Valentina Anderson grew up as an orphan in the Ukraine. She got a masters degree in Physical Education from St. Petersburg Sports Academy and worked as a sports trainer. After meeting her husband, she moved to America and has lived here for almost 12 years. It's an unlikely story for a candidate hoping to become Mrs. America. On the other hand, it's the perfect story for illustrating the American Dream.
I've had the opportunity to photograph Valentina on several occasions in preparation for the Mrs. Colorado Pageant coming up on May 15th. (I have access to tickets to the pageant if anyone is interested). She must submit several portraits to the magazine they print up for the pageant. This is the original color image she was going to submit:
Then she was able to get sponsored by two incredible stylists at Solera Salon. Her hairstylist was Leigh Ann Clark, and her makeup artist was Alicia Ryan.
I met Valentina at Solera Salon after these two incredibly talented stylists were done working their magic. Just look at Valentina now!
Holy cannoli! Would you look at that gorgeous woman! Even Valentina was shocked at how she looked. The transformation was amazing. We had such a great time taking pictures both inside and outside the salon. To top off the wonderful experience, I accidentally knocked a really expensive lamp off a table as I swung my purse over my shoulder. It shattered into--well, not a million--but very many tiny pieces. It was one of my proudest moments as a photographer, let me tell ya! I immediately told the owner of the salon to bill me, but she very kindly refused and cleaned up the mess. She was so nice to me, and even if the stylists there weren't fabulous, I'd still recommend Solera Salon, just because they don't get mad when you break their really expensive decorations and accessories. I'd recommend it to YOU. I am too ashamed to darken their door ever again. As Valentina and I walked out together, she said to me in her charming Russian accent, "I will give them something" (to make up for me breaking the lamp). She was so funny and so sweet. I really hope she wins the title of Mrs. Colorado. Then maybe her cash prize will be enough to replace the lamp :)
My name is Melissa Howell and I specialize in custom portrait design for your home. You can visit my official photography website at http://www.blueprintsphotography.com/ to view more of my work and to contact me to set up a consultation.