Picture perfect gifts of home Morale booster: A photography business offers free make-overs and camera sessions for wives of men stationed in Bosnia.

February 21, 1996|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,SUN STAFF

Virginia G. Green looked simply gorgeous, but what else would you expect after a make-over and photography session at a professional shop? And the best part was, it was free.

Myrna and Malcolm Sears, who operate Be Dazzled at Marley Station mall, are offering the make-overs and photo sessions to the spouses of soldiers stationed in Bosnia to help boost their morale. It's the least they can do, they say.

"We felt like we would like to do something for our country and this is our way of contributing," said Mrs. Sears, 58. "The wives are down. The husbands are down. This will make both of them feel better."

Mrs. Green, whose husband is part of a combat camera unit that shipped out for Bosnia in December, was the first of the spouses to take advantage of the offer. Monday, she chose three outfits from a book of more than 100, then plunked down in a chair where Michele L. Thomas, a cosmetologist and hair stylist, curled her hair, applied mocha mauve blush make-up, dark eyeliner and mascara and wine-red lipstick.

The photographer, Karyn M. Bengermino, shot pictures of Mrs. Green with red feathers draped over her shoulders and long, black satin gloves covering her arms to her elbows.

The 26-year-old personnel administrator at Fort Meade posed in a white fur, with long, white satin gloves, a pearl necklace and earrings and a red rose held tight against her dress. Then she tried a green, lace bustier covered in black sequins.

"That's what we're looking for. Beautiful. Beautiful. Don't move," the photographer said.

Her husband, Staff Sgt. Marlon B. Green, 23, won't even recognize her, predicted Mrs. Green, who usually wears very little makeup.

"He's going to be like, 'Where's my wife?'" she joked as she admired herself in a mirror.

Mr. and Mrs. Sears got the idea for the free make-over and photo sessions last week after Michelle A. Yackiel walked into their shop to set up an appointment for a photo session. She hadn't seen her husband, Staff Sgt. Randall M. Yackiel, 31, since he left for Bosnia with the same photo unit as Sgt. Green and she wanted to surprise him with a glamorous picture, she said.

Instead of taking her money, the couple gave Mrs. Yackiel 30 gift certificates to distribute to a spousal support group at Fort Meade, where her husband's unit is based.

The certificates are good for a free make-over and a 5-inch-by-7-inch photograph, all done in a session that takes about 1 1/2 hours.

The spouses don't have to buy a full photo package, Mrs. Sears said.

But Mrs. Green, who viewed her pictures on a television monitor in the lobby, couldn't resist. She took the free one and bought the others.

"Oh wow. That is me. I like that. That is me," she said.

"Gorgeous. Gorgeous," said Mrs. Yackiel, who had accompanied her friend, Mrs. Green, to the session.

Now, Mrs. Yackiel, 33, is "really looking forward to" her session next month, she said.

Her friend "looks so good," she said. "My."

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