Do you remember the 2008 Lifetime show “How to Look Good Naked”? It only ran for 16 episodes but it’s still one of my favorite transformation shows of all time. I TiVo’d it and watched each episode over and over with tears of empathy and hope.
It wasn’t your typical transformation show like “The Biggest Loser”, “Extreme Makeover”, or “The Swan” which is why it probably didn’t catch on mainstream. There’s no huge weight loss or skin surgery to make the audience gasp. The transformation is mostly internal, within each person, a subtle shift in confidence and self-acceptance, which to me is WAY more important, and probably why I was so into the show.
Each episode followed 3 women for a week (don’t quote me on the exact numbers) and from what I recall, there were 5 sections of the show…
1. How it started.
The show started with an interview with each woman asking how she felt about herself and her body. It was always tearful, shameful, and often embarrassing to talk about. The host mentions that by the end of the week she was going to get nude pics taken. This usually created more tears and a fear only a woman who truly hated her body would understand. The interesting thing to me was that each woman had a very different body type. Some were overweight, some were underweight, some had big boobs, some had small boobs, some had big hips, some had no hips, so it had really nothing to do with what they ACTUALLY looked like, it was more of how she felt about her own body, how she saw herself.
I remember there was a super skinny girl on and I was thinking to myself ‘what does she have to be crying about? She is so skinny.’ But that’s exactly the issue, it doesn’t matter WHAT we look like, only how we FEEL about the way we look.
2. The next part of the show had her getting a clothing makeover.
She met with someone who showed her how to dress for her body type, how to find the right sized undergarments to feel good underneath her clothing, and to pick out clothes that made her feel good. It was shocking to see how none of the women dressed to feel and look good. Most started out in baggy clothes trying to hide their bodies or were wearing clothes from 10 years ago because they didn’t feel they deserved something new. Again, there were tears, this time for letting go of the “old” woman and welcoming the “new” woman who was allowed to look and feel good in the clothing she chose.
3. The next part was my favorite.
They lined up women of all different weight/sizes from smallest to largest in their bra and underwear and asked the contestant to pick where she thinks she would fit in the line based on her size and weight. After she chose, the host would walk her over to the women and place her where she ACTUALLY fits in. It was ALWAYS the wrong place. Every single woman saw herself as much larger and heavier than she really was. Even the skinny girls saw themselves as fatter. The moment they were placed in the correct part of the line, something inside them clicked. I could see it happening right there on camera. The hopeful thought of “maybe I’m not as (bad, fat, ugly, dumb, etc) as I think I am”. AWESOME!!!! That part always made me smile…and then of course I shed a tear or two. I could see these women loving themselves more and more every minute of the show.
4. Then came the physical makeover.
Pretty standard with a hair and makeup specialist taking over. Of course she wasn’t allowed to see herself until it was done. Again, most of the women were not doing anything before this to try to feel better about the way they looked, so it was usually from ‘ponytail, no makeup’ to ‘cut, color, style and a little makeup that emphasized her strong features and pretty facial qualities’. I’m not a big hair and makeup girl, so this section didn’t tug on my heart strings like the previous 3, but I still loved seeing how happy she was when the sheet was pulled off the mirror and she got to look at the “new” beauty in her reflection.
5. Finally was the grand finale.
NUDE PICS!! It’s been a while so I don’t remember details, but I think they were actually given the OPTION of getting them done in the end. And as scared as they each were in the beginning, every single one of them agreed to the pics. They were very tasteful and artsy and each one started with clothes, went down to underwear, and then took a few 100% naked. You could see the confidence in their eyes as they looked into the camera knowing that this was just the start of a beautiful new relationship with herself. Extra tears in this section.
The show ended with her in her flattering new outfit, with her hair and makeup done, meeting with all her friends and family in public, and one of her photos being revealed on something grand like a billboard or marquee. Not the nude one of course, but one in less clothing than I’m sure she ever imagined herself in before this week. The host would ask people passing by what they thought of the model in the pic. Compliments flew! The host then played all the compliments from complete strangers to the contestant and her family. More tears. From her (tears of joy this time since she actually thought she looked good), from her family (because they love and support her), and finally, from me…again!
The thing I love most is that this all happened in a week!! And everything they did was simple. And it changed something in the core of each woman that will stay with her for the rest of her life.
A lot of the transformation shows out there are impossible for most people to comprehend so I don’t think they have as big an effect on the lives of the people watching. “Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition” is a year-long, most which is with a personal trainer, nutritionist, and living away from “real” life. “The Biggest Loser” has personal chefs and 6 hours of workouts a day. And don’t even get me started on “The Swan”…surgeries, 800 calorie diets, and living in solitude for months. These shows have insane, awesome transformations (which I love) but the average person who wants to change will never have those options. With “How to Look Good Naked”, they show you small, steps ANYONE can take toward self-acceptance, self-love, and self-confidence which to me are all you need in your world.
I double dog dare you to take ONE step today toward loving and accepting yourself more. If you are feeling brave, please share! It will give others ideas on how to move toward their own self-love journey!
I have a safe place for you to share and grow…
Come on in…we are gentle, kind, and loving…especially to ourselves.
See you next week.