Image Credit: Anas Thacharpadikkal

Devaka Guragain, 35, house help from Nepal

I hail from a small town called Ilam in Nepal. Since I come from a very poor background, I could study only until Grade 8. To make matters worse, my mother passed away when I was very young. I came to Dubai in 2014 to look for better job prospects. That was a lucky break but I could speak only Hindi so there were not a lot of jobs available for a person with my qualification. I got a job as a house maid and I must say I like working for the people who employed me; they are very nice and kind.

I have a son, Saugat, who is 16 and studying in Grade 11. He wants to be a computer engineer and I hope I will be able to help him realise his dream. I am working hard just so I can put him through college and give him a good education.

There are no proper internet services or mobile networks back in Ilam so I get to call my son only once a month when he comes to an area where there are telephone services. I travel to Nepal every year to meet my family but due to Covid that couldn’t happen last year.

Despite her meagre income, Devaka has helped send to school at least five students in her hometown Image Credit: Anas Thacharpadikkal

Since I myself couldn’t study much, I want to help other students back in my hometown who want to study. Although I don’t earn a lot of money, I keep aside a portion of my earnings to help students who cannot afford school or college. Over the years, I guess I must have helped at least five students.

My dream is to be able to build a small house in Ilam. Once my son completes his education and gets a job, I will return to Nepal and I plan to settle there peacefully.

This opportunity for a makeover is really amazing because I haven’t really been to a beauty parlour before. I will show the pictures to everyone back home and I am sure they will be really surprised.

Stylist’s tips

Keeping in mind Devaka's perfect hourglass body shape, we decided on a bodycon dress look for her to show off her toned body. And the dress’ dazzling blue hue was in tune with her lively, upbeat attitude.

Jumpsuit Dh99; Belt Dh29; Quilted phone pouch purse Dh39; Ear studs (part of a set) Dh15; all from Splash Fashions; Ankle strap sandals Dh149, Haadana at Shoemart Image Credit: Anas Thacharpadikkal

Jumpsuits are one of the coolest fashion trends currently, but suit those with toned abs. Those with a slight bulge can wear a shapewear underneath to create a trim look. Finally, cinch the waist with a belt and you are good to go.

Make-up artist’s tip

Hair: Devaka has naturally curly shoulder length hair, which she usually ties in a ponytail behind her ears. For the shoot, we gave her a straight hair blow dry and parted it with face-framing loose strands as this has a softening effect on the face and the jawline.

Ribbed texture bodycon dress with scalloped edge detail Dh89; Clutch bag with chain link detail Dh79; Hoop earrings (part of a set) Dh9; Belt Dh29; all from Splash Fashions; Block heels Dh129, Celeste at Shoemart Image Credit: Anas Thacharpadikkal

Eyes: There is a current trend to do your brows quite strongly, but Devaka has dark and bold brows and therefore we left her natural brows as is. To enhance her big eyes, we created a subdued smokey effect, added a smudged liner and finished the look with a lighter version of false lashes.

We went for a full-coverage complexion for her as that helps to camouflage skin colour and texture issues if any. We even used foundation itself in place of concealer for seamless blending.

Mimi Temori, 30, nanny from Ethiopia

I arrived in Dubai nine years ago hoping to make a better life for myself and my family who are back in Ethiopia. Last year I got employed by this wonderful family to be a nanny to their 8-month-old daughter Sophie.

I have a three-year-old daughter, Rayr, who lives with my family in Ethiopia. From whatever I earn, I try to send as much I can to my family to ensure my daughter and my family are well take care of.

Mimi has been recently employed by a “wonderful family” to be a nanny to their 8-month-old daughter Sophie Image Credit: Anas Thacharpadikkal

There are days when I truly miss her. I was planning to go back home to visit her last year but my travel plans had to be cancelled due to Covid. I feel sad when I think about my daughter and I wonder when I will get to see her again. But taking care of Sophie is like being with my baby girl.

It was my employer, Ms Maryam, who told me about this opportunity to feature in Friday magazine for a makeover shoot by Splash. I was so excited I couldn’t sleep properly till the day came.

One of my dreams was to get my hair straightened and put on nice make-up, and I am so happy that it has come true. I am delighted to have got a chance to be part of this nice gesture and I hope I will get more chances like this.

Stylist’s tips

For Mimi’s black and white striped top and pants outfit, our aim was to camouflage any bulges around the waist, and adding a short trucker jacket does that job quite effectively. Although traditionally horizontal stripes are not known for creating a flattering effect, especially on a plus size person, the desired effect can be achieved if it is slightly covered either with a solid blazer or a plain jacket.

