Mariann Donato Entry #2: The Makeover

I had a most amazing day yesterday - one that, in a million years, I never thought possible. I have Tory to thank for every single minute of it.

What a Cinderella-like day. It began at noon yesterday where I met up with Tory, an ABC camera man, a revered hair-stylist (to many celebs, including Diane Sawyer), a master make-up artist and Carolina Leid, a general assignment reporter from ABC. It all took place at Saks Fifth Avenue Salon.

I arrived looking like what I refer to as my "old ragged self" and left looking and feeling more confident than ever, thinking that I can now conquer the world. It started with a one-on-one interview by ABC's Carolina Leid where she asked targeted and smart questions about my search thus far and how the job club has made a difference in how I now conduct that same search.

Shortly thereafter I was whisked away to Vincent's dom

ain where he talked to me about color and cut.

Then he started the magical transformation while the camera was taping much of the time. This is a person I will not soon forget. Undeniably, he's one of the very best stylists but more than that he's truly a man of many hats - one who has written books, worked with well known celebrities, is the very best self-promoter I've ever met - yet he was genuine and made me feel important.

Next came along an amazing make-up artist by the name of Andrea Fairweather, who looked EXACTLY liked Halle Berry. Again, cameras were rolling as she applied my make-up and Carolina interviewed her while she was in the midst of doing her thing. At one point my hair was being worked on while at the same time, Vincent and his assistant, Marilyn, were putting the finishing touches on my hair. I had three brushes stuck in my head and a makeup brush stuck in my eye. Yes....cameras rolling.

I have never felt more pampered or special. I find it funny that regular patrons in the salon came trying to sneak a peak as though someone famous must have been bein

g filmed. And all the was just little 'ole me.

Now to the big reveal. I looked up in the mirror and had to remind myself that the reflection staring back was really me. I was truly overwhelmed. How did they do that? They transformed a stuck-in-the mud 50 year old into a contemporary, much more modern and hip professional-looking woman. It made me feel as though I can truly compete now. No more pre-conceived fear about losing out to the younger, more cool set. I can go-head-to-head with them now and may the best candidate win!

Shortly thereafter, it was a wrap! My commute home allowed me the time to return to reality. The excitement of the experience lingered on throughout the day, but I realized that the entire experience - hair, makeup, interviews, and all - served to provide me with what I was missing most - confidence and the empowerment to forge ahead into any situation no matter how daunting it may be.

Wow....what a day!

NOTE: If you have any job leads for Ms. Donato, please let us know in the comments below. Thank you.

Next: Frustration Sets In... Again >>

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I am so feeling her frustration! I am 55 yrs old, a widow, and have an 18 yr old and a 22 yr old. I lost my job a year ago. I do not get soc sec for my daughters any longer because they are out of high school. My husband died 10 years ago at the age of 46, so his pension just about pays my car loan payment. I make too much on unemployment to qualify for utility help. I have a mortgage, my credit cards are maxxed out trying to just buy food! I've put on weight because pasta is cheap and no longer do I look like 50 going on 40 but 55 going on 65 because I can not afford the little extras any longer, ie: nails and hair.
I really believe there is a conspiracy out there to terminate everyone over the age of 50. Why so? We are not working, so we do not pay into social security. Hence, our benefits will not be as great when we turn 62. We can not afford medical insurance, so getting sick is out of the question. In the end we die, therefore the government will not have to pay us any social security if we make it to 62! Oh you say, what about your 401K or pension annuity? They are well depleted too, trying to make mortgage payments and credit card payments, so we can keep our credit in good standing. Being 55 I thought I could save about $600 a month and possibly have a chance at making it, if I moved to an active adult community, but w/o a job I can not get a mortgage. I worked in retail management for over 30 years,drove up to 90 miles a day through all kinds of weather. I gave up being with my children through holidays because I was dedicated to the company I worked for. So I know what a struggle raising 2 young children is ALONE. I sacraficed a lot and now that my daughters are grown I feel I have nothing. Oh and Tory? I am a college educated woman. Do you think Aeropostale, or Hollister or American Eagle or Express wants to hire me...........I don't think so.... because I am not 21yrs old and was never a size 5! The company I worked for.... I know, terminated me because they could hire someone younger, without a college degree for 20k less.

March 11 2010 at 1:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Excellent response Jeanette

March 11 2010 at 10:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I feel for this woman, I know how hard it is to find a job the way things are now. For all those that say go back to school, well time is a big factor, we need jobs now, not 2 or 4 yrs down the road. Not to mention the criteria for getting a degree is so changed from what we were taught way back when that it requires even more time and classes to catch up to the kids just starting college now. Its not as easy as so many make it sound. Yes it can be done. Just not as easily as it sounds.

March 11 2010 at 1:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Mariann, my advice to you is to avoid pursuing a career in culinary arts. I graduated from culinary school when I was in my 40's, hoping to make a career change, and it was a total waste of money and time. If you want to work at a food magazine, or in the food department of a lifestyles magazine, those jobs are generally freelance positions, pay very little, and are given to people who are 'connected'. To work at a restaurant is an extremely taxing job and you have to 'pay your dues' before the better positions are offered to you, which generally means years of hard physical work.

