Introducing Leana Sidney, a shy young woman who has had many challenges in her 23 years.

Leana stood out as the perfect person to receive a free community makeover from Kāpiti business women who have used their services to give back.

She was nominated by her mother-in-law who said she wouldn't haven known what to do without Leana's support over the years.

Organised by Renee McNeil Salon Consultant, it is Renee's first time organising the community makeover after an eight-year absence.


"Women in business has grown hugely in our town in recent years.

"It is really powerful, which has helped as I now have the support of local businesses.

"I just wanted to give back to women who are having struggles in their lives.

Hair cut and dyed, makeup done, dressed by Paraparaumu's newest boutique along with shoes, flowers and a photoshoot followed by a celebration at Tuatara, the makeover is a day of pampering for a deserving person.

"Leana stood out above the other ladies who were nominated as she has had a lot of grief for her young age but has carried on and been the glue for everyone around her during hard times.

"She has come from a hard background and is just a beautiful person," Renee said.

"Sharing her story with the other ladies at the makeover, everyone in the room was in tears.

"With a dream of being a social worker, Leana dreams of helping other people."

Part of the reason for the makeover is to let others know that there is hope out there, with Renee planning to make it happen twice a year and the next one pencilled in for April next year.

"We need to spread the word that there are others in the community who want to uplift each other and celebrate their bravery and their dedicated giving nature to others.

"We need to spread the word and this is how you raise the vibe, by letting others know there is hope out there."

When she first found out she had been chosen for the makeover Leana tried to convince Renee to give it to someone else, but after talking it through together Leana accepted it.

"She eventually accepted it, which was hard, but she thanked me on the day and said she would have regretted not doing it.

"It was amazing," Renee said. "She looked incredible."

"I felt nervous, anxious and excited all in one," Leana said.

"This is the first time in my life having done something like this.

"My thoughts were all over the place before coming into the salon but my first thought was of 'my God the day is actually here'.

"Renee and the girls made me feel so at ease they were so welcoming, I just felt so comfortable and relaxed.

"I am feeling so very blessed to have had this amazing, wonderful day, I am truly so grateful for this opportunity.

"I feel I have gained confidence from this and for that I am so grateful."

The makeover was possible thanks to Kayla Stephanie Beauty, Heather Posy Bloom Florist, Dejane from VIVIERS photography, Jessica at BE U Clothing & Shoes and Bev from Tuatara Brewery.