Ribbed high-neck top Dh49; Denim trucker jacket Dh99; Skinny pants Dh79; Fabric belt bag Dh49; Ear studs (part of a set), Dh15; all from Splash Fashions Image Credit: Anas Thacharpadikkal

Skinny black pants in a stretchable fabric are a superb alternative to regular straight-legged black trousers. A pair of black fitted pants are a must-have staple in every wardrobe as it lends itself to creating endless outfit options. To add a dash of sophistication, team it with an elegant blouse but if aiming for a relaxed vibe, combine it with a casual top. For a sporty look, simply team it with a hoodie or a t-shirt.

Make-up artist’s tips

Eyes: Mimi has alluring big eyes and we wanted to highlight her eyes by giving her a winged and lifted eyeliner but in a subdued way. Going for false lashes in a foxy style is also a great idea with her kind of eyes. Unlike other lashes, foxy lashes are different whereby the eyelid on which the lashes sit is fully visible as there is separation between each lash and the next one.

Satin top Dh79; Skinny pants Dh79; Embellished satin clutch Dh120; Ear studs (part of a set) Dh15; all from Splash Fashions Image Credit: Anas Thacharpadikkal

Lips: Mimi has naturally pouty lips and we went with deep and bright lip colours to accentuate her full lips. These lip colours are also great for her as they are in sync with her cheerful persona and brighten up her high-wattage smile.

Hair: For styling Mimi’s hair, we decided against altering her natural Afro hair texture, and instead aimed at giving her a hairstyle with her natural hair that is easily doable for her in daily life too. To tame the volume and frizz, the hair was prepped with a ‘co-wash’ whereby the hair is simply rinsed with plain water, followed by conditioning and totally skipping the shampooing step. Next, we use a hydrating leave-in cream conditioner to style such hair in our desired high pony look.

Meeta Solanki, 59, teacher’s assistant from India

I am from Mumbai and have been in the UAE for almost 27 years. I came here when my son Harsh was one-and-a-half years old. For the past 10 years I have been working as a teacher’s assistant in a reputed school in Sharjah teaching kindergarten students. It’s a job that I love – interacting with young children all through the day is something that I truly enjoy and find fulfilling.

I lost my husband four years ago; he suffered a heart attack. It was a life-changing moment for us and we faced a few tough years as my son was still in college and I had to make ends meet.

For the past decade, Meeta has been teaching kindergarten students as a teacher’s assistant in Dubai Image Credit: Anas Thacharpadikkal

Harsh is 28 now. Things were looking up when he got a job but then Covid struck and he was one of the people in his firm whose position was made redundant. For close to a year, he was busy hunting for a new job and those were worrying times. Luckily he landed a job as a field officer in a bank and today we are in a much better place.

My dream? I hope to see him married and settled soon.

Since the pandemic struck and after much of education has gone online, I too have adapted to the situation and have been teaching the students virtually. It is no small task getting small children to sit quietly before a device and pay attention for three or four hours every working day to a teacher who is based in a remote location. As kindergarten teachers, we have to keep doing different activities to hold their attention and get them to concentrate on the topic or lesson because their attention span is short and they can get frustrated and tired very easily. Nevertheless, despite some challenges, overall, it has been a very good experience and children are also adapting very quickly.

Mini dress with ruffle detail on shoulders Dh89; Ear studs (part of a set) Dh15; all from Splash Fashions; Open-toe slip ons Dh189, Elle at Shoemart Image Credit: Anas Thacharpadikkal

I am very happy for this opportunity to be featured in Friday magazine. I was recommended by a close family friend’s daughter, Krishika, and I’ve never done anything like this before in my life. I do visit a beauty salon but very rarely, so this makeover has been a great experience. I can’t wait to see my son’s reaction when I reach home after this makeover session.

Stylist’s tips

A modern loose mini dress takes years off Meeta’s appearance. But, remember, in order to achieve an effortless vibe it is important to be comfortable in a short-length outfit.

It is an often-ignored aspect of style, but bad standing posture can affect how a particular outfit looks and can negate the elegant vibe of an attire. Working on one’s posture is an integral aspect of achieving good style.

Make-up artist’s tip

Eyes: Meeta wears glasses and we kept that in mind as overly heavy eye make-up can create problems for spectacle-wearers. We kept the eyeliner soft by using powder eye shadow as a liner. For volumising the lashes, we opted to use mascara only and not false lashes. Another plus of this subtle make-up is that Meeta can easily recreate this look to use in her everyday life too.

