Ah, the beautiful bond of mother and daughter! A mother and daughter have a special relationship. They share each other’s secrets. They share each other’s trust. And, in hair designer Mario Romero and fashion master Todd Ramos’ world, they share each other’s colorist. In honor of Mother’s Day, Ramos and Romero decided to rescue a mother and daughter duo from fashion exile. They decided that Donna McKenzie and her daughter, Sophia, had been in fashion Siberia long enough.
As the mid-day DJ at KHJZ 95.7 “The Wave,” Donna’s career is really her voice, not necessarily her looks. Although she does public appearances all the time, including hosting the “After Work Escape” party every Wednesday night at Montrose’s Sky Bar, she can get away with being a “jeans and T-shirt” kinda gal. Neither Donna nor Sophia, a 14-year-old high school sophomore, had really thought that their low-maintenance, natural look needed updating. That is, until Romero and Ramos came along.
“Her hair was all one length,” exclaims Ramos dramatically and finally, clearly indicating that no further explanation is needed. “It was just – odd,” Romero says, searching for a world to accurately describe the confounding phenomenon.
And to make matters worse, incredibly, Donna didn’t even own a hair dryer. “Who doesn’t own a hair dryer?” marvels Ramos. “It’s almost Amish!”
Donna and Sophia’s day began at Romero’s Avant Garde Spa Hair and Makeup Studio for cutting, coloring and general pampering. Coif master Romero – or as Donna prefers to call him, Edward Scissorhands – got to work on Donna’s long red hair, working in long, flowing layers and perking up her natural red with bright highlights.
Donna had never had highlights before. She was a “highlight virgin” confirms Romero discreetly, and her natural red hair immediately brightened up in Mario’s expert hands. Sophia’s hair cut took a little bit more work – not due to Sophia’s hair, but due to Sophia. “Girls and their hair!” exclaims Ramos dramatically. “It would have been easier to pull out a tooth!” The style crew wanted to take about three inches off; Sophia didn’t want to let go of more than one. “We prevailed,” Ramos coos. Go figure.
With newly-layered and highlighted locks, it was time for massages, facials and makeup lessons. Sophia, Avant Garde’s makeup expert, banished their all-natural look in a hurry. Within minutes, mother and daughter were shaded, shadowed, bronzed and ready for some sassy new ensembles.
At Ramos’ boutique, Couture, he decided they needed fresh, pretty, spring colors. He popped Donna into a Cynthia Steffe trench coat and Sophia into a hot-pink tank top with a bright orange skirt. “It just fit their personalities,” he explains. “They are both so light and happy. They needed light, happy clothes to match.”
And what do mother and daughter think of their new looks? “I can’t stop looking at myself!” enthuses Donna. “My hair is gorgeous. It’s like a brand-new outfit that I get to wear everyday!”
And Sophia confirms that she’s never had a hair style turn out exactly the way she had envisioned it. “It’s just perfect,” she says matter-of-factly. “Total strangers are complimenting me. I love it!”
Or as Ramos puts it, “They are very “feeling it.” They know they look good, and they’re enjoying it. When a woman is feeling it, I know I have done my job – and I don’t mean it the naughty way.” H