In the Amish belief system, it’s not acceptable for women to spend time on their appearance. So when housekeeper and teacher Sarah had the opportunity to have a glamorous makeover, she took it. Then when the time came for her big reveal, no one could quite believe what they saw.
In 2014 Sarah was 21 years old and up until that age had lived what she described as “pretty much a boring life.” She grew up in a small town, and furthermore she was brought up in an Amish community. This meant that there were strict rules and modes of conduct to live by.
The Amish are a religious group who originated in Switzerland and follow the traditional Christian faith. Yet though the roots of the belief system can be traced back to the 16th century, the word “Amish” was first applied in 1710 as a term of shame. As a result, the Amish community became outcasts, living in self-imposed solitude.
Due to unrest in Europe in the 18th century, the Amish community started to relocate to the U.S., particularly Pennsylvania. Different factions have broken away from the central Amish religion over the centuries. Yet although different groups adhere to different tenets, many core beliefs remain.
The Amish live their lives according to the Ordnung, or “Order.” Among matters covered by the Ordnung are regulations on clothing and personal grooming. In fact, the Amish way of life sees women who apply makeup and fix their hair as placing more focus on themselves than God.
Due to having been brought up in this religious belief system, Sarah has neglected her hair her entire life. That’s to say that it had never been colored, nor cut to give it a flattering shape. That was until Glamour magazine sent hair stylist Theodore Leaf to pay her a visit for a makeover.
In the video, the Bad Hair Day team surprise Sarah in the kitchen. The 21-year-old is wearing a modest brown dress with a high neck line and a skirt falling way past her knees. And as she performs her chores around the kitchen, her mousy-brown hair is tucked up under her traditional Amish cap.
As Sarah explains of her demure look, “The cap thing, you always just wear the cap, and your hair is just flipped up in a barrette. It’s an act of modesty.” And yet despite her religious conservatism, there appears to be a secret side to the young woman that she’s keen to experiment with.
There’s an aspect of Sarah’s personality that now has its time to let loose. As she explains, “I’m definitely up for adventure. I always like adventure. And this ‘doing my hair’ thing, that is definitely exciting.” It was time for Sarah’s fearless side to show itself and for her to let her hair down – literally.
Theodore was keen to see what Sarah’s cap had been hiding for all those years. As she let her hair down, he was amazed to see the tresses that had been tucked away for so long. Sarah admitted to wearing the cap almost all the time. However, she was still in a period in which her faith allowed exploration.
At 21, Sarah was approaching the end of Rumspringa. This is a phase during adolescence in the Amish community when youths are permitted to explore a more mainstream way of life. Starting at about age 14 to 16, traditional rules are relaxed until a decision is made between Amish baptism or leaving the community.
As Sarah explained, “The Rumspringa thing is when you have this period of time as an Amish and you get to choose if you want to be Amish or not. During that time you get to experiment. And when I say experiment, [I mean] doing your hair and wearing different clothes.”
One thing Theodore was keen to experiment with on Sarah’s behalf was her hair color. As he suggests, to the Amish woman’s amusement, “Blondes do have more fun.” And whether or not that’s true, the stylist was determined to kick up the fun factor a notch in Sarah’s otherwise conservative life.
Theodore goes on to explain how he’ll add layers to frame Sarah’s face. Not only will it add more movement to her hair, but it will also add volume, again upping the “fun” factor. But the hair expert also wanted to keep it practical, maintaining enough of the length to tuck under Sarah’s cap when necessary.
As Theodore colors Sarah’s hair, she explains more about the limitations of hair maintenance while living in an Amish community. Having no electricity at home means no ability to blow dry her tresses. The Amish teacher admits that the makeover is, therefore, a special treat.
With the lack of ability to blow dry her hair, Theodore does, however, have some tips for Sarah to style her hair. When left to air dry, the stylist recommends setting the hair in braids to add texture. He also recommends using products to add a wave and give hair a conditioning boost.
Theodore continues to cut and snip away at Sarah’s hair. Of course, nothing is given away during the hair coloring and styling process. It’s all kept a well-groomed secret until the big reveal at the end. And after the final curl is set in place, the first person to see the transformation is Sarah’s friend Laura.
Yes, Laura walks into the room and sees her made-over friend for the first time. She appears totally taken aback, too, with her hands covering her mouth as she exclaims, “Oh my goodness! Wow!” Also present, and equally stunned, are the proprietors of the inn where the two young women work together.
Then Sarah sees herself for the first time, and the transformation clearly astonishes her. Gone is the muted brown hair of a conservative Amish woman, and in its place there are fun highlights with a playful bounce. But while Sarah herself may be lost for words, she is nonetheless visibly ecstatic with her makeover.
Laura, meanwhile, believes the transformation fits with Sarah’s personality. She said, “This look is totally Sarah: carefree, happy. Somebody you’d go up and have a conversation with and just chat about anything.” And she later added, “This look right here is hot.” So, a Bad Hair Day turned good for this young Amish woman.
But as this grandma from Michigan proves, you don’t need to be in your twenties to get a stunning new hairdo. In fact, for those who are older, the transformation can be even more dramatic. That’s exactly what Kelly’s family found, anyway. When they saw how much she’d been changed by makeover guru Christopher Hopkins, they couldn’t quite believe she was the same lady.
