Laying the foundation for beauty

January 20, 2003

Susan Liu won the door prize last week in a program called "Timeless Beauty" at the Kiwanis-Wallas Recreation Center. She received a makeover.

The makeup artist was Baltimore resident Karim Orange, who likes to call herself a celebrity "makeup activist."

"It was nice," said Liu, a resident of east Columbia. "I really don't know what to tell you because I was the one who got the makeup. I didn't see anything. It was on my face."

Liu, who is retired, takes ballroom dancing classes. She doesn't often go to the Kiwanis-Wallas center in Ellicott City. "I'm busy person," she said, "so much to do at home." But she noticed the announcement in a catalog put out by the Department of Recreation and Parks, which sponsored the event, and wanted to learn about skin care.

"I don't usually put on too much makeup. That's why I like to learn how to apply something on my face naturally, not artificially," she said.

Orange, who said she has made up Aretha Franklin, Tom Hanks, Donald Trump and the Dixie Chicks, and was nominated for two Emmys for her work on The View, moved to Maryland from Los Angeles and New York in November 2001("I was doing the bi-coastal thing," she said).

Her ex-husband was on the first floor of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 and survived. Her daughter, Jazz, now 5, was in pre-kindergarten in upper Manhattan. Orange was in Los Angeles and couldn't get to New York until almost a week later.

When she did, Orange found her daughter sick with whooping cough, which she attributes to the smoke and debris from the collapse of the twin towers.

"It kind of put some things into perspective, reprioritized my life," Orange said. "So I decided to come to Maryland." Her first stop was her father's house in Columbia.

Now she is writing a book and planning to travel around the country documenting how women feel about beauty. She wants to interview women who have survived breast cancer, women in Alcoholics Anonymous, teen-agers, politicians, "all kinds of women," she said. "[It will be] an internal-external beauty book."

Twenty-four seniors attended the workshop at the Kiwanis-Wallas center. First they talked about diet, free radicals and antioxidants; then the importance of walking and "being physical" at any age, and the proper steps for skin care.

"Oh, it was wonderful," Orange said. "[We talked] a lot about how to exfoliate with brown sugar and water, and a woman told me about kosher salt. Everybody wanted to know what takes dark circles away. And I said, sleep."

Orange plans to work with Recreation and Parks to develop a program for seniors at Waverly Mansion in Marriottsville. "A whole 1940s day. Maybe have a little band and have [feather] boas, and dress up. Like a big dress-up kind of party," she said.

Meanwhile, Liu has kept a record of her experience, captured when she came home from the center. "My husband took a picture for me," she said, "so I know how I should put on the makeup myself."

For information about makeovers: 410-448-7808 or www.

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