A Touch of Love with Ali Landry
Written By: Ali Landry
This year has flown by. I’ve been busy writing my first book, and I can’t believe it is scheduled for release early next spring. There is a chapter in the book about beauty, and as I was thinking back to the early days of my career in LA when I was eagerly learning all the Hollywood beauty secrets, I fondly remember these days because of a woman whom I met, who not only was the most fabulous esthetician in town, but she was the one who taught me about true beauty.
I was gifted monthly facials at an exclusive spa in Bel Air called Vera’s Retreat in the Glen. It was one of the wonderful perks of being Miss USA. The owner of the spa was an amazing woman named Vera Brown, and she became for me the gold standard of what beauty looks like.
Vera was an angel, always helping others and genuinely connecting with people. I was so drawn to her heart and her beautiful spirit. She was in her 70s when we met. To me, she epitomized Old Hollywood. Even if celebrities such as Nicole Kidman or Whitney Houston were in the lobby of her spa, Vera always kept it real. She treated everyone like a rock star.
She worked with famous stars, but she also served women in shelters and juvenile halls. She believed every woman is beautiful. To my great delight, Vera took me under her wing, and she taught me the standard by which I measure beauty.
Vera invited me to her house one day where she was doing a little day retreat for the girls from MacLaren Hall. She wanted to know if I would help, and I immediately jumped at the chance. Whatever she was doing, I wanted to help.
I learned that MacLaren Hall served girls who were in the state system. Vera was incredible at being present with them. She told them how beautiful and perfect they were. She taught them how to care for their skin and hair. Some had never received that kind of attention. She’d hand them a mirror and say in her sweet voice, “Look at yourself! Aren’t you lovely?” She taught them how to love themselves through self care. She believed that self-love is the greatest healer of trauma. I saw the truth of this first-hand. It was a beautiful thing to witness. These were some of the most impactful moments of my life.
What really impressed me was that Vera treated the girls just as she did all the celebs- with love and respect.
Vera passed over 10 years ago, and to this day I still have some of her products. Seeing them reminds me of her, of her love, of her spirit. I feel so grateful to be a part of her life and to witness her love in action. She taught me never to judge anyone, to always look past their exterior, and to search for their heart and really SEE them.
As we all move through this busy and celebratory time of year with sparkling lights and glittering tinsel, be sure to find a minute to share some of your heart with our sisters out there who may be in need of an extra touch of love this holiday season.
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