LINCOLN BLVD — How do you think you would like going red?

That was the question that Lucie Doughty posed to Leslie, a client at Chrysalis, a Santa Monica-based nonprofit that helps homeless get past addiction and find employment.

“I thought she would make an amazing red head,” said Doughty, the editorial director for the Paul Mitchell hair care line and hair colorist extraordinaire.

Leslie was one of six female Chrysalis clients who received head-to-toe makeovers as part of Paul Mitchell’s “Color Your Confidence” media campaign, an effort to give the women a little extra confidence as they re-enter the workforce.

All six women graduated from the Women Empowerment Program, an eight-week workshop that pairs 20 women with a mentor to teach them skills and boost their confidence, said Elizabeth Daly, vice president of development and communications with Chrysalis.

The program concentrates on teaching women skills, building their resumes and preparing them for job interviews, but the John Paul Mitchell Systems offered a little something extra for six of the participants.

“It gives them a level of confidence,” Daly said. “It’s not the ‘I am a cover model,’ it’s about seeing themselves as powerful and successful.”

This is the first year that the Paul Mitchell team has done full makeovers of the women in the program, although the company, and its CEO and co-founder John Paul DeJoria, have been heavily involved with Chrysalis for a decade.

The nonprofit has a special place in DeJoria’s heart since his staff found it almost 10 years ago. He himself was homeless in Los Angeles when he was 23, right before he and his partner Paul Mitchell launched John Paul Mitchell Systems on a shoestring budget of $700.

It’s now the largest privately-owned hair care company in the world.

With the resources at his disposal, DeJoria works to give back. He does presentations for Chrysalis clients at the Santa Monica and Downtown Los Angeles locations, telling them about his personal struggles as the child of a single mother growing up in Echo Park, and how he turned into the entrepreneur he is today.

There’s a trick, DeJoria said.

“Successful people do the things that unsuccessful people don’t want to do,” DeJoria said.

For a period of weeks after he launched his company, DeJoria lived out of his 20-year-old Rolls Royce. He’d left his home, his wife, his child and most of his money to start the venture, and he was “too proud” to move back in with his mother, he said.

When he tells people the story, DeJoria starts with what he had to do to survive.

“I had brunch for 99 cents and dinner for $1.25,” he said. “You can still do it, but dinner costs $1.99.”

Once the essentials of food, a place to stay and wellness are met, it’s time to work on happiness.

DeJoria, who also owns Patron Spirits, found his passions in hair care and tequila.

The women who received specialized treatments at the hands of his professional team of beauticians are now looking for theirs.

Leslie takes her new “pixie” red hair and jumps on a skateboard to her job interviews. She’s looking for a career in natural healing programs and massage.

Saule, an artist, was hired by Paul Mitchell for a gathering in Vegas. She recently flew to Lithuania to sell her paintings, said Andrea Espinoza, marketing manager with Paul Mitchell.

While some of the women are still looking for their ideal employment, the team was happy to give them a little something to help them in their search, Espinoza said.

“It’s something I will carry with me for the rest of my life,” she said.

ashley@www.smdp.com

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