‘Beautiful, elegant, worthy:’ Longwood nonprofit uses lipstick to comfort domestic abuse victims

Find Your Fabulosity has shipped more than 85,000 lipsticks to domestic violence shelters

LONGWOOD, Fla. – Sheryl Kurland’s mom once told her, “if you want to feel better, put a little lipstick on.”

Now her home is filled with boxloads of lip gloss in every shade of red and pink.

Kurland is the founder of Find Your Fabulosity, a Longwood-based nonprofit that sends gift bags filled with lipstick to domestic violence shelters across the nation.

“To a woman who was a victim, a new lipstick is a beacon of hope. And it helps her begin to love the person she sees in the mirror,” Kurland said as she ran her hands through a storage container filled with hundreds of new lipstick cartridges.

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“This is a very heavy box,” Kurland said. “All of these lipsticks are going to be sorted, counted, bagged and mailed to women who are in shelters all around the country.”

Kurland once traveled the country doing relationship-themed speaking engagements for college students. In 2015, she offered to speak to the women at Safe House, a domestic violence shelter in Seminole County.

“I just saw how raw, barren, lost and depressed these women were,” Kurland remembered. “It broke my heart and I just started thinking ‘how can I help these women feel like women again?’ How can they find that essence in their soul?”

That’s when she remembered something her mother once said. “I remember growing up my mother, and I thought it was foolish at the time, she said ‘Sheryl, if you want to feel better, just go put a little lipstick on.’”

So on her next visit to the shelter, she used that advice and brought a few dozen lipsticks along with her.

“I took my little Ziploc baggie and I poured the lipstick on the table and ‘I said everybody just take a color.’ And all of a sudden the sun came out in the room. The pain lifted and these women were happy and joyous and laughing,” she said.

Kurland remembers they weren’t talking about domestic violence and everything they had been through.

“I sat there completely stunned at what I was witnessing,” Kurland said. “It doesn’t mean they were healed but in that moment they felt beautiful, elegant, worthy and valued all from a little tube of lipstick.”

In 2016, Kurland officially launched Find Your Fabulosity. “I felt in that moment when they lit up and they felt like women again, I felt they had found their fabulosity.”

The nonprofit accepts new lipstick donations from cosmetic companies and individuals and distributes them to more than 300 shelters across the nation. Kurland tells us 85,000 women have received gift bags filled with lipstick, lip-gloss, mirror compacts, and two cards that read “You Are fabulous,” with the National Domestic Violence Hotline number on the back.

“I pinch myself every time I think about it,” Kurland said. “This was not on my radar. I was just bumping along in life doing my thing. I’m not a religious person but I believe there’s a higher power, some guiding source.”

Find Your Fabulosity is always in need of donations. You can contact them through their website.

If you or someone you know is struggling to leave an abusive relationship, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233.

About the Author:

Paul is a Florida native who graduated from the University of Central Florida. As a multimedia journalist, Paul enjoys profiling the people and places that make Central Florida unique.