Reveal Beauty is not a beauty organization that you would not forget. This organization is doing more than enhancing women’s looks. This organization is improving lives for women who are survivors of domestic and sexual abuse. Reveal Beauty has curated programs aimed to empower these women of self-love and unity. Along with workshops that are giving essential tools to re-enter society, such as self-care focused on fashion, beauty, health, and professional development. One of the makeover program volunteers and leaders, Michael Palladino, and his thoughts on how this program is enhancing women’s lives.
The Queen Sessions: How are you equipping your team to help educate those on the importance of self-love & discovery during a time when mental health is declining for most millennial and gen z women?
Michael Palladino: Building a volunteer not-for-profit organization like Reveal Beauty whose purpose is to raise awareness and offer hope to survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse is a formidable task. To work in this arena and confront one of the most heinous of behaviors we need to be self-aware, confident and have a thorough understanding of domestic violence; its meaning, how it manifests and how we can be part of the healing process.
We offer our team DV awareness training as well as trauma informed relief should an experience trigger an emotional response. Volunteering in itself becomes a release of helplessness and can build confidence in both the volunteer and the client. Our volunteers are eager to help those who are directly affected by the Pandemic. For our volunteers that means survivors of domestic violence. We each feel the ongoing mental fatigue of the news—and empathize with those who have even less options. Domestic violence thrives in a lockdown situation as the women are literally locked in with their abuser.
That is a different and deadly kind of realty. But let me very clear, there is no profile to what victims of DV look like; this is a numbers game. One in four women are affected by Intimate Partner Violence. That means if you are in a group of eight women, two are victims. Often cases go undisclosed as there is a stigma attached to such a declaration. With the rising incidences of law enforcement not treating all people equally there is a hesitance to report DV. Many women are ashamed and choose to not disclose and bear this mantle. The lives of these women matter and they need to know we will not stand in judgement but in solidarity with hope and a plan.
What would you say is the key importance of your work when it comes to connecting with the community?
The key importance of our work is to be effective communicators with our community; listening to our shelter partners, listening to their clients and responding to their needs. Our work is client driven and not a cookie cutter delivery of what we think is important. Very often in our workshops participants are elated to have their voices heard as they are were silenced by their abusers and muted by the din of the world around them. At Reveal Beauty we learn from listening and therefore can better serve their needs. I have attached a few “personal branding boards” that were made during our You Are Your Own Brand workshops.
With the conversation of women becoming more unified, which topic would you say we need to touch upon more to be more connected with each others womanhood journey?
Women have always been a strong presence in my life, from my mother Silvia, to my fifth grade teacher Mrs. Nicholas at PS 156 in Laurelton, to my now deceased friend and mentor Muriel Glasgow. They shared more than their gender, they each allowed me to see past my own; to develop and nurture the power in everyone. Of course their journey was always a battle against mythology created by men to control their narrative and make it work in a society which marginalized them systematically. They were dominated by an unchecked accepted notion that had no base in reality but was rooted in a need for power and male domination. I think as boys and men we need to be less concerned with gender and more aware of individual potential. The path to the future is about sharing the conversation and finding
the connections and solutions listening can bring. We need to identify the impediments that stop women from moving forward. We need to address them so that there are no barriers to the possibilities of choice, freedom and a mind freed.
Your makeovers are to provide love and strength, what are some tips you give to these women after their transformation?
Our annual Make-Over Event is highly anticipated among our guests and shelter partners. It is a day focused on women as they reclaim what was taken and restore the confidence of which they were robbed. From skincare, to hair and make-up tips, to actual wardrobe styling and selection our guests revel in the attention they receive and leave our event glowing with hope. It is our hope that these women will continue the spirit of the day through our workshops and might see themselves as they were before their voices were silenced.
Having led the “Styling Team” for several years we treat these women as clients in a luxury specialty store. We offer suggestions and help them make informed wardrobe choices. Having dressed women for over twenty years professionally I instruct our team in how to make suggestions based on body type, an understanding of fabric and overall silhouette. The women respond to this attention and listen intently as we explain the importance of choice. It not about transformation as much as it is about reclaiming what was lost. When they look into the mirror they see themselves as if for the first time.
Lastly, what words would you connect to your organization to describe how you feel about the work you’re doing?
At Reveal Beauty we start each meeting with an affirmation of our work through these words which are a part of who we are, what we do and how we envision the future.
Empower: Restore confidence, build self-awareness and re-establish a sense of self-worth
Beauty: Return the focus to the power of inner beauty that will shine through and light the way forward.
Dignity: Understand our own value and importance. Stand tall in your space.
Strength : As we reach a sustained level of self-discovery we will realize our full potential and ability to live our dream and speak our truth.
To find our more on how you can volunteer and be apart of Reveal Beauty’s work, check out the website: www.revealbeauty.org. Also, don’t miss out on all they will offer during the month of October for Domestic Violence Awareness month: Information Thursdays to include interviews and panel discussion plus our first Virtual Silent Auction which will feature one-of a kind items and unique experiences!