Deborah was a 46-year-old mother who worked as a police officer and had been stuck in a style rut for the past 20 years. She insisted that she loved her look, but those closest to Deborah were convinced that it wasn’t doing her any favors.
The most eye-catching part of Deborah’s appearance was her bright white hair, which she’d been bleaching for the past two decades. And regardless of whether or not you think it looks good, such treatment is certainly not great for the long-term health of her hair.
As you can see, Deborah’s face was also consistently caked in make-up. Her signature look included blue and white frosted eye-shadow, which made it difficult to actually see what her eyes looked like.
Her sister Sandy believed that Deborah was naturally beautiful, although no-one could ever see it because she would cover her face so heavily in make-up. Sandy was unconvinced that her sister’s fashion was doing her any favors in the style stakes, either.
As a result, Sandy submitted an application to The Oprah Winfrey Show, pleading for her sister to be accepted on the “make-under” feature. This segment saw members of the public being transformed by Oprah’s style team, who employed a “less is more” approach.
The team at The Oprah Winfrey Show subsequently saw the application and Deborah’s somewhat dated appearance. And they agreed to take on the challenge of giving the police officer a make-under to bring her looks into the present day. Deborah agreed to appear and see what the stylists could do.
Both Deborah and Sandy took part in an interview before the transformation began. “She’s so pretty,” Sandy said of her sister. “But all you see is this white stuff coming at you.”
In the interview, Deborah appeared to be relatively happy with the way she looked, despite the comments of her sister. “I love my white hair,” Deborah said. “I put on some black eyeliner. The white frost for the top of my eyebrow. I have my blye, I never leave home without that.”
There were concerns about Deborah’s dress sense as well. It appeared as if she hadn’t been keeping up with modern trends for quite some time. And it was also revealed that she liked to wear pantyhose under her jeans.
“With Debbie’s make-under, I hope her hair will still remain blonde, but have a nice soft glow to it, so you can see her pretty eyes,” Sandy added. “Less make-up around her eyes, so you can actually see them and not just the black lines.
Sandy had her fingers crossed hoping that Oprah’s team could complete a dramatic transformation to her sister’s hair and face. “A little bit of blush on her cheeks, a bit of lipstick,” Sandy said. “She has a nice smile, and I think the whole world should see it.”
Before the new-look Deborah was revealed to the studio audience and the viewers at home, Oprah primed them for the shock of their lives. “You’re not going to believe this,” the host claimed. “This will convince everyone who is ‘made-over’ and made-up too much to ‘do it under.’”
The audience then erupted into applause as Deborah happily paraded her new appearance around the television studio. Clearly pleased with the results of her “make-under,” Deborah walked about with a noticeable swagger.
Deborah was showered with compliments by Oprah and her co-host, before being asked how she felt about her new look. “I always thought I had one life to live as a blonde,” Deborah said. “Let it be as a brunette.”
Deborah was reassured that, at 46 years of age, she didn’t have to present herself as if she was already in her 50s. “You do not have to do a ton of stuff to yourself. Just keep it simple!” she was told.
Deborah said that she wasn’t used to the softer lipstick and blusher, but it sure looked like she was enjoying it. When asked whether her work colleagues would still recognize her as someone who enforces the law, Deborah said she’d have to wait and see.
Deborah was described on the show as a “do-it-all mom” who makes cookies for her children early in the morning before going to work as a police officer. Now, she has an appearance that takes years off her, rather than making her look older than she actually is.
The make-under section of The Oprah Winfrey Show was one of the most popular parts of the series while it was running. And judging by the number of views and comments that clips of the segment garner on YouTube, it seems that plenty of people still remember it fondly.
Many of the comments on YouTube about this particular clip agreed that the transformation was fantastic. One read, “She looks so sophisticated and feminine, looks amazing! She’s such an attractive woman.” Another viewer added, “I like this make-under for the time… I’m sure it looked better back then.”
Moments like this were a staple of The Oprah Winfrey Show. The series ran for more than two decades and was filled with life-changing stories about real people. Needless to say, this was one such experience for Deborah and her family.