Fact: Makeovers in real life are not fun.

Image: Andy (Anne Hathaway) gets a makeover in The Devil Wears Prada

I’m a total makeover junkie. I just love the idea of someone having their life completely changed with a little bit of makeup and a few wardrobe alterations. My favourite scenes in movies are always the makeover scenes, when an ordinary girl is transformed into a total babe, with confidence and a pumping soundtrack to match. So, why was I offended when I was offered a makeover in real life?

The first time this happened was when I had just started uni. I was doing a group project, and one of the girls told me that I needed a makeover. I knew that it was true. I was fresh out of high school, and I had realised very quickly that I still looked like I was in high school.

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My hair and makeup was natural – if not plain – and my carefully selected clothes looked boring and preppy. The girls in my graphic design degree were so chic and sexy, yet I looked like I was 12. In front of our group, the girl said, “I think we should have a makeover day for you! I’ll dye your hair and do your makeup, and we’ll change your clothes, and you’ll look so hot. Seriously – you could be so hot!”

I smiled, but inside, I was mortified. I knew that I didn’t look cool, but having someone remind me of it made me feel worse. On my wage from the local bakery, I knew it would be a long time before I could afford a new look.

Here’s a gallery of our favourite movie makeovers (post continues after gallery).


Fast-forward a decade, and I was being offered a makeover again. This time, I was in my early 30s, and heavily pregnant. A friend of mine, who loved giving makeovers, looked at my outfit and said, “You’d look so great in a dress, to really emphasise your beautiful shape. I’d love to take you shopping to help you out.”

Again, I was saddened and offended by this comment. Of course I knew that I looked awful. But what was worse was that I felt awful. Halfway through my pregnancy, I’d been hospitalised and diagnosed with a chronic kidney disease. This kidney disease caused my body to retain huge amounts of fluid, so I was unrecognisably bloated, and my legs were so puffy that I could hardly walk.

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I felt like my body had betrayed me. It was a blessing that my baby was healthy and safe. The last thing I wanted to do or think about was how I could make my body look better, because I was more focused on what was happening inside of it.

I never went ahead with either makeover offer. I laughed it off, and let the conversation flow on. But, I never forgot what it felt like to have someone suggest that I wasn’t looking good.

I was curious to know what my friends and family thought about makeovers, and many of them said that they hated the idea of it. One friend, Bec, was at the gym, when a woman told her that she had bad skin. This woman – who was also a gym member – also told Bec that her makeup was the cause of her breakouts.

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It turned out that this woman was a cosmetics salesperson. Bec says, “This pissed me off, mainly because she was being too opportunist. My confidence would have been affected if I had bad skin all the time.” I think that Bec handled this situation with her usual grace and strength, which is so awesome, because I probably would have blasted that woman for her rudeness.

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So, the bottom line is: if you want to keep your friends and avoid getting kicked out of the gym, don’t offer a makeover. You may think you’re helping, but what you’re really saying is, “Hey, I’ve noticed that you look like shit in every way. I’m completely chic and sexy. How about we spend some time together, and I can make you look more like me, because I’m the best?”

The only person who should give you a makeover is YOU. It’s your face and body – only you can decided if you want to look different. When you do it yourself, it becomes an act of self-care and personal improvement, rather than a back-handed compliment. And, overall, I know that there’s so much more to me than my looks. I value my ideas, knowledge, relationships, health… almost everything, over my looks.

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Let’s leave makeover offers for the movies, where they belong.

Have you ever been offered a makeover?