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Rhian Morgan
Staff Writer

The fashion conscious women of La Verne gathered on April 23 to enjoy a garden party and fashion show hosted by Brikaju Boutique on Third Street.

As the sun shone, complimentary food and drinks were served to guests seated at tables on the grass behind the store.

Music was provided by a DJ and entertainment came in the form of a fashion show hosted by Brikaju and Merle Norman Cosmetics.

“The atmosphere was great,” said Brikaju owner Terry Rivas. “It went better than expected, I think everyone really enjoyed it.”

Merle Norman Cosmetics Studios, located on Foothill Boulevard in La Verne, was on hand to give makeup advice, and many prizes—including cosmetics from the studio—were given away in a raffle.

Summer styles from Brikaju were modeled during the fashion show, and there was a discount of 10 percent off everything in the store for that day exclusively.

The event was organized by public relations majors Kristen Chocek and Janah Valenzuela who are helping to promote Brikaju as part of their senior project.

Rivas was pleased with the work the women had done.

“They did fantastically,” she said. “I wanted to do it last year, but never got around to it, and the girls wanted to help promote it this year and they did a wonderful job. We hope to make it an annual thing now.”

Approximately 120 people attended the event.

Senior liberal studies major Nancy Reyes was one of them.

“I thought it was awesome,” she said. “It was very successful and people really enjoyed it. Good food, good music, good people, good times.”

“Everyone that helped coordinate the event should be really proud, it was great,” she added.

Reyes bought a handbag from Brikaju with the 10 percent discount at the event.

“I am really glad I didn’t find the store before because I would’ve spent so much money there by now,” she added. “I do plan on returning though, because I really enjoyed it… there were so many things to look at.”

The highlight of the event was the announcement of the winner of the “Deserving Makeover” contest that Brikaju and Merle Norman were running.

The competition was aimed at anyone in the area that deserved a complete makeover.

The prize consisted of a facial, manicure and pedicure, haircut and color and any outfit from Brikaju.

The whole package was worth more than $900.

Miss La Verne Sandy Fernandez was there to announce the winners of first place and runner up.

“We (Brikaju and Merle Norman Cosmetics) had about 40 applications but had to choose a runner up because we had such a hard time deciding the winner,” Rivas said.

The runner up was Juana Jimenez, who was in fact Fernandez’s mother.

“We had no idea when we made the decision,” Rivas said.

The overall winner of the makeover was Angie Pappas, a 40-something from Grenada Hills.

She was nominated by her son, ULV student Jason House.

“I saw a flyer at school about the competition and my friends said I should nominate her,” he said.

“She’s like my hero, she’s faced so much adversity in her life and she’s always maintained a positive attitude through everything,” he added.

Mexican-born Pappas is currently recovering from a serious accident – a collision with a big rig on the freeway six weeks ago.

She suffered severe trauma and had to undergo surgery.

She is beginning to regain her mobility but is not expected to be fully back to normal for another few months.

“I feel really blessed,” House said. “She finally caught a break, something good has happened. It’s so nice of Brikaju and Merle Norman to put this on and do this nice thing for my mom.”

Pappas had no idea that she was nominated in the competition.

She only knew that her son was taking her out to a fashion show that day.

“She was so shocked and surprised, she was crying and everything,” he said. “Nothing like this has happened to her before.”

Pappas was not the only person to shed a tear that day.

“Lots of people were crying,” Rivas said. “Everyone was really touched by the stories.”
Reyes agreed.

“In all honesty, it was really emotional,” she said. “I felt they were both very good candidates for winning the makeovers.”

I really hope this makes a difference in their lives because they really deserve it,” Reyes added.

Brikaju Boutique is located at 2142 Third St. in Old Town La Verne and sells women’s designer labels as well as a whole host of gifts, handbags, shoes and accessories.

Rhian Morgan can be reached at

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