New Year, New Smile

What Happens When Women Work Together

Photography by Alice G. Patterson

Last year, Revercomb Dental Group put out a call for members of the community to nominate a deserving mother in need of a smile makeover. Local mother of four, Michelle Martuscello, was picked as the winner of the Mother’s Day Smile Makeover. In the following months, Michelle was given a smile makeover, and treated to a professional photo shoot, complete with professional makeup. The photos were then transformed into holiday cards.

To kick off 2018, we took a look back at this project, and talked with the women involved.

Michelle Broeker Kielbasinski
Director of Marketing, Revercomb Dental Group

SWM: Give us the basic details of the Mother’s Day Smile Makeover nomination process.

Michelle K.: We published a post on Facebook asking for the public to nominate a deserving mother for a smile makeover. We read through the submissions and chose the story we felt the most connected with.

SWM: What about Michelle’s nomination stood out the most?

Michelle K.: She had made such incredible sacrifices for her children. Like most mothers, she was selfless in the pursuit of a better life for her daughters. We were inspired by her journey and knew we wanted to be a part of it.

SWM: How did being part of this project impact you?

Michelle K.: Giving back to our community is an important element in our practice’s mission. Whether it’s time, money or talent, we just want to offer support where we can. We appreciate that every day, we have an opportunity to connect with our amazing patients in a meaningful way. The professional and personal reward is immense. Sometimes, when you give, you receive far more. Michelle’s smile makeover is the perfect example of that. That type of gratitude is contagious and it has made an impact on our entire team.

Holly Piselli
Owner, A-List Makeup Artistry

SWM: What did you contribute to the project?

Holly: I was the makeup artist for the winner Michelle [Martuscello], for her photo session with Alice G. Patterson Photography. Most people think a makeup artist’s job is just applying makeup, but it is so much more. A makeup artist is usually the first person on a photo shoot who interacts with the client prior to her photos being taken. Part of the job is getting her to feel comfortable and confident, so when she gets in front of Alice’s camera, her personality shows, instead of her nerves. Alice understands that and doesn’t rush me in my process. It’s always a great collaboration working with her.

SWM: Talk about the importance of women supporting women in our area.

Holly: I’ve lived in Jamesville since starting my business, and I think it’s that small-town feeling of community that has led me to seek out other women in business and build on that community feeling with other businesses. I’m part of a small group of businesswomen who meet monthly for a variety of topics on building our businesses and conquering challenges we each have. It is so empowering. I love seeing the successes these women are having, and I really think having the support of other women contributes to those successes.

SWM: How did being a part of this project impact you?

Holly: Being a part of this project was a reminder that taking the time to do something for someone else can have a ripple effect that extends further than we all realize. It’s a great reminder to show kindness and to support other women, and let them know how fantastic they are!

Annie Taylor
Owner, Annie Taylor Design

SWM: How did you get involved with this project?

Annie: I do design work for Revercomb Dental (and Michelle Kielbasinski) and was approached about donating something to the winner of the Smile Makeover. Naturally, I said “Of course!” I was honored to be asked, and proud to have the chance to do something positive for someone else in my community.

SWM: What did you contribute to the project?

Annie: I designed holiday cards for the winner, using her new photos taken by Alice G. Patterson. From the moment I opened the first photo on my laptop, I felt her happiness coming through. I don’t know the winner personally, but, all of the sudden, I felt as though I did. She has such a warm, kind and heartfelt smile. I am so excited for her to receive the cards, and to send them out with brand new confidence!

SWM: Talk about the importance of women supporting women in our area.

Annie: I would not have a business today if it was not for the women in my life, and the support system I have here in Syracuse. That is a fact. I am so grateful and I want to pay that forward in any way I can.

Alice G. Patterson
Owner, Alice G. Patterson Photography

SWM: How did you get involved with this project?

Alice: Michelle Kielbasinski of Revercomb Dental Group asked me. Michelle is so nice and has such a beautiful vision — it is impossible to say no to her!

SWM: What did you contribute to the project?

Alice: I was honored to photograph Michelle individually, as well with her lovely daughters, in my studio. Michelle is beautiful, and it was so much fun to see her daughters admiring the makeup process by Holly, and then pairing up for some one-on-one images with their mom, as well as all of them together! In addition to being gorgeous, the whole family has amazing voices, and were kind enough to indulge me in singing a song!

SWM: Talk about the importance of women supporting women in our area.

Alice: When I first started my photography career, more than 25 years ago, it was still very much a male-dominated industry. I experienced discrimination based on my gender alone, and knew I would always want to support other professional women. So, for most of my adult life, I’ve most often chosen to work with women, whether it is my doctor, veterinarian, shop keeper, etc. In most recent years, creative women entrepreneurs have become my niche market for my photography business. I love to collaborate with women, creating portraits, interiors and product photography that will help elevate their business’ online presence.

Michelle Martuscello
Mother’s Day Smile Makeover recipient

SWM: What was your first thought when Revercomb Dental Group contacted you?

Michelle M.: I had resolved myself to the fact that I would always have a missing tooth in the front of my mouth, that I would forever be embarrassed about it (especially at work). If I was ever in a photograph, it would have to be on my “tooth side.”

SWM: Talk about the experience of the Smile Makeover.

Michelle M.: From the nomination by my friend, Allison Schad, to winning the Smile Makeover, it’s been an amazing experience! The staff at Revercomb is wonderful. Dr. Jake and Michelle, as well as everyone else in the office, have been absolutely amazing. Then, I had the pleasure of meeting Holly and Alice. These women were so wonderful to me and my girls. And I just saw a copy of the holiday cards Annie Taylor created for us — so beautiful!

SWM: Talk about the impact this experience had on you and your family.

Michelle M.: Before this experience, I had never met any of these women. From the moment I met Michelle, I knew I was in special hands. She is one-of-a-kind, and the type of woman who makes things happen! I am a recently divorced mom of four amazing daughters. I’ve been working diligently at getting back to a level of peace — living my truth, and building my selfesteem. I’ve always worked in the field of empowering others, and it is quite something when it comes back to you! With the amazing support of my therapist at Vera House, I’m getting closer to realizing my own worth, and that I should believe all the positive feedback I receive, especially from all of these women.

SWM: Talk about the importance of women supporting women in our area.

Michelle M.: In today’s climate, I cannot speak loudly enough about the importance of women helping women, from all socioeconomic backgrounds. I have been fortunate enough to be in the field of home-visiting, and have worked with families who have loved ones with developmental disabilities. I’ve had the privilege of being in homes with dirt floors and no running water, to the largest of homes in the most affluent neighborhoods in Onondaga County, and every kind in between. The common denominator in every home has been a strong woman. At the end of the day, we all have something to contribute. My hope is that women would recognize the power of helping each other in someone else’s time of need, just like I’ve been helped. Each day, I sign on to Facebook with a picture of my coffee cup, and my thought of the day. It is my way of speaking my truth to help others. I share my story, and I am grateful to those who listen and take some of my thoughts, love and support, to help with their own journey. SWM

Answers have been edited for length and clarity.