Those reaching out include celebrities — the 18-year-old recently spent a day with “Jane the Virgin” actress Greice Santo, who orchestrated a pedicure-to-highlights makeover for Elledge in her hometown of Harrisonburg, Va. And rocker Axl Rose hooked her up with tickets for his D.C. concert with band AC/DC later this month.
Santo started a charity called “Glam With Greice” to offer Hollywood-style pampering to women who have been victims of abuse or bullying, and had put out a social media call for nominations. “Someone forwarded me an article about Sadie,” she said. “And I was taken aback. I’m Latina, too, and that this kind of thing is still happening in 2016 is unbelievable.”
So last week, Santo and her squad picked up Elledge from her shift at Jess’ Lunch and oversaw the kind of makeover that’s usually accompanied by a jaunty pop song in a movie montage: picking out cute dresses at LeLa Boutique, getting the full gauntlet of beauty treatments at the Studio salon, and posing for glammy “after” pics. It was a particularly novel experience for Elledge, who had never been to a salon, Santo said.
The transformation was supposed to culminate with Rose showing up to fly Elledge and a gang of family and friends to his band’s concert in Florida that night, but Elledge had a family obligation and couldn’t take him up on the offer. Instead, he called to invite her to his Sept. 17 Verizon Center show (Elledge said she and her granddad are “big AC/DC fans”).
Santo, who started her charity after being bullied by a powerful (and unnamed) man, said she sees a makeover as more than skin-deep. “It’s a way to take action, instead of just saying ‘oh, I feel for you.’ … I want her to know that there are people out there who care about her,” she said. And its effects last way after the mascara has been washed away, she said, by helping boost a woman’s confidence.
“At first she seemed shy, but by the time we left the salon, she was smiling and giving everyone hugs,” Santo said. “I knew it was the right thing to do.”