Becky With the Good Hair

Beauty Queens and a Hair Care Giant Offer Houston Women a Confidence Boost at Dress for Success

Farouk Shami, Miss Universe, and Miss USA provide makeovers and motivation.

By Abby Ledoux April 6, 2018

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Miss Universe Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters chats with a Dress for Success Houston client during a CHI hair-styling session.

It's no secret that a good hair day can change your entire outlook. And when it comes to nailing a crucial first impression—like, say, a job interview—that's doubly true.

"As a hairdresser, I know firsthand how helping a woman look her best can be incredibly empowering," said Farouk Shami, the creator of your favorite flat iron (Shami is chairman and founder of Texas-based Farouk Systems, which manufactures the CHI brand).

With that in mind, Shami teamed up with CHI brand ambassadors who also happen to be two top reigning beauty queens—Miss Universe Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters and Miss USA Kára McCullough—to bring great hair and a dose of motivation to the ladies of Dress for Success Houston on April 4.

Founded in 1998, the Houston chapter of Dress for Success is meant to provide career development resources—most notably appropriate interview attire—to low-income women on the path toward becoming economically self-sufficient. More than 40,000 women in the Houston metro area have taken advantage of the program since its inception; this year, DFSH hopes to service over 3,500 more.

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Farouk Shami meets with CHI stylists and DFSH clients.

At the private event held at DFSH's headquarters Wednesday, participants heard from Shami, Nel-Peters, and McCullough about confidence-building and self-empowerment. Don't for a second think that Miss USA and Miss Universe were only there to talk about hair, though: McCullough is a former scientist for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and Nel-Peters holds a business management degree from North-West University. The women shared their own career journeys with DFSH clients before holding meet-and-greets.

"The goal of this event and our partnership with DFSH is to encourage women to come out of this experience with a fresh new look and mindset a they continue to achieve their career goals," Shami said.

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Miss Universe, Shami, and Miss USA Kára McCullough are pictured with a DFSH client.

Naturally, participants also scored individual hair-styling sessions where they learned from stylists how to achieve their looks and took home CHI tools and products to replicate them before future interviews. After styling, a Farouk Systems photographer shot professional headshots for each client.

"While women may land a job after being suited at DFSH, the experience does not end there. It's about collecting the tools to not only land a job, but develop it into a career," DFSH vice president Lauren Levicki Courville said. "Building self-confidence, exposure to successful women, learning professional polish and presence through the tools that Farouk [provided] will stay with these ladies for life."

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