I have been there, and done that, and if you need to earn a living, it has been my experience that it's tough to do it in the culinary field.

March 10 2010 at 4:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is how age is related: It's usually based on what the perceived fixed-ideas of someone, say 50, may have versus a younger 'more pliable' mind of recent grad. Right or wrong, that's what it really boils down to in so many instances.

Employers want 'safe' people who either show a wealth of potential (in being a company man) or who have a record of not bucking authority or being some hotshot.

I'm in the advertising industry but the clients I deal with are all over the place.

It's sickening. I've been laid off for a year and a half and just now, something seems to be breaking.....and I'm a web developer and senior level creative so don't let industry fool you!

Here's what most don't get. You gotta cut-out expenses that aren't absolutely life-sustaining. You smoke? Weak. Drop them now. You drink? Weak. Stop buying a case for the month. You eat out more than once a month? Wrong. Stay home and learn to cook.

Now..let's hear all the excuses about addiction, DNA, etc, etc. Maybe you need to let that Sam's or Costco membership expire. Have a gym membership? Nope, not life sustaining. You can run or walk around the block or excersise in your living room.

Let's see...oh we have two. Do you think we're going to the mall to buy clothes and toys? Nope. Check craigslist for garage sales and the local Goodwill and thrift stores. Thrown 'em in the washer and dryer and nobody knows.

We can all bitch, moan and point fingers but ultimately, even the 'joe smith' blue collar worker has a few vices that are costing him money.

I've made all the same mistakes myself so I'm blaming anybody but myself...though over the last 2.5 years or so, our government has not proved to be much more than the guy behind the curtain putting up a front while bumbling in the back.

March 10 2010 at 1:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Kelly's comment


March 10 2010 at 4:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am in full agreement with Chuck. The age discrimination is so obvious in this country and our government sits back and does nothing. As to Obama's education program most of the benifit programs require you to carry a full loand (full time) and if your unemployment benefits have run out most people can not qualify for an extension through the schooling. I likewise have a similar situation to Marianne's in the fact that I have been a mortgage broker/manager for the past fifteen years. This industry being devistated, I have looked for anything that I might qualify for in other industries. I am 65 and the few interviews that I have gotten there were comments about my age and/or lack of experience in their industry. No one seems to care about who is qualified, merely who is young and/or illegal and willing to work for like Chuck says 9.00/ hour. There used to be very stringent federal laws governing the hiring and firing practices in this country which have either gone by the wayside or are being ignored. I have little doubt that if something is not done soon that the baby boomers, through no choice of there own will bankrupt our government. I like most of them do not want and can not afford to retire.

March 10 2010 at 12:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's very discouraging when you've had a wonderful career and it comes to a sudden stop. Has she thought about putting her publishing skills to work helping writers get their books published. It's an area that can use an infusion of talented people. Good luck. writerR

March 10 2010 at 12:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You are never too old to learn. I graduated in 2009 with a certificat in medical assisting and I am now 56. In my son's graduating class was a man who was 65. As far as funding, there are grants, student loans, and scholarships to go after. My frustration with the job search is companies that use computers to read your resume'looking for key words and counting how many times you used those key words, also with the down turn in the economy and large numbers of persons unemployed, employers are asking for at least one years experience and up to as many as five years experience. So ho to I get the experience they seek? I have even been told my externship doesn't count.

March 10 2010 at 11:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Why do they tax unemployment then take the money right back?

So all of you that say start your OWN company, I am sure you know many that they are not cut out to running a company. What do you tell them? What do you tell a person say 55 that dose not have 4 years to give going to college. How do you pay your bills and say home loan while going to colleg? So if they go back at 55 to college and take 4 yrs to get the degree...where do they go at 59 with no experience in that field? I don't care what you do when they find you are that old, no make over will help! Can't ask age...don't kid yourself just when you fill out the forms all the other questions that make you put in birthdate. I could have health care if I had a job. I don't care what health care costs if I do not have a job how do I pay for it? Fustrated, but you must keep trying!!
Who do you net work with when 98% of your friends are just the blue collar working stiff? A lot of my friends are just lucky to have their job now. Just to many out here in the same boat and we are bailling as fast as we can as the boat is going down! Worest is NO company wants to pay a living wage or close to what they want in the position they have open. What use to pay $18 pr/hr now pays $9-$11. Or a lot of jobs are temp like a few weeks or months and then end. Oh yea Congress got their cost of living raise. GRRRRRRRRRRR

March 10 2010 at 10:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sandra Fatovich

I thought my email address would be attached to my comment. I would like to talk with Mariann regarding a position in our company. She can reach me at It will be only 1 hour of your time in an interview and could be the best thing you ever did for yourself.

March 10 2010 at 10:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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