Campaign of the Month: October 2017
Blood and Bourbon
“Beauty comes from the inside. Inside the hair salon.”
“Great skin doesn’t happen by chance. It happens by appointment.”
“So, twice a week, I go to a beauty salon and have my hair blown out. It’s cheaper than psychoanalysis and much more uplifting.”
Flawless Skincare and Cosmetic Spa opened its doors in late 2009 in a Salon Loft-style suite, where Celia Flores worked by herself for a year to hone her skills and build up a clientele. By 2010 she could no longer keep up with the demand of her growing business, and in April 2010 she moved from the suites to a store front in the French Quarter. Over the years she has brought on more employees and expanded her services from simply skincare to a full spa menu.
Flawless is known as the premiere Day Spa in the French Quarter. Both men and women enjoy the relaxing atmosphere, complimentary tea, and individualized attention afforded to them by their service providers. With the exception of the lash lounge, all of the treatment rooms are completely isolated, affording clients the highest level of privacy.
From the website:
Your journey will begin by unwinding and relaxing in our Tranquility Room in a luxurious robe and slippers. Enjoy a complimentary seasonal beverage (sweet tea always available) and let your troubles float away while our team prepares your room for the best experience possible, all custom-tailored to your needs. Choose from a wide variety of advanced body and skin treatments, from deep tissue or relaxation massage to our signature Lift(™) Facial to a Vichy shower or mud bath. Our team has a genuine desire to provide the utmost care to you during your visit; please don’t hesitate to let us know how we can make your experience even more extraordinary.
• Best Esthi — Celia Flores, 2014
• Best Luxury Urban Escape — Flawless, 2011
• Best Luxury Wellness Spa — Flawless, 2013
• Best Spa Manager — Alana Frederick, 2015
• Best Luxury Beauty Spa — Flawless, 2012 – 2016
• Massage: Choose from traditional Swedish to deep tissue to neuromuscular, sports, or craniosacral massage. Each massage is custom tailored to your body by our medically licensed therapists.
• Sugar & Salt Scrubs: These signature skin-sloughing treatment packs an impressive amount of pampering in one compact treatment. Start by being bathed with skin-soothing coconut milk, then stretch out on a heated marble bed as your body is exfoliated from head to toe. Finish with a rinse beneath the multiple heads of the Vichy shower.
• Vichy & Swiss Shower: Vichy and Swiss showers are generally used during part of a treatment, such as a body wrap or exfoliating scrub, but can also be enjoyed on their own. They are both forms of hydrotherapy. A Vichy shower is enjoyed horizontally, where multiple heads cascade water down onto the entire body to simulate rainfall. Swiss showers feature an overhead and side sprays that alternate between warm and cool for an invigorating experience.
• Steam Room or Sauna: Pick between wet or dry heat to help reduce toxins from the skin and body, loosen stiff joints, recover more quickly from workouts, and reduce stress.
• Mud Baths: Incorporates volcanic ash and hot spring water to help improve circulation, detoxify skin, loosen muscles, provide pain relief from certain ailments, and exfoliate dead skin cells. More importantly, it provides ample time to unwind and relieve stress.
• Body Wraps: Begin with a full body dry brush followed by an exfoliating scrub. Detox body wraps will use mud, clay, or seaweed to cover the body, then it will be wrapped in plastic and blankets for twenty minutes to draw out impurities and provide missing nutrients. Hydrating wraps follow the above procedure but focus on moisturizing lotions, creams, and gels. Slimming wraps use tightly applied bandages to shrink inches at a time.
• Chakra Stone Therapy: Experience your unlimited potential and your thoughts melting away as warm chakra stones are placed on your body, feel the calming effects of a soothing massage with warm river stones and a gentle Reiki and Native American energy therapy to help you release stress and embrace a feeling of serenity and inner harmony.
• Cupping: Massage cupping is based on an ancient technique from China. By creating a suction and negative pressure, rigid soft tissue is released. This loosens adhesions by lifting connective tissue and increasing blood flow to skin and muscles. This technique can be helpful in lymphatic drainage, scar tissue release, myofascial release and chronically tight muscles.
• Lymphatic Drainage: A gentle manual therapy to help improve the flow of lymph in the body. Helps to reduce swelling, boosts the immune system, and improves lymphedema and chronic fatigue.
• Kinesio Taping: A method of taping that provides support and stability to the joints and muscles, without affecting range of motion or circulation. This treatment assists in movement without chronic pain, while facilitating the body’s healing process of both muscles and joints.
• Moxibustion: A Japanese hot herbal therapy is applied over the meridian lines of the body. Helps release blocked chi and energizes the body by balancing yin and yang.
• Ginger Therapy: Warm moist compress with organic ginger and herbs applied after any type of massage to increase circulation and release stagnation and muscle spasms.
