Saturday, May 21, 2011

Starting Over With Style: The Longhairlovers Interview With Andy Paige

Andy Paige
Photo courtesy
 Andy Paige is a relentless hunter. Not for big game, mind you, but for beauty bargains of all kinds - clothes, makeup, hair care - you name it.

"I love a bargain," Paige said from her office in New York City. "I take a hunter's approach to beauty probably because of where I grew up in Alabama. The men went hunting and fishing at 5 a.m. then came home and displayed their prizes. I do the same with shopping."

I had the good fortune to speak with Paige on the one-year anniversary of her first day in the Starting Over House. If you're not familiar with Starting Over, it's the first reality series to hit daytime television. Women of all ages and backgrounds live and learn from each other, as well as from life coaches Rana Walker and Ronda Britten. Each woman works toward her personal goals, and when she achieves them (and officially "starts over"), she graduates from the house with great fanfare.

Paige's primary goal was to learn to trust herself and other women so she could grow a successful career in the beauty industry. It took 8 1/2 weeks in the house for Paige to develop the confidence and courage she needed to break out on her own.

"Graduating from the Starting Over House was the beginning, not the end," Paige said. "Everything wasn't automatically fixed. I couldn't just sit back and expect success to fall in my lap. Once the door was cracked, I was relentless in following a lead to the ends of the earth."

Paige's unrelenting spirit has paid off. Since leaving the house, she has founded Cents of Style, an organization dedicated to helping women build their wardrobes for $100 or less. She is a spokesperson for Nice 'N Easy and Colgate, and is a much sought-after beauty consultant, leading both private and group "Beauty Boot Camps". Projects in the works include a book, television show, cosmetic coaching videos, and Style Contributor duties for a major magazine.

A Dream Come True:
Andy's Own Make Up Brush Set
Of all of these projects, however, Paige positively lights up when talking about the Andy Paige Cosmetic Brush Set - her new line of top-of-the-line makeup brushes at a down-to-earth price.

Face make up powder brushes
Photo courtesy

"This is the brush set of my dreams," Paige said, "and it's economical for all women. It's truly the last set of cosmetic brushes you'll ever have to buy."
Paige said good brushes are so important because the right tools allow for the best cosmetics application - no matter what kind of makeup you use.

"Natural brush hair makes such a difference when it comes to blending makeup," she said. "That's because natural hair, such as goat, squirrel, sable and mongoose, contain pores - tiny pockets that collect color and allow for even placement."

Paige is so knowledgeable about beauty because she began working in the industry as a model at age 13. She signed with such top agencies as Wilhelmina and Ford, and moved to New York when she was 17. Two major tragedies in her life, however - the death of her twin sister and being sexually assaulted as a teenager - altered the path her life would ultimately take.

"No one grows when things are going great in life," Paige said. "When bad things happen, you become open to change and learning.

"I went through an 'uglification process' where I used food to fill a void and gained a lot of weight," she said. "I no longer wanted to be attractive and thought my modeling career was over." But her career had only begun. Paige became one of the first full-figured models in the United States and was determined to help others build their confidence and self-esteem through beauty.

"Feeling beautiful can actually make you a more productive and purposeful person. You make eye contact more often when you feel good about yourself."

A major part of feeling beautiful, according to Paige, is a great hair style.

"It's important to keep your hair updated," she said. "You can have long hair, but you must have a style - not just cranial plumage! Updating your hair keeps you current, modern and sophisticated."

Although she believes in investing in the proper hair tools such as a good brush, hair dryer, and flat iron, Paige loves a hair care bargain.

"I'm all about the Suave Professional line (about $1.99 for 14.5 ounces). They mimic the much more expensive brands," she said. "Two of my favorite styling products for creating straight, glossy hair are Citre Shine (about $7 for 4 oz) and John Frieda Secret Weapon (about $5 for 4 oz)."

Although the popularity of hair accessories ebbs and flows, Paige said her perennial favorite is an elegant scarf.

"When used to create a simple chignon, a scarf adds drama to your outfit," she said.

As part of the Starting Over process, Paige had to feel comfortable claiming "expert status" by believing in her talents. Today, women across the country are validating her claim by packing her Cents of Style workshops. For information on where you can see Paige in person, check her online schedule or book her for a personal consultation by emailing

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