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Beginnings - by Mila Kragulj

At 19 years old you get used to juggling a full-time course load, a part-time job and if you’re anything like me - dealing with the reality of impulsive shopping decisions (like buying the puppy you’ve always dreamed of). On November 18th, 2018 I found myself working at my part-time weekend evening job as a hostess in Downtown Vancouver, having picked up a brunch shift for this Sunday morning. It was a slow shift, going through the motions of answering phone calls and seating guests, almost dismissing one of the most interesting people I have met. That was the day I met JoAnn Fowler. Laptop in hand, she had requested a table for two for a meeting and immediately I took her to my favourite table (table three). Within the next five minutes I would be introduced to a perspective on makeup that had barely crossed my mind.

By this age, especially as a girl, you’ve been exposed to make-up for two decades.  Introduced as subtly as the first time you ever noticed the long eyelashes and blush cheeks of a Barbie or seen your mother getting ready for family brunch on Sunday morning. Seeing the transformation from a natural and clean slate into a polished more confident smile is extremely powerful and influential. You suddenly see the beauty of both faces, but the effect that is achieved by a little extra makeup is enticing. It holds the ability to change the way we carry ourselves, gives an air of enhanced visual appearance and most importantly, gives us the opportunity for self expression. It gives the user autonomy and authority through the choice to apply makeup or to choose not to apply it at all.

It was incredible how fast JoAnn had learned about my passion for writing and for working with others. She had introduced herself as the founder of Sappho New Paradigm Cosmetics and an Emmy Award nominated makeup artist living in Vancouver. She had even taken care to notice the little makeup I had on that morning and complimented the way I had applied it. I usually apply a natural makeup look, on nights out using false eyelashes and a few more splashes of colour to my face, but that morning I had my regular everyday makeup (with a little bit more highlight). JoAnn quickly introduced me to the idea of clean and green beauty. She described her line as clean in the sense that the ingredients used are vegan and organic; even the packaging had been selected to be as environmentally-friendly as possible.  Her question, “Do you write?”, simultaneously sparked a new creative opportunity and personal journey for me. Both of us had been in the right place at the right time- JoAnn had been looking for a blog writer for her cosmetics line and I was looking for a new creative project.

With the promise to keep in touch and reach out via email, JoAnn enjoyed a beautiful Sunday morning brunch and I completed my weekend of hostess shifts.