SHERI RECTOR: I Am A Beautiful Rochester Woman Nomination Letter
By Stella Madden
Attending any charity event when food is freely and bountifully disbursed attracts needy people. Usually needy people are living on the poverty level or below (in some places considered the “untouchables”). I’m one of the needy people, and so is Sheri Rector.
My first impression of Sheri was seeing her walk down those old, concrete, basement stairs at Bethel Lutheran Church (to Community Food Response). Sheri’s not a petite woman and isn’t updating a fashion portfolio. Her presence might have made her a plus model during the Roman Era. She has long, thick, black hair, lacking any trace of gray. She has large, round, flabby arms (covered) in a flowered green summer dress flowing softly around her equally unshapely legs. She executes a maximum comfortableness, yet announces a cry for refinement, diet and exercise.
My second impression of Sheri was artsy. We both attended a free painting class. Each participant in this women-only event made introductions and offered brief self-comments. Sheri did not lie or maintain a pseudo appearance. “I know I overeat. I can’t help it. I don’t feel beautiful. I feel ugly,” she explains.
Sheri’s bold, forthright statements are refreshingly human. The “u” word was pronounced with such non-apology that love means not saying you’re sorry for having yellow teeth, gray hair or lumpy, muscle-less thighs. Perhaps, there’s more to acceptance than toned, shapely arms, and perhaps Sheri’s daring honesty might replace “celebrity apprentice” with “inner core is more important than stomach core.”
That search for beauty might begin with survival: Sheri’s survival—the need to take care of yourself, the need to have food even if only obtained from charity, the need for self-improvement, the knowledge to want something better, the need and desire to find inner strength to overcome.
When Rochester Women magazine team read Sheri Rector’s I Am A Beautiful Rochester Woman nomination, we felt drawn to her inner beauty and artistic flair. We thought it would be eye-opening to feature a woman in poverty, to help her rediscover her outer beauty in a way she perhaps didn’t realize she could.
THE BEAUTIFYING PROCESS
We took Sheri for lunch at Casablanca Creative Cuisine & Wine, where chef Youness Bojji makes women feel beautiful, to get to know Sheri. It was a joy meeting Sheri as she articulately crafted and reviewed her three-page life story and her heart’s deepest wounds and desires.
Sheri has always been artistic. She has created mandalas using paint, markers and colored pencils. She has also painted acrylic and oil paintings and ceramics and worked with clay on a spinning wheel. Her creative side led her to design beaded gemstone and sterling silver jewelry and start a business, Rainbow Moon Treasures. These days, she creates quilt pattern designs and sells them on craftsy.com and etsy.com. She has a website rainbow-moon-treasure.com and is hoping to get a backend database to help her business grow.
Sheri sews her own clothing, mostly ankle-length dresses. We thought it would be fun for Sheri to try some new clothing, so we engaged Kris Ferguson, owner of Phenomenal Woman Consignment Shop in Zumbrota. Kris helped Sheri find styles that fit right and looked fabulous. She even lined up Gibbons Optical to loan her some fun frames for the shoot. Marann Faget, owner of Creative Costumes and Clothing, draped Sheri in lovely fabric and allowed us to photograph in her studio.
According to Sheri, her thigh-length hair is her best feature. She has not had her hair cut since 1990 and does not want her hair cut now. The stylists at Hair Studio 52 gave Sheri a fresh, half-inch trim and a beautiful style. Kendra at Rocco Altobelli Salon gave Sheri a royal pedicure and manicure treatment.
A TWINKLE IN HER EYES
Sheri lives with physical pain, depression and anxiety. Sometimes even eating feels like a chore, and grooming efforts seem like too much effort. She wakes up praying to decrease anxiety and throughout the day prays for herself and other people. She says, “I know my God will provide everything I truly need.”
Tracey McGuire escorted Sheri to her appointments and the photo shoot. “I saw Sheri go from anxious to relaxed to downright silly. Her smile relaxed and the twinkle in her eyes appeared,” says Tracey.
We hope Sheri overcomes some anxiety and has discovered that she is truly beautiful through I Am A Beautiful Rochester Woman.