Facial & Skincare Treatments
• Facials: Each facial is preceded by an in-depth consultation to address skin concerns. Facials are custom tailored to individual needs and include cleansing, exfoliation, two masks, any necessary extractions, massage, serums, moisturizer, and any of the high-frequency machines deemed necessary.
• Microdermabrasion: A minimally invasive procedure that uses a diamond-tipped wand to gently sand away the rough outer exterior of the face, leaving skin smooth and clear afterwards.
• Dermaplaning: Dermaplaning is a safe and highly effective physical exfoliation removing the uppermost layer of dead skin along with fine hair. This helps provide deep product penetration, promote smoother skin, reduces the appearance of acne scars, and diminishes the look of fine lines and wrinkles. This facial includes mask, serums and moisturizer.
• Chemical Peels: A chemical solution is applied to the face, hands, or neck that will cause the skin to exfoliate and gently peel off over the next few days or weeks. Superficial peels will use alpha hydroxy acid, medium peels will use glycolic acid or trichloroacetic acid, and the deepest peel will use phenol or trichloroacetic acid (clients will be sedated for the deepest peels).
• Microneedling: Also known as collagen induction therapy or “the vampire facial,” this procedure uses tiny needles to create small pricks beneath the skin to stimulate collagen production. This helps increase skin elasticity, reduce the appearance of scars or hyperpigmentation, and even out skin tone. A topical anesthetic will be applied prior to the procedure, but no downtime is expected.
• Back Facials: A dry brush massage, gentle exfoliation, and cleansing of clogged pores. The back facial includes steam, extractions, and moisturizer.
• Hair extensions
• Updos & Styling
• Eyelash extensions, lifts, tinting
Jade Kalani has her own suite of rooms within Flawless that Kindred guests will be seen to. The secondary suite’s construction was finished in 2011 to see to the particular needs of the clients who see the insides. Jade herself is responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of the room, and she, Celia, and Alana are the only Flawless employees to ever set foot inside.
Instead of the Tranquility Room offered to kine guests, the Kindred will be shown to the Kindred equivalent. There are hooks for their clothing and cubbies for their shoes, with fresh robes for those Kindred who still get squeamish about going without. A heavy door takes them into their waiting room, inspired by Turkish and Russian bath houses, with marble flooring, furniture, and walls. Beyond that are two doors: one that leads to a three inch thick steel-lined “panic room” of sorts that has been tested thoroughly to make sure it can withstand even a Brujah’s frenzy, and one that leads to the treatment room proper. The frenzy room does not contain anything but a floor and four walls, though items and even people can be provided to destroy for the right price. Soundproof and windowless, more than once it has been used as a temporary haven during the daylight hours by wayward Kindred.
The treatment room was also heavily inspired by Turkish bath houses. The walls are tile, the table a marble slab in the middle of the room. Restraints dangle from the table for unruly guests, and the table itself is set with draining capabilities and hoses for easy cleaning.
Owner and Operator: Celia Flores
Management: Alana Frederick, Louise Gustafon (Assistant Manager)
Estheticians: Piper McCreedy, Madison Raine
Cosmetologists: Landen Parker, Cassandra “Sandra” Burton
Massage Therapists: Emily Rosure, Erica “Anoushka Petrov” Wheeler, Mary Novack
Reception: Natalie Andrews
Family: The Flores
Status: Flawless Spa •••
The eldest daughter of Senator Maxen Flores and his wife Diana, Celia’s dropping out of Tulane University (where she had been a dance major) and subsequent birth of her daughter, Lucy, is the subject of some scandal in certain circles. Celia was able to obtain her esthetics license from New Orleans-based John Jay Academy and opened up her own business in the French Quarter in 2010: Flawless. It began as a day spa and has swiftly become more of a medical spa once Celia opted to pursue a degree in the medical field. Despite her lack of a “real” education, the girl is doing quite well for herself and has quite a large social media following as well as a very successful business.
Status: Flawless Spa ••
Alana began at Flawless in 2010, shortly after Celia moved from her loft-styled suite to the building she now runs out of in the French Quarter. She handles the day-to-day operations of the spa, including employee scheduling, inventory ordering, and client relations. She takes care of the little odds and ends that the spa and salon need so that its owner can focus on the bigger picture and her own clients. Though Alana still takes the occasional client to keep her skills sharp and will step in if one of her employees can’t make it in for any reason, she has stepped effortlessly into the role of management and is in the office more often than she’s on the floor. Flawless wouldn’t be the same without her diligence and savvy business acumen.
