Published September 24, 2011
As designers around the world show collections the average person could never dream of affording, a few stars of the fashion world decided to give back to a group of teens battling life threatening illnesses.
Partnering with the Make a Wish Foundation, famed celebrity stylist Mary Alice Stephenson and “America’s Next Top Model” photographer Nigel Barker gave four girls a chance to escape the difficulties of their day-to-day struggles to glam up for a fashion makeover and photoshoot.
“The fashion industry has given me so much, and I love it and adore it, but I couldn’t continue in it without the layer of soul, and without the relationships and experiences that Make A Wish has given me,” Stephenson told FOX 411 on the set of the makeovers.
Stephenson, the National Fashion Ambassador for Make A Wish, put together the event along with her team. Calling in a few favors from pals like Barker and Angelina Jolie’s hairstylist Ted Gibson, they got to work on turning Angela, Azia, Shannon and Uniqwa into celebrities for the day.
The girls and their families were flown to New York City, where they toured the city and stayed at a swanky hotel. On set, they were primped by Hollywood’s finest makeup artists and stylists while they gave input on their looks. Racks of couture from the fashion industry’s biggest designers were brought in, including gowns worn by Eva Longoria, Jennifer Lopez and Halle Berry.
Angela Deep, who at 14 is battling a heart defect, connective tissue disorder and Ehler-Danos syndrome, gushed that she would be channeling Jordin Sparks to bring out her inner diva.
“Getting my makeup done was my favorite part,” she told FOX411, adding that it was a nice distraction from the chronic joint pain she suffers from.
“I think she looks great without makeup,” her father Bill Deep joked. “But I’m enjoying watching her have such a great time. To see a smile on her face and all the people fussing over her -- it’s very nice.”
Like Deep, the parents seemed to be enjoying watching their daughters, who all dream of becoming fashion models, laugh and enjoy trading in their doctor chair for a makeup chair for the day.
Aquanetta Davis, whose 17-year-old daughter Azia is battling Lupus, said through tears that her daughter’s dreams and determination keep her inspired.
“I really had to get my relationship right with God to encourage her to keep moving,” she told FOX411. “In the beginning it was hard, seeing your child sick and not being able to relate to her pain. But she encourages me. She has and has always had a positive attitude.”
Azia, who said she was going for an edgy look that channeled Rihanna, was thrilled to get the chance to live out her dreams and experience the power of thinking positively.
“I wanted the wish to be granted for a long time,” she said. “It felt so good to hear that I had been selected. And to get to work with Nigel Barker is so exciting.”
Barker, who jokingly said he would be “cracking the whip to make sure they strike a pose” said it was an honor to work with the girls. Working with Make A Wish since 2004, he told FOX 411 that each time he grants a wish, it is better than the last.
“It’s one of the most touching things a person can do to ask to work with you specifically,” he said. “I’m a father of two young girls myself, and I know if one of them had a wish, I would do everything in my power to grant it for them. So I’m happy to be able to do that for someone else’s child.”