Interview: Yvonne Brownlie

Yvonne Brownlie is General Manager of Look Good Feel Better. The charity organises free “pick me up” workshops for women undergoing treatment for cancer. During the workshops they get a pampering treatment and a makeover and the chance to talk to other women going through a similar experience. They receive a gift bag full of cosmetics to take home, thanks to the CTFA. The women leave the workshops with a smile on their faces and the strength to face the challenge of a lifetime. Look Good Feel Better celebrates its 20 year anniversary this year.

What was your first job?

My first job was as a hairdresser beauty therapist in the UK, working in one of London’s famous salons in Knightsbridge. 

Where has your career taken you? Which cities have you worked in?

I’ve been very lucky, my career has taken me around the world. Being a fashion buyer was an exciting career move working in leading department  stores, working on the latest trends and having to turn around styles in the space of a week. My love of fashion continues to this day. My hairdressing background helped me get a job with L’Oreal  whom I worked for 15 years. I have worked in Los Angeles, Toronto, Montreal, Melbourne Sydney and I now work in Auckland.  

When did you become involved with Look Good Feel Better?

I became involved with LGFB when I was working for L’Oreal in Australia. The programme was being introduced there for the first time and I was asked to work on the committee to set up LGFB. It was great privilege.  

What inspires you about the charity?

Just this morning a woman came into the office having just been diagnosed with cancer and being told that she will have to undergo chemotherapy treatment. As you can imagine she was extremely upset to learn what the side effects of her treatment would be - changes to her skin, loss of eyebrows and loss of hair. To be able to rekindle the hope in her, that help is at hand through LGFB and just to be able to assure her that there is still hope that she can look as normal as possible – that inspires me.

What gets you out of bed every morning?

I’ve always been a very disciplined person so I tend to plan my day in advance. But knowing I’m able to help other women is very motivating.  

LGFB is 20 years old and has achieved so much. What do you hope the charity achieves in the next 20 years?

Yes it’s quite a milestone for the programme. I would like to see the programme continue its success helping as many women as possible to have confident to face the world while undergoing treatment for cancer.  

What are you reading at the moment?

A book I have been promising myself I would read for some time - Nelson Mandela

How do you wind down at the end of a day?

It depends on the day but three to four times a week I like to visit the gym (doesn’t always work out). Friday nights it’s with a glass of wine.

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  • Starlite5 says
    I can't imagine what those women go through when they are are diagnosed with cancer but I've seen the effects it has on friends and family and I don't know anyone who hasn't been touched by cancer.

    This is such a wonderful cause and the ability to be able to give a woman some confidence and happiness even if only for a short time is so heart warming. I can't believe it's been 20 years since this charity came about and I applaude you for the wonderful work you do. I have a friend who hasn't got long to live but she is making sure she is making the most of her time left and her ability to get up every day and dress as though she's attending a wedding brings her so much confidence and helps her face each day.
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      • New Member says
        Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic.
      • KH says
        Interesting hearing what path led someone to be in this job now and great to hear more about this charity.
      • Wice says
        So glad I read this article as I have a lovely friend who is just about to start chemo. I had not heard of Look Good Feel Better but what a wonderful charity. I'm not sure how to broach it to her but it sounds like just what she is needing to hear about. If anyone else would like too know more, there is lots of information on the website, including workshop timetables. See:
      • Rosie says
        Did you broach this with your friend, Wice?
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