Sharon Burns, a single mother of two small children, was waiting to get her hair done at the Roche Salon at the Serenity Day Spa, located at Worldgate, when fate walked in and sat down next to her.
Burns, 30, happened to look up and saw an entry box for a makeover contest and decided to put her name in the box.
"I had been very much a tomboy my whole life and happened to be at the salon to get my hair done. While I was waiting I was seeing people getting massages, their nails done and decided since I just turned 30, it was time to look like a girl," Burns said.
The Herndon resident was selected from about 3,000 entrants from 30 locations for a 12-week, $10,000 makeover offered by Serenity Day Spa, which includes a personal trainer; hair, makeup and spa treatments; dermatology; cosmetic dentistry; and a consultation with a plastic surgeon.
"The makeover contest was perfect," Burns said. "I had been looking into some surgeries like a tummy tuck and to get my teeth fixed."
BURNS WAS ORIGINALLY selected as one of 10 finalists, who then had to complete an essay explaining why they wanted the makeover.
"Sharon's essay was full of humor and was a photo essay," said Janice Nichols, vice president of Serenity Day Spa, which is a subsidiary of Sport and Health Clubs. "The reason we picked Sharon was her goals. They were a little deeper and intentionally thought out. We did get some 'I'm 60 and want a facelift.' One of the questions we asked was 'Are your goals realistic and can they be achieved in 12 weeks?'"
The goals Burns set for herself are designed to boost her self esteem and give her the energy to keep up with her children, a son, age 10, and a daughter, age 9.
"It does have an impact on my confidence. Going out and playing baseball with my kids and having the energy. When going to the pool, I'm hesitant to get in the pool with them because of the way I look," Burns said. "I've always been focused on working and the kids and never just stopped and said 'Sharon, now you.'"
While Burns has not explained the contest to her children because she does not expect the process to impact them, she has told some of her friends, who she says can't wait to see the end result. She is also trying to remain realistic and not expect too much from her prize.
"I know I could loss 20 pounds or 5 inches, but if I end up losing 10 pounds, I've reached my goal. And getting my teeth fixed would help with my headaches," Burns said. "My goal is to have more energy and to feel better. I don't think I'm overweight or extremely ugly. I'm not expecting to come out looking like Miss Universe or a super model."
NICHOLS SAID for the contest, the company enlisted the services of local physicians. Dr. Robert Adrian is offering Botox treatment, laser hair removal and other dermatology treatments. Dr. Denis Peper Jr. has offered dental whitening and discounted cosmetic dentistry. And Dr. Barry Cohen has offered a complimentary plastic surgery consultation. Nichols said the company is prohibited from offering the actual surgery as a prize in a contest.
"We're only dealing with the top surgeons in the area," Nichols said. "I've seen their work and they are really nice guys."
In addition, the company is offering a spa treatment including manicures, three facials, three massages, three pedicures, a makeup lesson and spa products; hair design from the salon including hair coloring, haircuts and styling; and 12 personal training sessions and three nutrition counseling sessions.
As of June 2, Burns had not decided what treatments and procedures she wanted.
"With everything that's involved … I haven't decided. I'm open for all of it since they are the experts," Burns said.
This is the first makeover contest Serenity has offered, but Nichols said she hopes to make it an annual event.
"I got the idea from the TV show, 'Extreme Makeovers' and thought we could do this and do it better," Nichols said. "We can focus on well being."
Nichols said that while the aim is overall fitness, "the fact is, there are things that can not be corrected at a spa.
"It does change people, to feel good about what they see in the mirror," she said.
After the 12-week period is over, however, it will be up to Burns to continue what she started on her own.
The spa will post monthly updates on Burns' makeover, including photographs on its Web site.