Occupation: Software Developer
Kenisha Johnson, 32, was at home in Apex, North Carolina, reading the weekly online newsletter she gets from Oprah.com, when she saw this post: Do you want a makeover by the O beauty team? "Well, duh," she thought, and clicked her way to the link. She answered some questions ("What do you do to take care of yourself?" "Not much"); wrote a cover e-mail ("Dear Oprah, I have lost it! Lost touch with being beautiful, after two babies, a move, and a diagnosis of Graves' disease"); and asked her husband if he would take a photo she could upload onto the computer. "I filled out everything, hit 'submit,' and then I thought, 'Surely that's the end of it.'"
Reflecting on that afternoon, she breaks into a bright, high-spirited laugh. "And you phoned me the next week!" Which is how Kenisha, a software developer, found herself at the O magazine offices in New York City one sweltering day in August, anticipating a consultation with a quartet of world-class beauty experts: hairstylist Edris Nicholls, owner of the Edris Salon, and her senior colorist Joshua Dieffenbacher; makeup artist Rebecca Restrepo; and, for brows, Achilina Marinescu, from Eliza's Eyes . Once here, she was determined not to miss a thing. "I'm trying to be in the moment," she told me. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
Before meeting her dream team, Kenisha, whose consistently good nature could make any dark cloud proud of its silver lining, described her experience with Graves' disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes overactivity of the thyroid gland. "It was an interesting challenge," she said. Graves' manifests in ways that, if you've just had a baby, can seem a lot like postpartum symptoms. So Kenisha attributed her weight loss (more than 30 pounds over nine months), exhaustion, irritability, and anxiety to the fact that she had recently delivered her daughter, Kenadi (now 1 1/2), and to the fact that she was often chasing after her son, Myles (now 3). But a blood test revealed Graves', which Kenisha now controls with medication. She's feeling much better: more energetic, less anxious. "It's time to focus on looking as good as I feel," she said. "I'd resorted to a life of jeans—not the nice kind—T-shirts, and ponytails." In other words, Kenisha had become a frumpy mom.