Nicole Taipale and Cathy Austin

 

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Nicole Taipale, 16 
Cathy Austin, 48
Just breathe, reads the rose tattoo on Nicole's back. "I got it because my older brother and I both have cystic fibrosis, a lung disease," she explains. At 4'11" and 90 pounds, Nicole has a lithe dancer's body (she's been studying ballet since age 2½), but she says she'd like to look "a little older"—she's often taken for 12 or 13. Jeanine Lobell, founder of the Stila makeup line, does her up with "lots of lashes, smoky eyes, a pale, shiny mouth," and ultrahip stylist Sally Hershberger gives her "Gisele" hair (bouncy curls à la supermodel Gisele Bündchen). The look is perfect with a bubbly blue strapless Jovani dress ($350), which Nicole may wear for her prom. 

Her mother, Cathy, a childcare provider and preschool teacher in Citrus Heights, California, has never paid much attention to her looks—she wears no makeup and admits she hasn't changed her hairstyle since high school. She's transformed with a new chic, easy shag ("I think she dropped ten years," Hershberger says). "I love your hair!" Nicole tells her mom, who looks stunning in a floaty black Tadashi gown ($388). "But can you style it on your own?" "No, you're going to do it," Cathy says, and they both laugh.
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