- Photo courtesy of Fox Broadcasting Company
May 17, 2004 -- MEET Kelly, a 25-year-old retail worker. Above, she's pictured before entering "The Swan," Fox's extreme makeover/ beauty pageant show.
On the right is Kelly now - after a brow lift, cheek and chin implants, a lower eye fat transfer, lip augmentation, lobe reduction, mole removal, Restylane, gum surgery and tooth veneers - among other "improvements."
Does she look better to you?
"She looks older now," says Dr. Robert Silisch, a cosmetic surgeon in private practice on the Upper East Side. "Her teeth are too big, her smile's too big, and I don't know what they did to her cheeks."
Like most of the contestants on the show, Kelly went under the knife - above her boyfriend's objection, in this case - to boost her self-esteem. According to the bio on the Fox site, she was so "immobilized by fear that people are looking at her nose" that she opted to stock shelves at a home-improvement store to avoid customers.
While acknowledging that some of the show's 16 competitors do look better, experts consulted by The Post say several - including Kelly - might have done just as well with a less drastic overhaul.
Some may only need therapy and an old-fashioned makeover.
"All these girls need are contact lenses, better hair and makeup - and better self-esteem," says Silich.
"The worst thing a plastic surgeon can hear is, 'I just want to be beautiful.' Nothing I can do will make them happy. It sounds corny, but [beauty] really does come from within."
Each week, two contestants - many of them recently divorced or separated - undergo a complete overhaul by a team of plastic surgeons, cosmetic dentists, trainers and therapists. When each candidate is "revealed" at long last, she inevitably has hair extensions, Chicklet teeth, huge breasts and an Angelina Jolie pout - topped off with heavy makeup and an evening gown.
It's obviously somebody's idea of glamour - the show's Web site is flooded with letters from women desperate to be the next "Swan."
And Kelly, upon seeing her new self for the first time on air, cried: "Oh my God, I look absolutely beautiful,"an oft-repeated phrase among contenders.
But Dr. Lisa Berman, a psychiatrist who often counsels plastic surgery patients, urges caution with increasingly popular shows like "The Swan." "They are offering the idea that your whole life is going to change," she says. "But you're still going to go back to your abusive husband and your unfulfilling life."
How many really look better after TV makeovers? Turn the page to see more amazing photos - and read how New York beauty and style experts rate them.
Additional reporting: Danica Lo