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Susan Boyle: Yes To Oprah, No To Makeover

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But can we at least have a whack at those eyebrows?!

oprah winfrey and susan boyle

Jodi Bryson: If you're one of the tens of millions of people, including Oprah Winfrey, who has an interest in Susan Boyle of "Britain's Got Talent," I appreciate that you have your reasons. I admit that I am utterly preoccupied with her, but it has nothing to do with her singing or the fact that she's a 47-year-old virgin.

Susan Boyle looks like Gene Hackman in drag, and I can barely deal. I'm a beauty editor, and I want to give her a makeover so bad, I might have beauty blue balls.

But she won't be made over. She also won't date, as per her responses to questions on this week's "Today" show visit with superfans Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira. On Friday, she is Oprah's guest.

You can watch the "Today" interview and performance. I recommend you only listen to it.

It's mean, I know. I believe Oprah must have designs to transform her from the Flawless Voice who looks like Benny Hill on qualudes into the Flawless Voice who looks like Benny Hill on Sephora. Oprah wants it. I know she does. Oprah wears false lashes every day. Oprah is my people.

Since Boyle brought the British crowd to its feet with a performance of "I Dreamed a Dream" from "Les Misérables," she is both a media phenom and 12-year-old contestant Shaheen Jafargholi's biggest competition. Have you YouTubed the kid? Ridiculous! Boyle could be on any opera stage singing like any opera star. Perfect is the curriculum goal in classic voice training, and Boyle is delivering perfection. Jafargholi is giving prodigious soul.

I know this is harsh and superficial but, secretly, beauty writers are harsh and superficial. When I'm reporting beauty, it's my job to help you feel gorgeous, to help you get to that elusive and ideal beautiful "there" from where you are now. But I can never be entirely honest about your appearance. I have to be subtle, make suggestions, offer a few tips, and capitalize on your best features. Today I'm just being brutally honest about Boyle.

If I could, I would do a drive-by makeover on the sweet lady. I already fantasize about drive-by makeovers at work: daydreams about a cart that I could wheel around corporate offices and do cubicle makeovers to correct infuriating drugstore eyeliner or attend to neglected eyebrows. I'd color and style hair. I'd have a healthy stock of white button-down blouses and Audrey Hepburn flats.

When my client looked fresh, I'd say "Gorgeous, look at me." Then FWAP! I'd slap her. I would do this because there is no excuse for rusty blush and it pisses me off, but I'd convince her this is because humble is attractive and adrenaline brings color to the cheeks. And that would be true, too. Then I'd give her a shot of tequila, an espresso, and a mint. For the rest of the day, coworkers might say "Golly, that Joan looks great today and she's just so delightful!" As opposed to, "Watch out, Joan is walking around cornering people into talking about her damn cats again."

What the hell did Joan ever do to me? Nothing. But beauty is part of my profession. Joan needs me. Boyle needs me. Boyle needs a team of beauty experts. Boyle needs Oprah's team to take care of business for Friday's appearance. But it could be tough.

Amanda Holden, a judge on "Britain's Got Talent," said this: "She needs to stay exactly the way she is because that's the reason we love her." I thought it was Boyle's voice people love, but Holden has a point. And I have a mission.

If Boyle is going to beat the boy out of the grand prize, well, simply put, I'm going to need her to not look like Gene Hackman. And the virgin thing? Sweetheart! My makeover could change that, too.

Bitchy? I apologize, even if I can't change my position. Correct me if I'm wrong, or send me some love if you agree.

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65 comments so far | Post a comment now
anon April 22, 2009, 7:50 AM

You’re right - you are harsh and superficial. I think you need to ask yourself if you’re mad because Boyle, and no woman NEEDS you. You actually need them or you’re out of work. Heaven forbid our society becomes less superficial.

David April 22, 2009, 8:01 AM

I’ll send you love if you need it, but leave Susan Boyle ALONE! It is HER life, HER looks, and HER decision PERIOD if she wants or does not want a makeover. Your references to Susan looking like Benny Hill or Gene Hackman are outrageous, rude and crude. If you and others like you are hell-bent on changing Susan to meet your approval, then I say that it is YOU who has the problem and definitely not Susan.

RS April 22, 2009, 8:03 AM

Remind me to cross the street if I ever see a beauty editor (“beauty writers are harsh and superficial,” you said) coming towards me.

Helena April 22, 2009, 8:58 AM

Oops! So you moderate your own posts, do y’, now? Well, if you found my initial post a bit too rufflin’ of your feathers, so be it. Your reading it was what was important to me. Cuz what’s true is true, isn’t it?

