Ashley Genova is a mom, a full-time student, and a manager at a local restaurant.
But the 30-year-old from Ellwood City, Pennsylvania, still finds time to make dreams come true for high school girls eager to attend their proms in style.
For the last six years, Genova, a former model, has been doing hair and makeup for girls who can’t afford the expensive extras for prom night. In recent years, she’s expanded her efforts to include free prom gown rentals.
The operation, Before Midnight, is run out of the third floor in her home.
“I knew how do to the hair and makeup because of modeling, so I figured, why not help out others who can’t afford it since prom is so expensive?” said Genova, who is a senior physics and engineering student at Slippery Rock University.
“So what that it takes up a couple of weekends during prom season?” she said. “It makes me feel good and hopefully it’ll be a chain reaction, that these girls I help will see me doing something good and they’ll want to pay it forward when they can.”
Genova estimates that the average high school girl spends between $500 and $800 on prom night, including a dress, hair, makeup, nails, and accessories. With the help of a number of friends and regular donations, she’s been able to expand her services to include nearly all of those products free of charge to anyone who contacts her.
“I don’t turn anyone away,” she said, explaining that it usually “works out” in terms of the numbers of girls who come for help on a given weekend during prom season.
“It’s fun,” Genova said. “It takes me back to all those memories of prom and I just think everyone deserves those same special memories. No one should feel left out just because they can’t afford an $80 up-do.”
Jessica Shelenberger writes fro the New Castle (Pa.) News.