This year Shunji Matsuo’s Makeover Magic is no exception – seniors and cancer survivors were transformed.
BY: Eleanor Yap
Every year, celebrity hairstylist Shunji Matsuo would hold his namesake, Shunji Matsuo’s Makeover Magic event, not just in Singapore but also in his hometown, Kobe, and Tokyo, spreading his magic and transforming those over the age of 60. This year is no exception, even after his passing from pancreatic cancer in 2017. Honouring his initiative and him, this year, the show organisers had 25 seniors and cancer survivors ranging from Singaporeans to Japanese, and included a special segment for cancer survivors
The show also brought further awareness about cancer and paid tribute to these survivors like 64-year-old Susan Teo. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the age of 52. “It was very difficult at that time and I was very sad because I was only 52. I was very active and had so many things waiting for me to do. My cancer journey going through six chemotherapy sessions every three weeks caused me to be drowsy and nauseous.
“I also lost weight and lost all my precious hair. Luckily, I got a very good oncologist and now my cancer is in remission for six years. I still continue doing doctor follow-ups every two years. I owe my faith in God, my family and the love especially from my husband that helped me to pull through.”
Susan added, “It’s important to have determination and positive energy as this is just as important as medical treatment to overcome cancer. Love each day is a gift. Every day is a bonus to me. Family love is my priority. It’s important to have a good circle of friends to keep you going and to be active in exercise too. Stay healthy, be happy, productive and purposeful in giving back to society.”
This isn’t the first time, the mother of two has participated in Shunji Matsuo’s Makeover Magic, she was a model in the 2014 show, which had eight breast cancer survivors. “The transformation gave me the confidence and made me look at least 10 years younger and beautiful again,” she said. This year, she particularly enjoyed the sharing with the other cancer survivors, and hopes if time permits, to be a model in the show again.
Besides cancer survivors, there were also seniors who participated. Seventy-seven-year-old Soon Puay Keow, owner of Spring Court Chinese restaurant, participated in the Shunji Matsuo’s Makeover Magic in 2017 and came back for a second time. She said, “Taking part in the last show had been a wonderful experience, not only did I have a beautiful makeover, but I also made some great new friends, who I still keeping in touch today.” She feels that one is never too old to dress well, and she encourages more women of her age to do a makeover, as it can boost their confidence.
Great-grandmother of three and grandmother of seven, Betty Khoo, is also a second-time participant. The 77-year-old said: “Shunji Matsuo’s Makeover Magic helps us realise how gorgeous each and every one of us looks and feels from the inside out.” She too would be more than happy to jump on the chance to do it again.
Another model, Eunice Chua, 75, shared she gained confidence and recognition of ageing gracefully thanks to Shinji Matsuo’s Makeover Magic. Though the former air stewardess for Malaysian Airlines has been a model twice like Betty and Puay Keow, she still gets stage nerves. Though it hasn’t gotten the better of her as she would be more than ready to participate again if called upon.
And for 60-year-old Eugine Soh, she gained new friends from the experience and learned to be patient and to give back to society. She also learned that “I can do it if I want to. If I put my heart to it”.
“When I was first asked to do the show, I felt that I couldn’t do it after so many years. My last catwalk was 37 years ago when I was a part-time model. I have bone loss in my back shoulder and hip bones, and a long-time injury in my right knee joint. So it took much effort to walk gracefully. A good challenge to do it again because my other fellow models have much bigger challenges,” said Eugine.
Shunji Matsuo’s Makeover Magic organisers shared: “Through this deeply meaningful event, seniors and cancer patients are encouraged to embrace life in the most positive way, while showing that colour and beauty does not fade even when one ages or suffers from illness.” They added, “It is not easy battling cancer. Having a positive mindset is very important when taking on any challenge in life. It is not easy to maintain a positive mindset; we have to try to stay happy, feel motivated, and look at each day as a brand-new day.
“Personal grooming can play a part too. When you look good, you feel good. And it is not so difficult to look good. When your friends see you, and start saying that you look great, it helps boost your self-esteem and confidence. And when your friends see you with such positive energy, they will be influenced too.”
(** PHOTO CREDITS: Cedric Vrolant and Romeo Tan)