Status: Flawless Spa ••
Louise was born in Las Vegas, Nevada. Her mother was a show girl and her father was a poker dealer, so she grew up in and around casinos and glamour. She loved the glitz and glam and wanted it for herself; not to turn herself into something new, but to be able to transform others. At 18 she obtained her Cos license and quickly found her place in the salon world, but a few years later lost her license when her then-boyfriend’s undisclosed wife accused her of sleeping with her clients. She left Vegas behind and moved to LA, then to New Orleans when the company she worked for, Pangloss, opened a new location down there. It was in NOLA that she met Celia Flores, who, in 2014, offered to bring Louise on as a part-time receptionist. It wasn’t enough for her to leave her job completely, but she spent the next year learning the ins and outs of Celia’s salon under the tutelage of Alana Frederick and, in 2015, was promoted to assistant manager. She was pleased to see the back of Pangloss.
Status: Flawless Spa ••
Piper was one of the first official employees at Flawless. She was hired by Celia after only a few minutes of speaking, where Piper admitted that her favorite color was “sparkles,” her favorite decade was the 20’s, and she has no idea what her 5-year plan is. Celia would later describe her bumbling honesty and erratic energy as ”refreshing.” Despite a rather spotty track record at salons, Piper has proven to be an apt esthetician. She’s a hit with the clients, an incurable gossip, and wants to be everyone’s friend. More than that, though, she’s got a heart of gold beneath the slew of tattoos. She sometimes thinks about what else she can do with her life and knows that she doesn’t want to work in salons forever, but she’s content for now. Outside of work she is frequently spotted in the Quarter at various bars.
Family: The Landrys
A lot of people say that the salon industry is a young woman’s game. They see the glitz and glam of the women who work all around the world at salons—nevermind the fact that men are a very real part of the industry—and assumes that most of them are young, vibrant, and spry. Maybe Madison never heard those “rules,” or maybe Madison just doesn’t care about the rules, because at almost seventy-years-old she’s still going strong. She looks old enough to be someone’s grandmother but lacks the telltale wrinkles and still has a spring in her step, and she credits her good looks and savvy fashion sense to her time in the industry. Madison said she fell into the skincare business after a long career working in the correctional field, when she noticed the general lack of health and pallor among the inmates. She got her start in Hollywood in the mid ‘80s when she was already 40-years-old and names a number of old movie stars among her clients. She credits her time there with the name change from ”Betty Landry” to ”Madison Raine,” which just felt more elegant. She claims to have worked on such figures as former president Ronald Reagan and the Queen of England. Madison “retired” at 60 and moved to NOLA to be closer to her remaining family, then decided to come out of retirement and took a job at Flawless. She still likes to wear a bold red lip when she’s out and about and pairs it with large glasses, dangling costume jewelry, and a fire-cracker personality.
Cassandra “Sandra” Burton
Cassandra—or Sandra, as she prefers to be called—was a stripper until she got fat. She blamed the birth control, the thyroid problems, the genetic predisposition to obesity. She blamed O’Tolleys and Cow Lord and Four Lads, serving sizes in America, an unhealthy obsession with being “stick thin.” She used to be a crusader for HAES and took to Mumblr to spout the same sort of “real women have curves” and ”Marilyn Monroe was a size 14” schtick that was all the rage a few years ago. She hated men, hated the media, hated herself. And then in 2013 she had Bariatric Surgery, lost 150 lbs in two years, and has managed to keep it off since. While she was in the process of losing the weight she decided to find something to do that didn’t involve flashing a crowd or grinding on a pole and went to school for Cosmetology. She enjoyed the hair and skincare lessons, but where she really shined was the bodywork. Years of being a stripper left her comfortable enough with other people’s bodies to read their moods and adjust her technique appropriately to give them what they really need rather than what they ask for. When Harrah’s announced that it was hiring girls for the poker room she knew that she’d be a good fit. Indeed, she’s one of the highest earners thanks to her ability to sell herself. She’s also a lesbian, which doesn’t stop her from flirting her way into bigger tips or offering ”extras” to clients that show an interest. She’s currently dating Amber Nichols, one of the dealers in the poker room who often suggests that players get a massage when Sandra is working. Amber seems to think that Sandra’s flirting is highly arousing, and the two often take their breaks together to let off some steam.
Landen grew up knowing that who they were on the outside didn’t match who they were on the inside. They grew up with bullying and an abrasive father and a mother that ”just didn’t get it.” When their ”teenage phase” turned into a lifestyle they were kicked out of their home and made their way to New Orleans, where they fell in hard with the LGBTQ+ crowd and were welcomed with open arms. They went to Cos school and graduated just in time to be snatched up by Celia Flores when she opened her spa, Flawless, who said that she felt a sort of kinship with the androgynous stylist. Despite some controversy, Landen and Celia are very pleased with their working relationship, and Celia is happy to push Landen to pursue their bigger dreams. Lucy Flores, a client of impeccable taste, will only let Landen touch her nails now and swears by their work to all her friends.
