For 18-year-old high school senior Cheyanne from the Bronx in New York, her daily routine is heavy on two things: academics and athletics. This young woman has to have her eyes on the prize, so she more often than not tends to overlook what many girls her age obsess over: clothes and makeup.
With a goal of enlisting in the U.S. Army after high school, Cheyanne had just one more thing to do before she left home—that most American of school rituals, the senior prom. But as Cheyanne herself admitted, the typical prom aesthetic isn’t something she does often. “I do a lot of sports and there’s no need for me to put on makeup if I’m going to sweat it out,” she explained on the “Rachael Ray” show.
That’s why Ray with the help of makeup artist extraordinaire Mally Roncal decided to give Cheyanne the makeover of her life.
For Cheyanne’s mom, Suzanna, seeing her daughter looking her most beautiful for prom was one last wish before sending her off into the military. “You know I’m hoping to see you in a dress, right?” her mom gently fusses over her in the video. “It’s been a long time, I’m going to be excited.” For Suzanna, what made this prom so special was that Cheyanne was getting a chance to do something she hadn’t been able to. “I’m proud of her.”
But the makeover was going to be a big surprise for everyone involved as Cheyanne’s active lifestyle and tomboyish traits gave them preconceived notions about how she would look. From flag football to track and field to volleyball, Cheyanne even won 1st place in the New York State wrestling championships for her category, as well as the New York City championships.
This success in sports meant that most of Cheyanne’s wardrobe tended toward practicality rather than showy. She explained, “Most of the time, I just put on sweatpants, Crocs, high socks, call it a day with a sweater.” As she told one of her friends, the prospect of getting a makeover from master makeup artist and stylist Mally Roncal was pretty exciting. “Everybody really thought that I was going to wear, you know a suit. Maybe a tux?”
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When Cheyanne met Mally for a shopping spree at Macy’s, it was clear that the stylist, who’s worked for celebs such as Jennifer Lopez and Beyoncé, had bigger ambitions for this young woman’s prom. As Mally told the camera, “I’m looking for something that’s going to show that cute little figure of hers, but something that’s really different.”
Besides expert help picking out the cut and color of the perfect dress, Mally also sat Cheyanne down for a professional makeup tutorial, showing her how to address pimples, something that plagues many young adults, as well as how to accentuate her natural beauty. “You want to go just enough that you really get that great sexy look, but you don’t want to look somebody else,” she said.
Declaring both Cheyanne and her makeup “gorgois,” Mally felt she was ready for her hair to be done and put on the dress they had got at Macy’s. With her mom and Rachael Ray watching, Cheyanne strolled out onstage, and the contrast couldn’t have been more pronounced.
Cheyanne knew how much her mom dreamt of seeing her in a dress, if only for one evening.
“Oh my god!” Ray and Mally shouted out in unison. As for mom Suzanna, she had to cover her mouth as her jaw literally fell open and her eyes popped out. She just couldn’t believe how beautiful and grown up her daughter looked in a long, “high-low” black dress and sparkling, sequined pink flats and hoop earrings, with her hair done up.
There were tears on all sides as Ray beckoned to Suzanna to come up onstage to embrace her daughter. “Don’t cry, you look so pretty!” Ray told Cheyanne. The talk show host also gave Cheyanne $600 “that she can use to buy her prom tickets and get her hair and makeup done on the big day,” per her website.
All that was left was to enjoy the big surprise on everyone’s face when Cheyanne arrived in style on the big night.