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SUNDAY, JULY 29, 2007
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Decatur beautician Abby Tyler, 65, at the Mission Makeover Reveal concert after a 1½-year process of surgeries. Her identity remained a secret until the party.
Daily photo by John Godbey
Decatur beautician Abby Tyler, 65, at the Mission Makeover Reveal concert after a 1½-year process of surgeries. Her identity remained a secret until the party.

Way to glow
Before, this Decatur beautician’s inner beauty didn’t match her outer self. Now, with the Mission Makeover team’s help, she can finally shine with pride.

By Danielle Komis Palmer
dpalmer@decaturdaily.com · 340-2447

Abby Tyler was always in front of a mirror, but never saw herself.

The Decatur beautician usually focused on her clients’ reflections, not hers.

She didn’t realize what she looked like until she recently saw old pictures of herself. When had she aged and become the old, tired-looking woman in the photograph, she wondered.

Fresh after an “extreme” makeover, Tyler no longer looks old and tired. In fact, few would probably believe she is 65 years old.

Tyler’s extreme makeover began 11/2 years ago when she was selected by a local team of professionals as their second-ever “Mission Makeover” candidate. Members of the makeover dream team joined forces a few years ago to change someone’s life, showcase their skills and raise money for a good cause.

Abby Tyler went through a 1½-year process with Mission Makeover, undergoing many procedures.
Courtesy photo by Carole Foret
Abby Tyler went through a 1½-year process with Mission Makeover, undergoing many procedures.
The makeover is a volunteer project to raise money for the Decatur General Foundation and Habitat for Humanity.

It was put together by Carole Foret, photographer; Dr. Ben Light, facial plastic surgeon; Glenn Mitchell, stylist; Dr. Chris Teichmiller, optometrist; and Dr. Stephanie Teichmiller, cosmetic dentist.

Her identity remained a secret throughout the process until last weekend, when the team threw a benefit reveal party and concert for Tyler at Princess Theatre Center for the Performing Arts.

The experience offered the Decatur woman a chance to have someone (six someones, actually) dote on her for a change.

Giving and giving

After working more than 35 years as a beautician, often giving away haircuts to clients she knew struggled with money, her extreme makeover was a welcome role reversal for Tyler.

“Sometimes I go into a total shock of reality,” she said. “All I’ve done is work and work and give and give.”

With her first husband disabled for much of their marriage, she felt pressure to bring home enough money to support him and their two children.

“The utilities had to be paid,” she said. “In the meantime, I got neglected.”

Drooping eyelids

Tyler met Dr. Light of Renaissance Aesthetic Center a year before she became a mission makeover candidate. She visited his office for a free consultation, desperate because the skin above her eyes had become so droopy that it obstructed her vision. The thought had even crossed her mind to prop up her eyelids using matchsticks, she said.

Light’s gentle demeanor immediately put her at ease, and she agreed to get a browlift and to remove fat above and below her eyelids. Soon after, she found out about the mission makeover project Light was involved in.

After ensuring that her family would not be embarrassed if she got involved, she applied, and was chosen from 100 other applicants. Her surgeries began soon after, as well as her “little stories” she told to conceal her new identity as the candidate.

“I was stung by bees many times,” she said, smiling.

However, the process was not very painful, she said. In fact, the most pain she endured was during the reveal event last weekend when her new shoes squished her toes.

Though some challenges arose throughout the process. It was difficult to stay out of the sun because Tyler loves gardening. Also, getting used to contact lenses after years of wearing glasses was extremely difficult, she said.

“I thought, the minute this is over, I’ll be taking these things out,” she said. “Now, I hope I never have to take them out.”

The transformation also was hard for Tyler’s family. Her husband, Larry, whom she had married less than a year before she began her transformation, worried about her undergoing all the surgeries and warned her against it.

But she believed in her heart it was the right thing to do.

“I told him ‘Just be quiet, I do not need to hear your negative opinion,’ ” she said.

‘She smiles all the time’

Donna Quarto, the first Mission Makeover contestant, left, with this year’s winner, Abby Tyler.
Daily photo by John Godbey
Donna Quarto, the first Mission Makeover contestant, left, with this year’s winner, Abby Tyler.
Her daughter, Sabrina Weaver, who now works for Light as director of marketing, said she was happy to see her mother finally on the receiving end of beauty improvement.

“She works behind a mirror and she feels so young and vibrant and acts that way,” she said. “It was hard for her to look up and see someone who doesn’t reflect her inner self. She’s a lot more confident and she smiles all the time now.”

The only problem Tyler is left to face is how to properly thank the makeover team, she said.

Before the reveal event, she would wake up in the middle of the night, wondering how she could possibly express her deep gratitude.

“Thank you just doesn’t seem to be enough,” she said. “I’ve never had such royal treatment before.”

Tyler received a brow lift, upper and lower blepharoplasty, a chemical peel, Botox, Restylane skin treatment, lip enhancement, a completely restored smile, contact lenses, and red haircolor and updated makeup.

She highly recommends plastic surgery or any other kind of physical self-improvement to anyone who can afford it. No one should be afraid to take pride in their appearance, she said.

“Once all the demanding ends are taken care of then it should be you,” she said. “We all have pride. You know, birds groom themselves. And there’s nothing vain in it.”

Abby’s procedures

Plastic Surgery

  • Facelift

  • Browlift

  • Upper & Lower Blepharoplasty (removing fat and excess skin from upper and lower eyelids)

  • Laser peel

  • Lip enhancement (skin taken from Abby’s cheek was placed inside the lips to make them plump)

  • Botox therapy

  • Restylane treatment (dermal filler that
    restores volume and fullness to the skin)

  • Obagi Skin Care
    System (to care for the skin)

    Eyes

    Replaced glasses with contact lenses

    Teeth

  • Porcelain crowns in the front

  • Porcelain veneers in the lower front

  • Replaced missing teeth and restored teeth with porcelain crowns

    Hair

  • Red hair color (Aveda)

  • Graduated bob
    haircut

    Makeup

  • Copper, bronze
    eyeshadow (Aveda)

  • Nude lipstick (Aveda)

    Are you next?

    Would you like to be the next Makeover Mission candidate? If so, visit www.missionmakeover.com. Both men and women are invited to apply.

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