Coupland brightened her strands with golden copper highlights—and Dena promised to buy a new showerhead with a water filter. Next, Marilisa Sears, artistic director for Marc Anthony Hair Care, cut blunt layers in Dena's hair to add fullness, applied mousse from roots to ends, then blow-dried Dena's hair with a round natural-bristle brush, holding each section 90 degrees from Dena's head to create volume. "Don't be afraid to overexaggerate with fine hair," says Sears. "If you aim for the perfect height, it will be gone by the time you leave the house."
Dena's biggest skin concerns are dryness, redness and dark circles under the eyes. Her skin-care routine may be partly to blame: just a few facials a year and a daily dose of a too-harsh gel cleanser. Amanda Lindsay, skin therapist at Dermalogica's International Dermal Institute, suggested a creamier, more nourishing cleanser, then spoke with Dena about the stressful aspects of her career. "Stress can have a huge impact on how sensitive and reactive your skin can be," said Lindsay. She recommended calming moisturizers, one for day and one for night, plus a foundation or tinted moisturizer, ideally with at least SPF 30. "This kind of product helps disguise any redness, while calming and protecting the skin."
(From left to right) Bite Beauty Cashmere Lip Cream in Sancerre, $32, sephora.ca. Yves Saint Laurent Éclat Radiant Touch, $50, sephora.ca. Dermalogica UltraCalming Ultra Sensitive Tint SPF 30, $57, dermalogica.ca. Marc Anthony Oil of Morocco Argan Oil Volumizing Mousse, $11, walmart.ca.
Rather than dressing up for gigs, Dena has always leaned toward casual weekend basics, such as hoodies and jeans. "Comedy is a male-dominated space, and, at times, it makes me feel like I should dress down so people will listen to my jokes," she says. But she was ready for some expert guidance to help cultivate her onstage style. This playful-yet-professional ensemble, which was selected by Melissa Evans-Lee, marketing director at Bayview Village shopping centre in Toronto, accentuates Dena's knockout figure—and the tailored printed pants, in particular, are a hit. "These pants have a lot of personality and it takes someone with a sense of humour to pull them off," says Evans-Lee. The embellished leather jacket can be paired with virtually anything, ensuring that Dena will stand out.
Verdict: "My new look makes me feel comfortable and sophisticated," says Dena, "and that helps me show my personality before I start talking."
Summer makeover: A fab new figure deserves a new look
Easy tips for mixing prints like a fashion editor
This article was originally published in the August 2015 issue of Canadian Living.
Subscribe to Canadian Living today and never miss an issue.
Do you speak the language of flowers? Find out the different meanings of various flowers, plus get five tips on making your bouquet last.
In the Victorian era, particular flowers in certain colours were chosen to express specific feelings. Using this language of flowers – called "floriography" – a bud, bouquet or even a boutonniere delivered more than colour and scent. Here's what some familiar flowers may convey:
Apple blossom - Good things to come
Aster - Contentment
Buttercup - Childishness
Pink carnation - Gratitude
Yellow carnation - Rejection
Crocus - Gladness
Daffodil - Chivalry and respect
Daisy - Innocence and purity
Daylily - Enthusiasm
Dill - Lust
Edelweiss - Daring and courage
Forsythia - Anticipation
Gardenia - Secret love and joy
Blue hyacinth - Constancy
Ivy - Wedded love and fidelity
Lavender - Loyalty
White lily - Heavenly purity
Lily of the valley - Humility
Mint - Virtue
Orange blossom - Marriage and fertility
Palm leaves - Victory
Dark crimson rose - Mourning
Pink rose - Friendship
Red Rose - Passionate love
Snowdrop - Hope
Sunflower - Adoration
Red tulip - Declaration of love
Violet - Faithfulness
So that beautiful bouquet of dark crimson roses and white lilies surrounded by palm leaves that you just sent to your friend or love one could be telling her, "Many are mourning my victory and success within our relationship, as it's heavenly to be with you!" But – since floriography word lists vary – it could simply be saying, "Hi!"
5 best ways to make your bouquet last
1. Buy fresh flowers. Avoid flowers with any signs of mildew or mould, and look for buds that are just beginning to open. A&P, Dominion and Loblaws help out by guaranteeing their blooms will last for a specified number of days.
2. Keep it clean and lukewarm. Start with a squeaky-clean container and lukewarm water (tepid water is more readily absorbed than cold), then change the water every other day.
3. Add a floral preservative. Most bouquets come with their own packet of goodies that provide nutrients and prevent bacterial growth – all to keep the flowers fresher longer.
4. Strip and recut the stems. Remove any leaves that will be immersed, then recut the stems to encourage water uptake. Trim soft stems straight across. Cut woody stems on an angle, then smash or slit the bottom 2.5 cm (1 in). Pinch small wads of cotton from a cotton ball and stuff them into the bottom of hollow stems to help them hold moisture.
