Every once in a while a beauty influencer or brand comes along that’s so extraordinary in their efforts to give back, attention must be paid. Each Feel Good Friday, we’ll highlight these do-gooders along with simple ways to support their efforts.
Elan Bongiorno’s energy level is always at 10.
The celebrity makeup artist, who’s applied lipstick to everyone from Eva Longoria and Jane Fonda to Britney Spears, is using her enthusiasm to shine a spotlight on causes that move her the most. “Once a month I’m volunteering somewhere. If they don’t call me, I’m calling them. I really enjoy it,” says Bongiorno of her work with Beauty Bus Foundation, American Cancer Society, and Dress for Success.
At each organization she’s offered up her makeup know-how to makeover patients or those eager to re-enter the work force with a fresh look. She’s also devoted to conducting regular classes for clients or paying attendees (donating the proceeds to nonprofits) teaching beauty hacks like “the five-minute face” or the perfect smoky eye.
But it’s not enough for the unofficial spokesperson of each org to volunteer, she also wants to spread the word about the importance of giving back: “My advice is to find your gift and learn how you can truly make a difference using it,” she urges.
Here the founder of Enjoué Beauté shares her secrets for identifying the perfect philanthropic opportunity, how she’s starting a movement with “beauty tune-up” events, and the simple way you can support her efforts.
How she got involved with the Beauty Bus Foundation: Six or seven years ago I was desperately looking to get involved with something. You get to a point in your career and in your life where you say, “what else can I do?” I knew that as a makeup artist, I could make a difference in people’s lives. At that time I was working with Haven Hills, which is a domestic violence shelter. I used to go there once a month and give a makeup class and I thought “wow, I’m making such an impact here – and with them – I want to do more.” I wanted to work with women who aren’t feeling well and that’s how the Beauty Bus came about. I was friends with one of the founders at the time, Alicia Marantz Liotta, so I called her up and told her that this is what I’ve been looking for.
How to make an impact using your skills, according to Bongiorno: A lot of people want to volunteer but they don’t know how to go about it. You have to find things that connect with you. If you’re really good with children, maybe you can be a mentor, etc. It takes a little soul searching and a lot of google searching. I still do that.
Social media is also a really good search tool because you see what everyone else is doing. That’s how I got involved with the American Cancer Society. I never knew that they had a Look Good, Feel Better program for women who have cancer. I’m with them once a month as well.
Once you start volunteering, it’s addicting. You kind of want to keep doing it.
Up next for the do-gooder: I did a beauty extravaganza event around the holidays last year with 15 women from Dress for Success at the Ken Paves Salon. I brought my whole team in and we did a bunch of services. Eva [Longoria] donated a food truck, Ken donated his salon, my friends donated clothing and I donated makeup. We had nail technicians from the Beauty Bus and we had this whole day of beauty for women in need! I loved it! I want to do more of that.
Help her make a difference: Please spread the word about Beauty Bus and the other organizations I work with.
Everybody in their family has someone who is sick, about to get sick, has been through treatment, etc. Everyone has experienced this in their life at some point, and I think people need to know about the Beauty Bus and what we do. We really bring people’s dignities back.
You can also follow me on social media and RT if I do an event to create awareness.
Her finals words: If I can inspire one person, I did my job. That’s my way of giving back to the industry because the industry has been so good to me. It’s amazing and I love it.