“I liked that better than that mean show with that lady with the silver streaks in her hair,” said my husband after watching the premiere episode of “How to Look Good Naked” on the Lifetime Network. “They let the hot girl stay hot.”
Yes, they did let “the hot girl stay hot,” but this show hosted by Queer Eye’s Carson Kressley did more than that. They did what I think is missing in all these makeover shows – they didn’t change the exterior of the woman, but the interior. They let the hot girl stay hot, AND have her finally realize her hotness.
Hallelujah! A show where women aren’t beaten up, changed and reassembled into a different person! A show where a woman is made to feel comfortable in her skin, shown that she is attractive, and taught to celebrate her shape and work with, not against it.
For those of you who may a life on Friday evenings and weren’t home to see this show, I’ll give you a brief summary:
- – Cute girl with normal figure (think your office mate, your best friend, your sister who is constantly dieting and beating herself up and oblivious to guys checking her out at Happy Hour but complaining that no man would want to date her and her hips) meets up with a kinder and gentler Carson Kressley (not as flashy and in your face as he was on “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”) who seems to totally respect and adore women and their bodies.
- – Cute Girl is told to strip to her skivvies in a large room full of mirrors. Cute Girl cries, admits all the parts of her body she loathes, and is told by Carson that what she sees is not so bad an is offered some figure-friendly solutions (such as a different sized bra to support breasts and prevent back rolls).
- – Cute Girl is given row of about seven women of varying shapes and sizes, also stripped to their skivvies. She is asked to stand in the row where she thinks she fits according to size. Cute Girl heads to one end of the line, stands between two women and is told that actually, she is far smaller (about 5” smaller) and moved to a different part of the line where the smaller sized women are located. Cute Girl realizes she has body dysmorphia.
- – Cute Girl’s body is projected onto large wall in busy shopping district (sans face) and people are asked to rate her body and say what they like about her figure. She gets good ratings and compliments about her breasts.
- – Cute Girl sees on a monitor three women walking down a city street: one in a sexy black dress with red belt below the bust and sassy heels; one in a shlumpy blue sweater and baggy pants; one in a very hum drum outfit of cardigan, corduroy pants and a tee. Cute Girl is asked to pick which woman (all three have their faces hidden) is the heaviest, which one is the slimmest. She picks shlumpy sweater to be the heaviest, sexy dress to be the slimmest. We then see the faces of these women and come to find out… it is the same woman in all three pictures. Cute Girl realizes wardrobe does affect how your body is seen to others.
- – Cute Girl goes shopping for lingerie at Lane Bryant and realizes she had on the wrong size of bra AND can look sexy in a bra and panties. Cute Girl then goes to New York & Company and Marina Rinaldi and is put in many sassy and bold outfits that flatter instead of hide her figure. Cute girl gains confidence and Carson picks her up below her bum and spins her in the air. Husband turns to me and says, “dude, I sooo wouldn’t want Carson to do that to ME!” I agree, but am thrilled to see Cute Girl not be ashamed of weight (cuz I know when my hubby tries to pick me up the first thing I think about is how heavy I am, ruining the moment).
- – Cute Girl and Carson go for a day at the spa, then they do Cute Girl’s hair and makeup (nothing too extreme, nothing too different or unlike her true self).
- – Cute Girl does a photo shoot in the nude (with strategically placed body pillow)
- – Cute Girl’s photo is again projected onto city wall, this time one of the “boudoir” shots, showing her face, skin, but not really her body. She asks several people on the street with her new-found confidence if they like how she looks naked and points to the building. She gets rave reviews, she smiles, she feels good.
- – Cute Girl is not beaten down, forced into Spanx, told what colors she can and cannot wear. She was not given hair or makeup to hide or camouflage any part of her. No one attacked her current wardrobe (except admitting her bra was too small) or sense of style. Cute Girl left show surprisingly with all her dignity, even though she was shown in hardly any clothing and was even paraded around Lane Bryant in sheer skivvies.
How could this be? Because she is a normal-shaped woman who is naturally beautiful and this show actually helped her realize that. Adding confidence to an already beautiful body and face, she totally glowed. She was supported, praised, given helpful advice for life, and not one episode of a show. She wasn’t given rules, she wasn’t told that Old her was bad and New her was the only acceptable choice.
Carson was the best friend that every woman wishes she had – the one who wasn’t afraid to cinch a belt below her breasts, tell her those panties weren’t flattering, to sashay into a store an command the attention of every salesperson to ensure all purchases and experiences are perfect. Though Carson may be the attention-seeking flamboyant one on “Queer Eye,” on this show he is the Fairy Godmother; entertaining yet shining the spotlight on the woman and making her dreams come true.
This show was great to watch as a curvy woman who teeters between accepting and herself and attempting to diet and exercise into an unrealistic ideal placed upon her by the media and glossy magazines. I watched the show because I felt that I WAS Cute Girl – similar shape, similar body issues. When Cute Girl was given a “support system” of several other women in underwear to compare herself to, I know that she was seeing herself as larger than she really was, but was surprised when I judged where I would stand if in that studio, told my husband and found that I too was wrong about my size.
The lingerie portion was well done – not just showing well-fitting bras, but also showing styles of sets that are flattering AND sexy for a curvy figure. I adored that the shopping took place in typical mall stores that are accessible to most Americans, with realistic prices and styles that would work in a typical life for a young adult.
The whole episode was meant to bolster this woman’s confidence and educate female viewers with similar body and confidence issues, and I honestly think it did just that.
If you weren’t able to catch the episode, the Lifetime Network website has the episode available for viewing. “How to Look Good Naked” is on the Lifetime Network Fridays at 9pm Eastern Time.