Judy Mathews has a story line straight out of the Southern homecoming queen handbook. The night she was crowned in 1966, she was escorted by her high school sweetheart, Gary. Together, they attended the University of Georgia, married, and returned to their hometown of Lexington, Georgia, so Gary could coach and teach at the school where they'd met, Oglethorpe County High School. They had a son, Craig, and a daughter, Allison, who in 1990 was named homecoming queen at that same school. "I think I was more excited and nervous that night than Allison was!" Judy, now 68, recalls.
Homecoming has always been an anticipated event in their one-stoplight town. Like her mom, Allison was the quintessential queen—a well-liked cheerleader, track star, and good student. She mastered makeup by age 10—long before she was even allowed to wear it out of the house—thanks in part to Judy's job as a Mary Kay sales consultant.
Now 45, Allison still enjoys makeup, but she knows all too well how fragile a priority physical beauty is. After undergoing treatment for breast cancer in 2016, she had to adjust to the loss of her hair and changes to her skin. "I never realized how powerfully outward appearance can define a person," she says. "I had to choose to believe something different: that beauty comes from what's in our hearts." Hers is filled with gratitude for a now-clean bill of health and for her family. She and her husband, Kevin, raised three children on a 40-acre farm in Arnoldsville alongside Judy and Gary, who recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in July. "Allison's diagnosis rocked our family to the core," says Judy, who drew inspiration from her daughter's positivity and faith as she fought cancer. "She was beautiful in her ball cap, beautiful with a bald head, and beautiful with short hair. She's one of the strongest women I know."
Judy and Allison share their winning secrets below.
2 of 4Robbie Caponetto
For Fighting Fine Lines
"Mom taught me to use my ring finger to apply products (like Burt's Bees BB Cream) on the delicate area around my eyes to ensure I put the least amount of pressure there," Allison says.
Both women wish primer had been a thing back in their homecoming days. "It's the key for keeping makeup looking good and staying on all day," says Judy, who uses the Mary Kay Foundation Primer Sunscreen, of course.
It's a family rule: "Never leave home without mascara," Allison says. To perk up lower lashes without clumping, they flip the wand of their Mary Kay Lash Intensity Mascara vertically and use the tip to distribute pigment.