Justice April 22, 2009, 8:59 AM

Can we have a picture of you with or without your makeup. If your face matches your personality you can probably start a whole new series of horror movies.

terry April 22, 2009, 9:22 AM

I think you need to ask yourself why your particular aesthetic should be the standard by which everyone else is judged. I’m very interested in fashion, but 95% of what finds its way into fashion magazines and then into the little world of fashion ‘experts’ such as yourself is, in its own way, extremely conservative, limited and dysfunctional. Who made you the judge of what is and isn’t beautiful? Terry

Audrey April 22, 2009, 11:10 AM

After Susan Boyle discover now The Crisp bread dancing boys at the Sweden’s Got Talent :

Anonymous April 22, 2009, 12:24 PM

I give mad props to Susan for having the courage to not give a dang what other people think about her appearance. She has more confidence then most people hiding behind the makeup. Kudos Susan.

Kay April 22, 2009, 12:28 PM

Susan Boyle, you are wonderful they way you are and more power to you for your great attitude! we love you for keeping it real!

AM  April 22, 2009, 1:31 PM

Wow! That was harsh! You are in desperate need of some serious soul searching. It’s time for you to take off your makeup and figure out what personal insecurities you are covering up. Susan Boyle is a woman with an amazing God given gift. She chose to share that gift with the world and that alone makes her one of the most beautiful women in the world.

Anonymous April 22, 2009, 2:13 PM

I request all visitors to this blog and any clients who might know this self-proclaimed beauty editor to boycott her immediately.

jb April 22, 2009, 2:47 PM

you are mean, just like those girls in high school we all had to put up with. you have a very narrow definition of beauty. in a funny way, you, and all the people like you, are responsible for susan’s success. for decades now we’ve been force-fed a particular unrealistic idea of what beauty is (which, btw, in case you hadn’t noticed, over the years has caused much angst amongst those who try to adhere to it, causing thing like bulimia, anorexia, and plastic surgeries gone wrong). now here comes susan with her golden, angelic voice in the guise of the “every-person”, playing against type of the phoney, pre-packaged beauty queen…someone to whom WE THE REGULAR PEOPLE can relate. hopefully susan is the beginning of the end of the era of superficial beauty.

Debi April 22, 2009, 3:55 PM

Susan is Beautiful…some people just have ugly souls. If you haven’t learned a great lesson in life, I hope you learn one soon!
God sent us an Angel..pure and simple. She is uniquely herself..and we LOVE HER JUST THE WAY SHE IS!

Miller April 22, 2009, 4:10 PM

I think you should say you specialize in supreme superficiality. You’re the reason troubled girls grow into neurotic women. Give yourself a make over…a new personality would serve you much better than mascara or highlights.

Julie April 22, 2009, 4:54 PM

I totally agree with you that she would greatly benefit from a makeover. But from a pure marketing standpoint, I think it would be the worst thing she could do right now. A large part of what makes her story so incredibly compelling is that fact that she walks on stage looking so unbelievably unlikely. And that she’s a virgin. And that she swivels her ample hips like a naughty parochial school girl. And that she says she’s never been kissed. It all makes it so much more delicious when she opens her mouth and delivers that jaw-dropping performance. I’m sure she’ll eventually get the makeover. I think she’s actually a lot smarter than she lets on. She’ll do it later, once the charm of her current state wears off. I think the previous commenters are taking you way too seriously. I thought your piece was very funny.

Em April 22, 2009, 4:55 PM

yikes. First visit, last visit. Your post is calculated to raise more than “eyebrows”. With so much going on in the world…save us from engaging any more debates on beauty vs. beasts. Get a life.

theyearofasking April 22, 2009, 5:07 PM

secretly, beauty writers are harsh and superficial.

sorry, hon. but this isn’t a secret.

Penny April 22, 2009, 7:15 PM

Can you really be as superficial as you sound? Susan Boyle is such a tremendous talent. But, we also watch the video repeatedly because she isn’t just another pretty face, because looks is NOT her first priority, because she teaches us all that we should not judge a person on their looks and she showed us that if we do misjudge she is wonderful enough to forgive. I love her for all of that. Don’t spoil it!!!

Donna  April 22, 2009, 7:19 PM

Susan is beautiful because she is one of us, she is genuine, and she is real, something you would know nothing about. You go girl!

Laura April 22, 2009, 8:17 PM

Sadly, you have missed the point.

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