TRUE BEAUTY CREW—Hosts and presenters strike a pose after the True Beauty workshop and panel discussion. Allegra Johnson, Linda Webster, Danielle Edmond, Timoni Webster, LaToya Johnson-Rainey and Cynthia Levy-Mendoza. (Photo by Diane Daniels)

Pleased with the results of the event, Johnson says they hope to do it again. “Teaching the girls to put their best face forward was important, but learning what it means to be beautiful was most rewarding to them. Our goal was to educate the girls on age appropriate skincare and makeup tips and techniques.”

Program experts included moderator Cynthia Levy-Mendoza, Danielle Edmond; makeup artist, Linda Webster; makeup and skincare expert and Timoni Webster; an independent cosmetologist. Carolyn Byrd a performing artist also added her expertise.

Out of her passion for building cohesive and happy African-American families, Levy-Mendoza founded, a mom blog and the local support group Brown Mommys. She also hosts a weekly online commentary on behalf of American Urban Radio Network entitled “Don’t Get Me Started.”

Edmond is the founder and head makeup artist for Powder and Paint. Utilizing her 10 years of experience she has done makeup for weddings, photo shoots, private parties, events, fashion shows and Port Authority advertisements. She conducts an annual make up class where various levels of students learn the basics of makeup. Last year through Powder and Paint she launched a signature brush collection starting with a blender brush.

An entrepreneur who enjoys freelancing as a makeup artist and an independent consultant for Color Me Beautiful’s ethnic brands, Linda Webster has had an interest in makeup since watching the Wizard of Oz at a young age. She says she was fascinated by the transformation of people’s faces and bodies with the makeup and costumes. Following her passion she has two films to her credit and 12 years of experience doing make up for television personalities in Pittsburgh and Ontario, Canada.

“Don’t worry about what others say about you. Learn to love you,” Timoni Webster advised the workshop participants.

As a cosmetologist and operations manager for a college admissions test prep company she stressed the importance of education which assists in boosting one’s self esteem. Along with her state license in Cosmetology she has a Bachelor’s of Art Degree in English Writing and her Masters in Education in Secondary Education.

Also stressing the significance of education, Byrd during the panel discussion informed the girls that the Veterans of Foreign War organization has $2.2 million in scholarship money available.

Created in 2011 CitySTYLE is a web-based fashion and style show created and hosted by Johnson who is also a journalist. In the position to work with women in all fields but focused in the fashion industry, she says it is important to her to educate young girls to know and be comfortable with who they are.

Conducting red carpet interviews with VH1 reality stars and some of Pittsburgh’s most fashionable trendsetters, Johnson said since its inception CitySTYLE has hosted events for Style Week Pittsburgh and covered Pittsburgh Fashion Week.  “We have also hosted the red carpet for FashionAfricana events and the official DVD taping of comedian J. Russ.”  Her next project, she said her team will be hosting the red carpet for the Bella Awards.

With the desire to uplift and motivate others, Johnson-Rainey uses her business to full fill her goal. Located at 5510 Centre Avenue, A Hair Boutique, offers its customers a stock of semi-custom and custom wigs of various styles and textures, clip-in extensions and bangs, wiglets, halo wigs, scarves, turbans and hair gear as well as hair care products for wigs and natural hair. She offers wig styling, repair and wig prep.

Happy to host the event and pleased that the girls had fun and received good information Johnson and Johnson-Rainey concur that young people of today have to know and believe in their self. They say their hope is that the participants will graduate from high school, go to college and begin their careers with confidence and their best face forward.

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