Family: The Flores
Status: Tulane Medical Center •
Fourth-year medical student at Tulane School of Medicine who intends to become an ER doctor. Bright and hardworking but born into poverty, Emily never knew her father and wound up in Texas’ foster system after her mom lost custody in a DUI and disappeared from her life. She credits her adoption by Celia Flores and Diana Flores into their family as the chief reason she isn’t still working as a waitress (or Tulane’s records department and dreaming of someday becoming a doctor). Long-term girlfriend of Robert “Robby” Grant, with whom she enjoys playing World of Shadow. Works as a part-time massage therapist at Flawless Spa, owned by Celia. Lives with Diana and her granddaughter Lucy, and is regarded by the child as one of her three mothers.
Erica “Anoushka Petrov” Wheeler
Erica had a pill problem in high school. Well, she didn’t consider it a problem, but apparently the administration, her parents, her therapist, and all her friends considered it a problem, so she ended up spending her senior year in rehab. Rather than graduate as valedictorian and “get out of this shithole city,” Erica ended up with a GED. She might have recovered from the rehab stint if that had been the only trouble she’d gotten into, but apparently she was slinging pills, coke, and heroin to the kids at her school. Because she was a minor she faced minimal criminal charges (or maybe because her dad was loaded and paid the right people to look the other way), but she still lost her scholarship to Brown. Erica ended up attending Delgado Community College with the intent to transfer out after two years, but she ended up enjoying the bodywork she’d started doing and stuck around to take the state test and get her license. She only graduated a year ago and happened upon the job posting for Touch of Luck, then impressed the owner with the trial massage and spunky attitude when she’d interviewed. The owner knew a fellow liar when she saw one, and rather than kick the girl to the curb she welcomed her in with open arms and taught her a few tricks, even helped her get some fake papers with a new name so she could leave the “pill popping” alias behind. Erica has had a bit of work done on her face—injections, rhinoplasty, some filler—and now almost nobody she used to go to school with recognizes her. She uses a Russian accent as fake as her new name to give herself an exotic appeal and even downloaded a handful of apps to help her learn how to speak it for real. She’s a big hit in the high rollers section.
Mary knew at a young age that she wanted to be in the medical field. Her dad played for the Saints and her mother was a former figure skater, and she recalls plenty of discussions around the dinner table about stretching, muscle fatigue, sprains, and strains. Her older brother, Billy, started playing football and wrestled and was just as talented as their old man, and her younger brother, Jason, had the speed and size of a pro basketball player before he ever hit high school. Mary liked sports growing up. She really did: she played basketball, softball, volleyball, tennis, and she was even on the swim team. But all of that paled in comparison to the draw she felt toward the medical industry. She was always on hand when her dad and brothers worked with the trainers who showed them how to stretch and let their muscles recover, and, when her school schedule allowed it, she even hit the road with her dad to watch his away games and get a first-hand look at sports medicine. After high school Mary applied for the Exercise Science program at Tulane, where she met Emily Rosure in one of her nutrition classes. Emily and Mary hit it off well enough that Emily took Mary under her wing and let the girl shadow her at Flawless, where she worked part-time as a massage therapist. Mary asked Emily a slew of questions about how it would translate into sports medicine and was pleased to find out that obtaining a license would only take 500 hours at a local school. She knocked it out in six months, passed her state board, and immediately started practicing. Celia was happy to hire Mary on Emily’s recommendation so that her spa could offer more medically-based body treatments, and once Mary was hired Flawless saw an increase in business from the sports world. Many of the local Saints players have made it their top choice for massage due to Mary’s work, and their wives love the extensions, cuts, and skincare services. After Mary finished her bachelor’s she decided to continue her education to achieve her doctorate so she could get more into physical therapy and combine the work that she loves so much. She took up Celia’s offer to work at Touch of Luck when the company began at Harrah’s, and while she enjoys the money she can make in fewer hours (even if her family’s wealth means she doesn’t really need it), she prefers the deeper work she can do at Flawless and has kept up her schedule there. She manages to balance both work and school with an easy efficiency.
Family: The Andrews
The only daughter of an established and influential family with a history that goes back to the 19th century, Natalie is a senior at Tulane and regular attendee at the New Orleans Dance Academy. Lithe, graceful, and with a poetry to her motion that makes her a treat to watch, her instructors all believe she has great potential. Classically trained since she was seven, Natalie, now 23, dreams of making it big in New York City, but her family have resisted at every turn. For them, her dancing is a hobby, something to round her out as a person and a prospect. It’s been a mark of pride for them, but little more, with the expectation that once she finishes college at Tulane she’ll relegate it to a hobby. Naturally quiet and reserved, she remains too timid to go against their wishes for now, however much the prospect of putting her dreams on hold hurts her. Works part-time as a receptionist at Flawless Spa.