Makeover model Mary “relaxed” about catwalk debut

Makeover model Mary Abrahams with TV fashion stylist Mark Heyes

A 45-year-old student support worker from Bradley Stoke is preparing to take to the catwalk at The Mall’s prestigious Bristol Fashion Week event this weekend after winning a competition to become a ‘makeover model’.

Mary Abrahams, who works part-time at Bradley Stoke Community School, says she entered the competition a couple of weeks a go and was delighted to be chosen to undergo a style makeover that included a make-up consultation at John Lewis, a once-in-a-lifetime shopping trip with TV stylist and Bristol Fashion Week presenter Mark Heyes and a hair consultation at the Clifton-based salon SAKS.

Mary has spent the past year raising over £16,000 for Children’s Hospice South West after her son Ryan tragically died last year.

“We’ve done all sorts of fundraisers. Initially we only set out to raise £2,000 but people were so generous the donations just kept coming in!”

Working full time and organising year-round fundraising events doesn’t leave much time for style, and Mary is the first to admit she prefers to keep busy.

“Fundraising for such a good cause has really given me something to focus on. I don’t have a lot of time to myself so I really enjoyed having some ‘me time’ and getting pampered for the day.”

Maria Crayton, Head of Marketing at The Mall at Cribbs Causeway added:

“We were so touched when we read Mary’s competition entry. She is such a deserving winner.”

Mary’s makeover session took place last Thursday (photo) and she told The Journal that she really enjoyed the hour she spent choosing her outfit with Mark Heyes. She says she “really likes” the dress she has chosen to wear, which was Mark’s second suggestion, and was flattered to be told by Mark that he would be interviewing Beyoncé the following day!

Having watched the show on Wednesday night, Mary says she knows what to expect and now feels “more relaxed” about her catwalk debut on Sunday, when she will appear in all three hour-long shows (11am, 1pm and 3pm). Family and friends will be there to support her and are “likely to be quite noisy”, she added.

Tickets for the Bristol Fashion Week show, which has five performances today (Friday) and four on Saturday, in addition to the final three on Sunday, can be booked online at

After Sunday’s excitement, Mary will be continuing her fundraising efforts, with the next focus being a ball at Tortworth Court on the second anniversary of Ryan’s passing.

Heart Breakfast's Paulina Gillespie on the catwalk

Report from Thursday’s VIP performance of the Bristol Fashion Week show by The Journal’s fashion correspondent:

I attended Bristol Fashion Week’s matinee show on Thursday 22nd September. It was completely sold-out and appeared to be a hit with everyone who went.

The fashion advice throughout the entire experience was very interesting and appealed to all age groups. Bristol Fashion Week organisers aimed to highlight the Mall at Cribbs Causeway as a great place to shop and they certainly achieved their goal.

I enjoyed the show and particularly was impressed with the vouchers and free gifts. I spent the remainder of my afternoon taking part in the activities the show provided the guests with. From a complimentary manicure and a free makeover to discount vouchers and competition opportunities, Bristol Fashion week gave me a fun-filled day.

As a new mum, attending the show gave me the chance to pamper myself a little and use the discounts and freebies to spoil myself .

I would definitely recommend the experience to anyone interested in looking good and feeling healthy and well-groomed with either a high or low budget. Every year the show has taken place, it has been a success and it certainly did Bristol proud!

Photo: Heart Breakfast’s Paulina Gillespie makes her catwalk debut at the opening night of Bristol Fashion Week.

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  1. Well done Mary. I admire you how amazingly you’ve coped with the tragic loss of your brave son Ryan. You deserve this treat.

    Ryan would be so proud of you

    From a parent of a BSCS pupil.

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