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The Herald News - A Change For The Better

By Penny Humphrey, Herald News Staff Reporter

Image-maker Michelle Y. Drake is not afraid of change.

Take her hair.

It has been long, (she could sit on it) and blonde and curly; layered and straight; shoulder-length and bobbed; short and round and now shorter, curled and very stylish.

"I just got it a little layered," said Drake, knowing that a change in a hairstyle, mascara, lipstick, an outfit, or a color, can make all the difference in the world.

And that is exactly what she is trying to show people in southeastern Massachusetts--the image is the key to a difference.

"Actually image-making is what's really been taking off in this area," said Drake, who is the owner of Saxton Consulting, a year-old company that offers image-making, time management, marketing and communications for shop worm executives, retirees, business people, professional people and private people, who want to buff up their style or their habits.

Her average clients are in their mid 30s to late 50s.  Sometimes they are even retired professionals, who want a change to go along with their new lifestyle.

"I think as you age you lose pigment all of a sudden.  Even the most natural personality types need a little makeup or colors and they might not know how to choose it," she said.

Whoever walks through her door has about the same set of desires.

"They want to know how to pull themselves together.  You know that one outfit you have, you wear it and people compliment you.  They want to know how to make that a daily thing," she said.

In her home-studio at 28 Rounsevell Drive in East Freetown, Drake has pots of make-up, a few dozen silky scarves and a lot of tips to give her clients on how to be a new, confident and sharp looking person.

She also holds workshops, with one scheduled this month at Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River, and another one at an insurance agency in Dartmouth.

She talks about color and how it can literally change you.

"You'd be amazed at how awake and alive you can look in the correct colors," Drake said.

She talks about hair.

"Hair is a large, determining factor in updating a woman's look," she said.  Professional women should opt for hair that is shoulder length or above.

"Usually as you get older, the length gets shorter.  As we get older gravity pulls us down.  When you pull the hair up in length it brings the attention back to the eyes," Drake said.  "It's an illusion--kind of a magician's trick."

Polishing your image also shines your self-esteem.

"When you feel good about yourself, you project a whole different person.  You are easier to deal with.  People respond more easily to you.  We really like to be around people who make us feel good and to make someone feel good about themselves, you have to feel good about yourself."

And finally, she has this piece of advice.

"If you make one purchase this year, have it be in plum," Drake said.

Whether it's an outfit or a lipstick, plum is easy to wear for most people, pleasing to the eye, and in 1997 available in about a million shades because it is the in shade.

And if you want to do one more thing for yourself, Drake suggests get analyzed.

No, not by a therapist.



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I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestioned ability of a man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor. Henry David Thoreau