By John-John Williams IV
The Baltimore Sun
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Inspired by Oprah’s sense of giving, Oprah Winfrey’s longtime make-up artist Reggie Wells, is using his enormous talents to bring smiles to the faces of Baltimore’s seniors.
Dorothy Lievers marveled at herself in the mirror just before she got her beauty shots taken in the brightly lit Mount Vernon studio of fashion photographer P.A. Greene.
Her smooth, mahogany skin glowed. Smoky eye shadow with a tinge of shimmer danced across the ridge just under her eyebrows. Her lips had a hint of matte pink lipstick.
“My granddaughter will probably say ‘you’ve been with Mr. Reggie,'” she said as she gently patted her silver ringlets that rested in an a symmetrical wave on the top right half of her head.
Lievers’ face had just been transformed by Reggie Wells, a soft-spoken yet sharp-tongued, salt-and-pepper-haired man who was Oprah Winfrey’s Emmy Award-winning makeup artist for close to three decades.
For the past year and a half, Wells has been living in relative anonymity in a retirement community in Park Heights to be near his 96-year-old father. It was his aging father who brought the self-taught makeup artist back to his hometown after living in Chicago since 1990.
“I’m giving back my life to him while he’s on Earth,” the 69-year-old Wells said.
It was also seeing his father and the senior women from Weinberg Manor that inspired him to provide free makeovers.
“What I learned from Oprah is why I am doing this today,” he said. “I’m doing this for the forgotten people of families. I’m taking unknown mothers and grandmothers and giving them the type of makeovers that Oprah would give.”
On this day, Wells took a group of four women from his Northwest Baltimore community and brought them to Mount Vernon for a day, where he did their makeup and then had them professionally photographed. Wells hopes to continue the effort locally and then launch the program nationally.