AMERICAN FORK — Dianne Miller won a professional makeover in New York, but this 59-year-old Shelley Elementary teacher's story is really more about love than lipstick.
One of five winners, she was the only one escorted by her husband. "It wouldn't have been half as fun without him. Sharing that time together was hilarious," she said.
Her husband of four years, Steve Miller, wrote the contest entry letter and submitted it to the editors of Good Housekeeping Magazine. "Writing the letter was easy considering the subject matter," he said. He described her struggles while, as a single mom, she raised eight children on a teacher's salary. "She is a woman of uncommon beauty, faith and courage," he said.
He was afraid to send the letter fearing the judges wouldn't fully appreciate his wife who is also a member of The Mormon Tabernacle Choir. When he found she'd won, he felt validated. Dianne Miller has since read that letter. "I think they fell in love with you, not me," she told her husband.
Steve Miller disagrees. "They gravitated toward Dianne because of her sweetness. She was 25-30 years older than the rest, though she didn't look it, and they all called her 'Mom.' "
The two took some time for themselves into the trip but most of their time was spent on the new look.
One day was devoted to hair and coloring at the Bumble & Bumble salon, where the cost of a cut is $300-$400 dollars. "I got a killer haircut," she said.
She'd been cutting her own for 40 years. The new look is layered, but she insisted on leaving it long. "As a single mom, my hair got shorter and shorter as I got more and more depressed. I didn't want to go back to short hair."
Steve Miller loves the new look and has made her promise that she'll let a professional cut her hair again.
The pros knew what they were doing with make-up too. On Day 2 of the trip she was taught to use it sparingly. "Nobody really teaches this, but sometimes too much is not a good thing." The make-up artist refused to apply eyeliner on her and used light amounts of base, blush, mascara and shadow.
Dianne Miller was impressed with American Beauty Cosmetics, a division of Estee Lauder. "It's wonderful. It flows, yet flaws are covered up," she said.
Her eight children and 12 grandchildren were also impressed. "Wow, Mom," one daughter said. "You looked pretty good before, but, wow."
The required "after" shots were enough to make her husband cry. "The photographer had an ability to capture her. The real Dianne showed through," he said. Good Housekeeping's Fernando took over 100 photos and made each woman feel beautiful.
Like the other pros, he used some trade tricks. For instance, Miller was shot looking up. Her eyes look bigger and her hips appear smaller in full-body shots.
The "before" shots were actually the only problem. The photographer tried to get her to look sad or frown. She couldn't do it. "I'm just a happy person," she said.
Fernando the photographer had to settle for less than sad.
Steve said his wife's life provided him plenty of subject matter. "The only hard part," he said, "was keeping it under 200 words."
Susan Shelton is a teacher at Pleasant Grove High School and faculty advisor to the "Viking Crier."