In 2010 Dawn Williams was a free-spirited mother of two living in Alberta, Canada. Her son and daughter had grown somewhat embarrassed with their mom’s over-the-top appearance, however, and Williams reckoned that it was time to do something about how she looked. So, with help from a stylist from The Oprah Winfrey Show, she set about transforming herself. And the difference when they were done was so remarkable that it left Williams’ loved ones in awe.
Before her restyling, however, Williams typically wore a full face of makeup as well as fake nails, fake hair and eyelash extensions. She also had breast implants and plumped-up lips and used Botox, too. And Williams’ outfits weren’t exactly what you may expect from a mother, either, revealing as they did rather too much of her enlarged bosom.
On The Oprah Winfrey Show, however, Williams explained that she had started to change her appearance when she was 21. And as a result, she soon began getting more attention. “I started tanning, I started working out,” she revealed on the show. “I started to follow a diet and started to come into a different type of look.”
Williams continued, “My look doesn’t match my insides as much as a person might think. I am a mother first and foremost.” Sadly for Williams, though, her teenage children weren’t exactly fans of her image. And as the mom of two was very much conscious of that fact, she decided to take the plunge and brave a makeunder. Indeed, Williams would explain while on the show, “I would really like for both my son and daughter to be proud of me.”
Happily, though, style expert and fashion designer Carson Kressley was on hand to help. Kressley even traveled to Alberta to meet Williams and discuss what he had in mind for her. His remarkable handiwork would later be revealed on Oprah’s show back in Chicago.
Keen to start with a blank slate, Kressley suggested that Williams begin by removing all her makeup. Unsurprisingly, Williams was pretty nervous about this prospect. “Taking all this off takes me back to when I was in high school,” she said. “That’s pretty scary.” Undeterred, though, Williams bravely grabbed a towel and got to work.
Next, Kressley set strict ground rules to make sure that Williams stuck to her new beauty regimen before her big reveal. As a makeup-free Williams gazed into the mirror, he told her, “No makeup, foundation, cover-up, eyeshadow [or] lipstick. No tanning bed, no bronzer.” He continued, “We’re going to remove the false eyelashes. No extensions in your hair. And no outfits that show almost all of your boobs.”
Kressley also suggested that Williams’ hair extensions acted as a kind of “security blanket” for her, so removing these would likely also trigger some apprehension. She concurred. “There’s always that little girl in me that feels that she’s overweight,” Williams revealed. “And I’ve always thought that, if I had the hair [people are] going to look at the hair and they’re not going to look at me.”
It wasn’t just Williams who was anxious, though. Nervously awaiting their mom’s big entrance on The Oprah Winfrey Show were her children, who were sat alongside her best friend Wendy in the audience. “Are you ready?” Oprah asked, as Dawn’s daughter grabbed Wendy’s hand and held it tight in anticipation.
“Alright, come on out Dawn!” Oprah then announced, her voice filling the studio. And as a curtain with an image of Williams’ old look on it lifted, out stepped the new, understated version to rapturous applause and cheering. Wearing simple makeup, a flattering wraparound dress and with a new, extension-free hairstyle, Williams was almost unrecognizable.
Dawn’s children then raced to the stage to embrace their mother and marvel at her new look. Dawn herself seemed overjoyed to see her kids’ excited reactions; her stunned best friend Wendy, meanwhile, could be seen on camera wiping away a tear or two.
At Kressley’s behest, Williams had swapped the heavy makeup and sexy clothes for a more refined style. Reining in her more out-there urges hadn’t been particularly easy, though. “It was so hard. I’m so used to people looking at me and asking me if I’m a celebrity,” she told Oprah. “You’re so used to being a certain way, and then all of a sudden I feel like a piece of me was taken away.”
One thing that certainly had been taken away, though, were her hair extensions. But when Williams was asked how she felt without them, she answered, “You know what, it’s really freeing, Oprah.” Her friend Wendy added, “She looks fantastic!”
Then five years after Williams’ makeunder, the producers of Oprah: Where Are They Now? caught up with the mom for an update on her life. And it seems as if Williams had been through an awful lot of experiences since her transformation in 2010. Three years after the show, for instance, she had enjoyed a serious life highlight when she got married to a man named Troy. “[It] was in my eyes, the most beautiful Cinderella wedding that anyone could have,” Williams explained on the segment.
If that wasn’t enough, Williams had also added to the family by adopting a son called Johnny. Plus, she’d been through yet another significant milestone in her life: her 50th birthday. Williams, her family and some close friends had celebrated the occasion by heading to Cancun in Mexico – where, by all accounts, they had had an amazing time.
Williams’ happiness was tempered in 2014, however, when she suffered a major accident. Specifically, she had been in Nashville, Tennessee, for her cousin’s wedding when she had fallen down some stairs. This unfortunate incident was so serious, in fact, that it had led to her being put on life support in hospital.
Fortunately, though, Williams has since recovered from her fall. She would also tell Oprah: Where Are They Now?, “It has been a year of ups and downs for me. I can’t say that it has been one that has been the greatest, but I have come to see life in… not a completely different way, but in a more respectful way.” She added, “We have just so little time here, and I’m just so very, very blessed that my life was saved.”
But had Williams stuck to the look she had been given five years ago, or had she reverted to type? Well, her appearance on Oprah: Where Are They Now? soon revealed all: with blonde curls cascading past her shoulders and heavily made-up eyes, it was clear that Dawn had ditched the debonair and opted for the outlandish once again.
Williams would reveal why she had made the switch back, however. And to that end, she said, “When I was made under I kind of went into like a little bit of a depression. I didn’t know where it was that I was supposed to be.” Williams went on to state that within about eight months of the makeunder, “things started reverting back to the way I was before.”
That process started with her hair – or to be more precise, her extensions. “It seemed that once I got those extensions I was able to get my personality back,” she recalled. “I’m not saying it wasn’t a really beautiful look because it was, but it just wasn’t a look that was just best suited for me.” As for Troy – well, it seems that if Dawn is content, then so is he. “I just want her to be comfortable and happy,” he said on the segment. “I love her the way she is.”