Q-Tips helps three women "Get Gorgeous" on their Big Days

Chicago bride-to-be, Dallas high school reunion hopeful and New Hampshire prom-goer each win $20,000 to help make their beauty dreams a reality.

Greenwich, C.T. -- Greenwich, C.T. -- The votes are in, and three lucky women are having the biggest days of their lives transformed into the fairytales of their dreams. Bride-to-be Melissa Bussey, high-school reunion hopeful Traci Bryan, and prom-goer Steph French are the winners of the national “Get Gorgeous with Q-tips” contest.

They each will receive $20,000 from Q-tips cotton swabs, the ultimate beauty tool, and a beauty basket to make their “big days” bigger, better and more beautiful than they could ever have imagined. They also will get invaluable beauty advice from celebrity make-artist Mally Roncal to help bring their looks to life.

"When creating unforgettable looks for celebrities, the secret beauty tool I always have in my make-up bag is Q-tips cotton swabs," says celebrity make-up artist Mally Roncal. "I'm excited to share this beauty secret - along with many others - with these extraordinary women as they prepare for these milestone moments in their lives." Each of these winners had a compelling reason why they needed help getting ready for their big moments… but they're not alone.

According to the Q-tips Big Moments Survey*, nearly half of women surveyed say they worry about not looking their best for special moments in their lives. That's why Q-tips, the ultimate beauty tool, launched a national contest to help women get "picture-perfect" looks for their most important events.

To enter the "Get Gorgeous with Q-tips" contest, women sent in photos and described why they wanted Q-tips to help them get gorgeous for their big moments. From Monday, January 3 through Friday, February 18, thousands of women submitted entries and from Sunday, April 3 through Saturday, April 30, thousands more voted for three finalists in each of the categories - wedding, high school reunion and prom. The winners' stories are featured below.

*Impulse Research conducted the Q-tips Life's Big Moments Survey via a nationally representative telephone survey of 1500 women in October 2004. The margin of error for the study is +/- 2.5% at the 95% confidence level.

About the winners

The Bride-to-Be:

"No one deserves a beautiful bride more than my fiancé." - Melissa Bussey

Melissa Bussey, 22, met her fiancé in bacteriology class when they were both undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin. Over the past three years, their friendship has developed into a romance. Now, both med students at Loyola University in Chicago, they will marry on Sunday, July 3.

Essay submission:

"There is special urgency in my request for Q-tips to help me "get gorgeous" for my wedding. No one deserves a beautiful bride more than my fiancé. He was diagnosed with brain tumors in 2003; they've already claimed his vision in his right eye and could claim the rest at any time. We're currently in medical school, chasing our dreams, trying to pay tuitions and his medical expenses, wedding planning, and staying optimistic together. Please help me get gorgeous for my wedding so he will have visions of his beautiful bride long after he has lost his sight.”

Her comments on winning:

"My fiancé and I would like to thank all the people who took the time to read our story and vote. The messages of support and encouragement we received from across the country will stay with us for years to come," said Melissa.

The High school reunion hopeful:

"I want my classmates to see that I am okay." - Traci Bryan

Traci Bryan, 28, is a successful Dallas businesswoman, who - like most women - wants to look her best when seeing old friends at her upcoming 10-year reunion of Lakeview Sentinel High School on Saturday, June 25.

Essay submission:

“Hi… I'm Traci. I am really looking forward to my 10-year reunion. Two years after graduation I was in a car accident and became paralyzed from the chest down. Life is really great. I do therapy daily to stay in shape. I would love for you to pick me so I could have a nice makeover. I want my classmates to see that I am okay. I'm still Traci, only shorter and 40 pounds lighter."

Her comments on winning:

"The money is such a huge deal for me and my family. This contest will change my life tremendously. I'm extremely grateful for Q-tips help, not only to make me look nice for my high school reunion, but for making simple life tasks easy again."

The Prom-goer:

"Dropping nearly 60 lbs., confidence and self appreciation became a new part of my life … Now's my turn to shine.” - Steph French

Steph French, 18, a Hampstead, N.H., high-school senior has been counting down the days to her prom on Saturday, May 21. But this year, French has more to look forward to than just a pretty dress.

Essay Submission:

"Everyone wants to be the center of attention just once. Being that overweight girl in the shadow, few wanted to associate with me. Dropping nearly 60 lbs, confidence and self appreciation became a new part of my life, when before I just felt sorry for myself. Now's my turn to shine, and I could never be more proud of my achievements. With the help of Q-tips, I would be honored to win the "Get Gorgeous" contest and be able to show my classmates the person that they have been missing out on for the previous seventeen years of my life.”

Her comments on winning:

"The first thing I did when I heard the news that I won the Get Gorgeous with Q-tips contest was call everyone stored in my cell phone to tell them the most exciting news ever! It means so much to me to be recognized for all of my efforts. Thanks to Q-tips, my prom dreams are becoming a reality.”

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