“When people see aesthetic changes within themselves, they start to believe other types of change are possible.” Caroline MacGillivray, Executive Director of Beauty Night Society.
Beauty night is a charity I founded 18 years ago. What we do is provide programs to build self-esteem and change the lives of women and youth living in poverty. What that looks like is we go to different shelters, transition homes and offer wellness and beauty services to people who are experiencing homelessness, addiction, mental health, violence, and extreme poverty. We do this to build a community, build hope, and lay down a foundation of trust that things can change. We find that when people start to believe that change is possible then things start to evolve and change.
I never thought I would be doing beauty night until I had become rich and famous from acting, but I feel lucky and grateful to have worked with some pretty incredible women over the years. How this all began, I was in my teens and volunteering in the downtown East Side at a soup kitchen near a shelter and one night when I was there one of the women asked me what it was like being a kid. I asked her what do you mean and she said to me, “when I was 4 my father was sleeping with me, by the time I was 6 he was selling me, and by age 10 I was in and out of so many foster homes it was actually safer for me to be on the street.” I was floored.
As I got to know a lot of the women I could recognize those feelings in myself; feeling so low, so small, and so disconnected from myself where all I wanted to feel was clean. Being able to use tools that have made me feel really good, and use them to help heal other women has been incredibly gratifying.