Cuffed jogger pants with pocket detail Dh99; Flared sleeve blouse Dh99; Ear studs (part of a set, Dh15; Clutch bag with chain link detail Dh79, all from Splash Fashions; Block heels Dh129, Celeste at Shoemart Image Credit: Anas Thacharpadikkal

Lips: Meeta is not used to wearing too much make-up and that’s one reason why we opted for a subtle lip colour for her. We avoided any overly bright lipsticks, but went with a youthful subtle pink matte lip shade and matched it with a fresh pink blush on the cheeks.

Hair: Meeta has soft, shoulder-length hair but just a few minutes after blow drying it into soft curls, it tends to go flat. For such hair, any loose hairstyle first calls for generous backcombing so as to achieve the effect of volume and bounce.

Baljurie Solis Marcelo, 25, janitor from the Philippines

I am a Filipina and a single mother of two children, Kurt, 7, and Kim, 3. My children are staying with my brother and his family back in the Philippines.

I came to Dubai almost two years ago so I can save some money and give a better life to my children. Not having my children with me is difficult and does make me sad, but luckily my mother, Angel, who also works in Dubai as a house help, lives close by. Since I get to meet her quite often, I don’t feel so homesick.

While in the Philippines, I had started studying Business Administration and was keen to major in Marketing Management. However, I could not complete my course due to personal reasons. But I don’t plan to give up. I hope to rejoin university and complete my education so I can get a better job.

A bubbly and sporty persona, Baljurie plans to eventually complete her studies in Business Administration Image Credit: Anas Thacharpadikkal

I enjoy reading books and listening to music in my free time and my favourite singer is Dua Lipa.

I do visit a parlour once in a while to colour my hair, but much as I would love to do a manicure and a pedi, I avoid those services because I can’t afford to pay for them and that would eat into my savings. So when I heard about this opportunity to get a makeover, I was quite excited and nervous at the same time.

Actually, it was a friend of the lady I work for who called and asked if I would be interested in participating in the Friday and Splash makeover project. I was not sure whether I should go for it but it was my mother who pushed me. "Go for it," she said. "Do not let go of such a good opportunity in life."

A-Line midi dress Dh89; Ear studs (part of a set) Dh15; Belt Dh29; all from Splash Fashions; Ankle-strap sandals Dh149; Haadana at Shoemart Image Credit: Anas Thacharpadikkal

The experience of the makeover is something I’ll cherish for the rest of my life. The stylist and photographers were very friendly and made us feel very pampered. After the session, I couldn’t believe it was me when I looked in the mirror.

My dream? I want to complete my education and get a good job so I can join my eldest brother and sister who are in the US. I hope to settle there someday and take my children and mother along with me as well.

Stylist’s tips

Baljurie is someone who is constantly bustling with energy and we decided to bring her fun-loving exuberance to the forefront by adding an electric pink statement bag to her sporty attire. Neon accessories not only inject an element of youthful fun to the entire look but also help break the monotony of a monochrome outfit.

Going by Baljurie’s sporty persona, when dressing her up in a delicate A-line midi dress, we were debating whether to style it with trainers or classy high heels. But we’re glad we chose the latter, as nothing beats the glamorous combo of an elegant dress with high heels.

Make-up artist’s tip

Eyes: Keeping in mind Baljurie’s monolid Far Eastern eyes, we aimed for a dark smokey matte effect to pop up the eyes. Matte eyeshadows are the preferred option if one is aiming for a smokey eye look for the daytime, while shimmery shadows are best suited to evenings. To finish off, we used a light version of faux lashes, as otherwise eyes tend to look unnaturally made-up.

Cotton shirt dress Dh99; Bag Dh59; Bracelets (part of a set) Dh15; Ear studs (part of a set) Dh15; all from Splash Fashions; Chunky sneakers Dh149, Haadana at Shoemart Image Credit: Anas Thacharpadikkal

Hair: Baljurie is blessed with healthy straight hair so we smoothened her straight hair and left them bouncy in volume too. But when styling naturally straight hair, it is essential to ensure that the ironing process does not leave the hair looking flat.

One of the tricks to achieve a seamless make-up look is to use your blush in a similar tone to your lipstick. So, if you are using a peach lip colour, go for a peachy blush too; and if you’re using a pink lipstick, opt for a subtle pinkish shade of blush. We not only gave Baljurie a pink lipstick to match her statement pink bag, but also used a matching pinkish-hued blush.

Styling by Indu Saksena Bedi, make-up and hair by Priyanka Sarkar.

Read more