Who: Daphne Cooper-Booker
What: Leads a mass makeover
Where: Jersey City, New Jersey
When: 1.6.05

In 1990, after a year in drug rehab, Daphne Cooper-Booker, now 43, fled New Jersey for the Florida sun and formed the nondenominational ministry the Apple of His Eye. There, she preached the Gospel to HIVers while helping them navigate health-care bureaucracy.

In ’97, she became a Mary Kay makeup consultant and added physical and spiritual makeovers to her services. After testing positive in 2001, she hauled the ministry back to Jersey. This January, the self-proclaimed prophetess gussied up ladies at the Mary McLeod Bethune Life Center in Jersey City. POZ never looked prettier.

My first husband had HIV, but I stayed negative. When he died in ’95, I got depressed. I stopped dressing up. I didn’t even do my hair. Then I made a vow: Daphne gets up every day, and she gets dressed. It worked like medicine. I started a makeover ministry: Women would come to my house, pick outfits (mostly donated) from my closet, and I’d take them to church. I remarried in 2000 but soon learned that my second husband was positive (he’d known all along) and that I had AIDS. He died in 2001. I’d already been delivered from prostitution, crack and alcoholism, but I heard you didn’t get delivered from AIDS. I turned to my prayer book and decided to change that. I also started meds and have been undetectable for two years.

The Jersey City event was my first at a community center. There were refreshments, racks of clothes, another Mary Kay consultant and two ladies who spoke about Medicaid and self-esteem. I preached about loving yourself and that you must make time in your schedule to dress yourself up—on the inside and out.

The Lord gave me the gift of prophecy to teach people about themselves. I placed my hands on one woman and told her the truth about her love life. The group hugged her and tears came streaming down. Another lady was on welfare. She didn’t have an outfit to get a job, so we gave her a total makeover—makeup, hair and clothes. I hope to repeat the event monthly. It’s helped to finally make Daphne feel whole.