• Vanessa Wood

Why Everyone Loves A Makeover

The Block, America’s Next Top Model, Extreme Makeovers, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, The Biggest Loser, Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, Tabitha Takes Over, Backyard Blitz, What Not To Wear, 10 Years Younger - these are just a few of the many hundreds of makeover reality shows on our TV screens. Have you ever wondered why there were so darn many of them?

Their popularity is connected to their powerful influence on fundamental human desires. We were all born voyeurs who get a kick out of watching other people taking risks, have a tumultuous journey of self discovery (where they unpack some emotional baggage) before experiencing the exhilaration of a happy ending. It’s this formula of risk – struggle – catharsis – exhilaration, which is deeply rooted in the human psyche and is the basis for personal growth. By watching these makeover shows, we able to live vicariously through the show’s participants, using their real experiences to satisfy our desire and need for growth through catharsis and the exhilaration which follows. Because without growth we atrophy and die.

But the emotions we experience through the act of observation are only a placebo and although pleasant, they only last for as long as we are watching, which is how we become ‘hooked’. These counterfeit emotions do not possess the power to improve our lives in any tangible way and are a poor substitute for the real thing. We fool ourselves into thinking we have grown just watching from the safety of our couches, but if we only ever watch, our growth will remain stunted.

Have you ever decluttered an untidy, dated room and spruced it up with some new pieces of home décor? Then you will know how great it feels afterwards, when instead of avoiding that room because of it’s draining negative energy, you now want to be in it and look at it admiringly because it makes you feel happy, proud, positively energised and creatively invigorated.

Now imagine that room is you.

Imagine how much more amplified those great feelings of accomplishment and joy would be if you were the subject of your spruce up. As well as improving your mood, creativity and productivity, it would also affect those around you, just like your room affected how you felt looking at it. People would naturally gravitate towards you and because your energy has changed for the better, so will theirs. Before long, you’ll notice your little spruce up has had a huge knock-on affect and your whole environment is more positive, productive and satisfying.

One of the things I hear most often when I ask women if they would like to have a transformation is: “I could never do that. I hate being in front of the camera,” or I could never look beautiful because I take horrible photos” and my personal favourite: “I hate my smile.” I have to stifle a chuckle, because that’s what ALL of my clients have said before their transformation and without exception, all of them have said afterwards that they had fun, they love their photos and wished they had done it sooner.

All the obstacles women put in front of themselves as to why they think they couldn’t do a transformation shoot, including, “I don’t have time” or “I’d feel silly” “I don’t have anything decent to wear," all boil down to one thing – FEAR.

Fear comes from either a memory of a past experience or imagining a worse case scenario of the future, or both. In both cases, these fears are formed in our brains and are not physical threats. If we let these negative thoughts gain control of our emotions, they would have us run away or render us frozen, unable to make a decision.

Conquering these imagined fears can be done by understanding where they came from in the first place. If you have only seen bad photos of yourself in the past, it would be easy to assume that you were incapable of looking good in a photo. But in how many of those previous photos did you have your hair and makeup done by someone skilled at glamourflage? How many of those images were lit by a highly trained technician? Was the camera an iPhone or was it a professional level piece of tech operated by someone who had the know-how to use it to its maximum potential? Did a stylist coach you on what to wear and did the photographer tell you what your best angles were? I’m guessing the answer is “no” to all of the above.

Once you have seen the difference between a professional transformation portrait and a snap shot or selfie, you soon realise its like comparing a telephone pad doodle with fine art. But none of us can see into the future. The irony is that if you could see into your future and know how great you look after a professional transformation portrait, you would have cheated yourself out of the best part of the process; the catharsis and exhilaration and ultimately - the opportunity for growth, which is key to having a long and happy life.

Remember courage is not the absence of fear, but the overcoming of fear.

Fear is all that lies between you and your dreams.


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