5. Show them off in a good spot. Set your floral arrangement away from drafts, direct sunlight, radiators and ripening fruits (the latter emit ethylene, which prevents buds from opening, discolours blooms and leaves, and shortens vase life).
Arrange flowers with a flourish
The Big Reveal: Canadian Living February 2017 Image by: Alvaro Goveia
Looking to refresh her life, insurance professional, wife and mother Marta Magyar-Gaal embraced a dramatic new look—with stunning results. "The whole experience felt like Pretty Woman. It's made me feel that I am important, worthy and capable of incorporating style into my life."
In the past few years, Marta Magyar-Gaal has faced several hardships. "I've gone through quite a bit of stress, in addition to a lot of physical changes," says Marta. A cancer survivor, she was recently diagnosed with vitilego (a skin disease characterized by a loss of pigment), which has made getting dresses extra challenging. "It mostly affects my arms and hands, so sleeves are a must," she says. In the thick of menopause, she's also experiences some hormonal weight gain and aggravation of her rosacea. With all of these new challenges, Marta was ready to embrace something positive: a brand-new look that matches her brilliant, funny and animated personality.
Roger Medina, a hair ambassador for Garnier Canada, loved Marta's curls but felt she needed to make a stronger style statement. In the end, the key to her look was a dyed 'do. Going blonde wasn't a drastic change for Marta, who already had partially lightened hair, so Medina felt that enhancing her natural curls would give her an edge. He lightened Marta's hair all over, with the exception of a bit of her roots to keep the colour low maintenance. For the photo shoot, Medina wanted to style Marta's hair differently than what's she's used to, so he gave her smooth waves. "I used a one-inch-barrel curling iron and divided the hair into two-inch sections," he says. "Then, I curled the hair around the face backward, and the hair at the back of the head toward the face, which gave her hair a bit of an S-shape."
A novice to makeup, Marta's major challenge is trying to even out her complexion, which is complicated by her rosacea and vitilego. She sometimes wears foundation, but she'll add mascara and lipstick only when she's feeling fancy. Keeping Marta's low-maintenance approach in mind, Plutino Group makeup artists Jodi Urichuk gave her soft, luminous and pretty makeup that highlighted several of her beautiful features. Urichuk started with a green-tinged primer to counteract the red in Marta's skin, then used a full-coverage satin-finish foundation. "It still looks natural," says Urichuk. Next, she applied a wash of taupe cream shadow to her eyelids and a metallic brown eyeliner, which she blended on an angle to give the appearance of larger eyes. To finish the look, Urichuk chose a soft-pink lip stain and a lip pencil in a similar hue, buffing and blending the lines with a brush.
Essie Nail Polish in Midnight Cami, $10, essie.ca. Caudalie Vinosource Overnight Recovery Oil, $59, caudalie.com. Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer Redness Correcting Primer, $45, sephora.ca. Garnier Fructis Moisture Lock 10-in-1 Rescue Leave-In Detangler, $7, shoppersdrugmart.ca.
When Marta visited the Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie Paris in Toronto, senior esthetician Alexandra Weisseneder noted that her sensitive and rosacea-prone complexion was in desperate need of hydration. Weisseneder recommended ingredients such as chamomile, grape water and jojoba oil to help calm and nourish her skin. She also advised Marta to use an overnight oil instead of a cream. "It's a bit more active and has more highly concentrated ingredients," says Weisseneder. Going forward, Marta will also use SPF coverage year-round to help protect her sensitive skin from the elements.
In Marta's youth, her style has edge, but as she matured, other priorities took precedence. "My style is pretty boring. I wear black on black on black and, sometimes, I add white," she says. Melissa Evans-Lee, the marketing director for Bayview Village shopping centre in Toronto, wanted to take Marta our of the darkness and into the light. She created an ensemble that was comfortable and stylish and had polished elements that Marta craves, while still steering her in a new direction. "Marta is petite, so it was important to choose a look that would elongate her small frame," says Evans-Lee. A luxurious cream-coloured turtleneck with flecks of sparkle proved the foundation; the tight-fitting high collar creates a longer visual line. Layering a fringed shawl over a sweater or coat is one of Evans-Lee's favourite winter styling tips. For Marta, she chose a windowpane-plaid cashmere shawl, adding a pair of ecru trousers to give the look some structure and a pair of suede booties to solidify the polished influence.
Shawl, $189, turtleneck, $189, and pants, $139, Talbots. Dean Davidson earrings, Cupido. Handbag, Sandro Ferrone. Booties, Stuart Weitzman. All clothing and accessories available at Bayview Village shopping centre in Toronto.
"I softened the corners of her nails because of the dark colour; I didn't want the manicure to look overly aggressive," says Essie Canada lead nail artist and global lead educator Rita Remark.
"I was living a girl's dream, having people teach me how to present my best self—not to mention the full attention given to me. It was quite overwhelming at time," says Marta. "The overall experience was amazing."