And Hopkins accepted Kelly’s request for a makeover, after which he began some epic cosmetic applications that changed her appearance completely. The makeup artist utilized his considerable experience to intensify Kelly’s natural features, for instance, and to tweak qualities that the grandmother wasn’t happy with – such as her hair – to bring her inner beauty to the surface.
Then, by the end of her beauty treatment, Kelly couldn’t quite believe what she was seeing. Indeed, it seemed like another person entirely was looking back at her from the mirror! And Kelly’s new appearance also impressed her family when they came to visit afterwards. Her relatives’ mouths dropped open as they entered the room, in fact.
Even though Hopkins has performed hundreds of makeovers, there’s no doubt that Kelly’s was one of the most amazing. Her video begins with the woman introducing herself to viewers. “My name is Kelly,” she says. “And I came from Iron Mountain in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.” So, what exactly brought her to Hopkins in the first place?
Well, as a mother and grandma, no doubt Kelly spends a lot of her life with her family. “It’s time to do something just for me,” Kelly tells the MAKEOVERGUY studio camera. “Hopefully, this is going to be just the ticket.” And one thing she wanted to change was her hair, which had become rather unruly.
To illustrate her point, Kelly shows the studio crew her locks, which are initially tied up behind her head. “Here we go. Hold your breath,” she says as she shakes her tresses free from the hair tie. Her wavy hair is indeed fairly wild – a feature that has developed over time, according to Kelly.
“[My hair] used to be pin-straight,” Kelly elaborates. “But it’s changed now from, you know, my age.” Furthermore, if the video description is anything to go by, Hopkins agreed that Kelly’s locks presented his biggest challenge. “Kelly came in from the Upper Michigan Peninsula with very fragile and overly processed hair,” he wrote.
In addition, Hopkins discovered that Kelly might have had curls all along, and the straight hair had simply concealed them. And just like previous clients, Kelly was happy for the studio to do whatever they liked for her makeover. Thus the team began by changing both the style and color of her hair.
Before the MAKEOVERGUY reveals Kelly’s transformation, though, he first shows her family’s reaction to her astonishing new look. That’s right: her children and grandchildren come to visit Kelly at the salon, and they enter with utter amazement on their faces. Kelly’s reaction to their arrival also indicates that she’s surprised to see her family.
“Oh, my babies came to see me,” Kelly coos as they walk through the door. Among the guests are Kelly’s daughter Jessica Books and, presumably, Kelly’s grandchildren. Books’ reaction to her mother’s makeover says it all, too; first a huge grin lights up her face, and then her mouth drops open.
But they aren’t the only people who’ve come to marvel at the new Kelly. Yes, a bunch of other family members crowd in behind Books as well, with one of them carrying a phone to capture the moment. It’s a good thing he does, in fact, because no one can believe what they’re seeing.
You can hear Kelly off-camera asking her visitors, “Does it look like me?” The children must have answered in the negative, because she then says, “No, it doesn’t? It is me – it’s Mimzy!” And for a moment, the assembled crowd are speechless. Even when Books tries to talk, she seemingly can’t find the words.
“Look at… guys… Look at,” Books begins saying, but then she trails off, still stunned by her mom’s transformation. “Oh my God,” one of the male visitors adds. “You look great!” Meanwhile, the only exclamation that Books can manage is another “Oh my God!” And faced with such an impressive makeover, it’s no wonder that the witnesses struggle to articulate themselves.
To begin with, everything about Kelly’s hair – from color and length to style – is completely different. Hopkins took advantage of her natural curls and created a hairstyle that frames his client’s face. He also changed the color, turning it brown and putting in blonde highlights – which seems to help add volume.
And for a good few seconds, Kelly can’t believe it’s her in the mirror. The only thing she can think to say is “Wow” before falling back into stunned silence. Then when Kelly finally finds her composure, she shows how happy she is with a little dance of joy.
“I feel gorgeous,” Kelly eventually says. “It’s not pretty, it’s freaking gorgeous! I’m glad we’re going out for dinner tonight because I can be glamorous and fabulous.” She’s not done dancing yet, though. Indeed, Kelly’s so overjoyed that she treats viewers to a little ballet performance at the end of the video.
In the video description, Hopkins revealed that he chose a specific style for Kelly in order to accentuate her features. The hairdo’s width was selected to offset her “pear-shaped” face by making it appear wider at temple level, for example. In addition, artists made Kelly’s lipstick subtle in contrast to her darker, attention-grabbing eye makeup.
As for the general public, they were equally impressed with how Kelly’s transformation turned out. “Well, that’s how to shed 20 years in one day, oh wow,” one viewer commented. “She’s got a wonderful personality, and now her outside matches the inside – beautiful, spunky and funny!” And other YouTubers agreed, too.
Another commenter added, “[She] looks great, but the most awesome part is the confidence.” Kelly’s daughter also voiced her appreciation. “This is my mom, and it was so incredible to see her transform,” Books wrote. “[Hopkins], you’re so wonderful inside and out, thank you to you and your glam team!”