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To help celebrate their new store in Foothill Village, Gary and Louise Fredericksen, managers of Merle Norman Cosmetics, invited all 13 University of Utah cheerleaders to their new "state of the art" studio for free makeovers and beauty tips.

Experienced beauty advisers devoted an hour to each cheerleader, carefully giving them advice on how they could achieve their best look.The cheerleaders, some of whom are artful dancers who try to balance volleyball and football games with their studies, are leading very busy lives. They cheer because they love it, but they were willing to break away for a little while in the hope that they would look terrific when it was over.

The big test for Merle Norman Studio was that these girls looked terrific before the makeover.

All the cheerleaders were physically fit and appeared as if they would have been just fine, thanks, if they never put anything at all on their faces. Ever. In fact, many of them had used virtually no make-up at all prior to coming into the store.

But Norman advisers were not to be dissuaded.

They worked methodically to find the best look to suit each cheerleader's personal coloring and taste. They wanted to teach them how they can use cosmetics in tasteful ways to look more striking.

Appearing bright and cheerful in their red and white uniforms, Andrea Huskinson and Amy Daly looked forward to the experiment as they chorused, "Give us the new look we need!"

When Kellie Hansen was asked how she expected to look after the makeover, she smiled, placed her tongue firmly in her cheek and said, "A lot better than when I walked in! Maybe a new look won't make me a better cheerleader, but it might make me CUTER!"

As Patricia Giumini, a Norman beauty adviser, helped Andrea and Amy wash off any foundation from their faces in preparation for the make up, she said, "The important thing is that you look natural. You don't want people commenting on your makeup. On the contrary, you want them to think you don't have any on."

Now we were getting somewhere.

The Norman people are not overbearing. They subscribe to an artistic approach. They try to teach a woman to blend colors unobtrusively to complement an already attractive face.

Andrea, who is blond, and Amy who is a brunette, each needed vastly different cosmetics to bring out their best features. Giumini tried to complement Andrea's fair, pinkish complexion and emphasize Amy's dark eyes.

Giumini said, "Amy has gorgeous eyes, so we use the eye liner to accentuate them and make them appear bigger. She has not used much makeup before, so we help her to learn the art."

When the makeover was complete, Andrea was pleased.

"I'm learning a lot about what colors look good on me. I think I can do it at home, but I definitely need practice. It might take awhile for me to make myself up as well as she has done."

Leslie Heimberg assisted Kellie Hansen and Danielle Deschaine in finding their best look, telling them about the eye shadow applicators that ironically double as erasers. How convenient. Heim-berg tried to ease their minds by assuring them they would make some mistakes and that if they did, it would not be disastrous.

The girls still seemed worried.

They stared hard and long at each implement before applying the makeup ever so gingerly, trying not to make their brush strokes too strenuous. Heimberg gently prodded them and complimented them as they worked.

She suggested Kellie try a dark chocolate lipstick. Kellie hesitated, finally daubed some on, then looked in the mirror with a burst of relief.

There was an unmistakable, continuing camaraderie, with the girls squealing and calling across the room to each other - "Andrea, you really look CUTE!" They helped provide the confidence each needed to keep going.

When it was over, they sighed, then gathered for pictures and forcefully sang the University of Utah fight song. Although their delicate features were accentuated by sophisticated Merle Norman products, you had the feeling their natural vitality and exuberance could take them through an entire football season without any makeup at all.

Other women who are not cheerleaders - and never have been - may seek makeovers at the Foothill store - or soon, at a second store to be opened in ZCMI Center.

It will cost them something, but they just may need it more.