So we've come to this, my faithful reader(s)...the time spent rehashing ugliness will soon come to pass. Amanda Byram sweeps in wearing a shiny olive-gold toned dress slashed down to the belly- button with a neckline that's just stupefying. She reminds us that there's one last slot to fill in the Parade of Plastics that is the Swan pageant finale.
Texas Two-Step and Regret
In come the experts, as usual, but for some reason, Amanda is in a different outfit. Yes, this time it's a sexy black pantsuit, simple, but the perfect showcase for the lovely hostess. Sigh. Let's meet Amy Williams. She's a 27 year old mother and waitress from a suburb of Houston, Texas. Amy's dream is to be a professional country singer. Hash-slinging is a prerequisite for anyone who dreams of being in front of the camera or microphone, and it's worthy of a country ballad or ten. She is having trouble earning a living and has had to move back in with her parents. Her sister laments that Amy's always had a poor self image and has gone into a slump ever since a recording executive told her she had a face only radio could love. A singer's focal point is the mouth, and Amy's teeth are a mess. Due to a childhood baseball mishap, she's got some broken front teeth that are discolored and distracting. Jewel, take note! While pointing out her other defects, Amy forces a double chin to appear by pushing the skin forward with a hand. She doesn't really have much of problem there, try as she might. She does have splotchy red breakouts on her fair skin, a shapeless nose, and flabby, stretch-marked skin hanging from her midsection.
Doctor Ianni labels Amy an underachiever who lacks ambition and as such she wants to take a peek inside her head. Haworth is more concerned with making said head pretty. He states he can't find a single facial feature that stands out as a starting point for his reconstruction work. He does have a clear cut plan to improve her body image. Dentist Sherri Worth is dismayed that just a cursory glance at Amy's mouth reveals a lot of decay, and admits she's going to have to avail herself of at least three specialists in dealing with her mouth. Amy's plan will include a brow and eye lift, lip lift, rhinoplasty, chin implant, as well as a jaw implant. She's to have her vision restored before getting her body perfected, which entails an abdominoplasty, breast lift, and liposuction to 4 areas of her body. Doctor Worth will be kept busy overseeing major tooth reconstruction, 10 root canals, and Da Vinci veneer installation as well as crowns. Phew! Last but not least, she'll work out with Trainer Debbie for a total of 150 hours of gym time in order to drop 25 pounds of excess weight. The standard therapy sessions will round out her transformation regime.
Leaving Las Vegas
The competition shapes up in the form of Dore Lee Webber, a 41 year old who runs a general contracting business with her husband Kurt in Sin City. She's emotionally spent from trying to become a mother. She did get pregnant once, only to lose the child during the 12th week of her term. 10 years of fertility injections have left her with 50 pounds of excess weight and she feels ungainly. At first glance, Dore seems to have fewer beauty issues than Amy. She's got a definite Cher vibe going on, with clear skin, long shiny black hair, shapely legs, and very little flab on her stomach. The childhood taunt of "parrot beak nose" still lingers in her memory and she'd like nothing more than to forget those hurts and enter her 40's looking better than ever.
Doctor Ianni mentions wanting to tap into Dore's levels of grieving and bereavement due to the loss of her child. She also has to face the possibility that it may be too late for her to have a baby. Times like these I wish they had a real psychotherapist on staff. Dentist Worth briefly mentions that her teeth will look balanced once her chin is brought to the forefront. Doctor Dubrow stresses that he fears giving her a tummy tuck, which will be canceled out if she gets pregnant. Her plan will include a brow and eye lift, rhinoplasty, fat transfers to her cheeks and lips, a chin implant and Lasik eye surgery. She'll have liposuction to 3 areas of her body, and breast augmentation. Doctor Sherri will have it easier with Dore's mouth, having only the standard zoom bleaching, gum sculpting, veneers and deep cleaning to administer. Her fitness plan is not as stringent as her competitor, as she's prescribed a 2 hour a day gym schedule as well as a 1,200 calorie a day diet. She'll need extra time with Ianni dealing with her fertility issues.
Sayonara, Beauty School Drop-Outs!
Flash to Los Angeles, where the program begins in earnest for our two hopefuls. Both are carrying some baggage, and I'm not talking Samsonite. Dore has to come to terms with being childless, while Amy hopes to trade in the face that's holding her back. They both soak in the hostile mirrorless digs, and read the program rules and restrictions. Dore brightens by reading a letter from home, but Amy can't bring herself to read her own.
At Doctor Haworth's office, Amy is appraised for her facial and body surgeries. He tells her that he's shooting for a very defined and angular look. A mandibular implant will be used to build up her jawline. It's a complicated procedure that runs a high risk of infection. He next grabs her loose stomach fold, pinching way more than an inch, and explains how he'll cut out all her stretch-marked dermis with a east to west incision. Basically, fixing her body will be a breeze compared to correcting her facial imperfections.
According to Doctor Dubrow, Dore Lee needs some feminization to her face and some light body work. Commenting on her nice bone structure, he figures it will be easy to reduce her nose and thin out her chin. He explains that he will not perform a tummy tuck, in case she does get pregnant in the future. He emphasizes extensive exercise and a touch of liposuction to take care of the extra weight she's carrying around.
Cavity Creeps...remember them? Crest toothpaste saved us from these little thugs in the 1970's. Amy's parents should have sung this lullaby to her every night:
Oh NO! Cavity creeps! We make hole in teeth...we make hole in teeth!
Dentist Sherri Worth has a lot of dental decay to tackle in Amy's mouth, and expects to extract several teeth, due to huge black pits of rot. The four teeth that have to go basically crumble during removal, leaving Worth's linen face guard splattered with crimson. She performs the necessary gum surgery and preps some teeth for the veneers. An oral surgeon steps in and performs 5 root canals, half of what she will need when all is said and done. Amy's decay is the worse case Doctor Sherri's dealt with in someone so young. It's been 5 hours and things are still problematic. Doctor Worth caves in and places a call to Haworth, telling him that any further facial surgeries will have to be postponed for two weeks due to some severe infections she detected.
Dore Lee places herself in Doctor Dubrow's capable hands and gets the liposuction done on her stomach and inner thighs. The surgeon warns us "not to try this at home". Good thing, too, as I was considering putting my Kirby vacuum's blind-cleaning wand to good use. Regardless, Dubrow finishes up that day's work by rasping off the bump on Dore's nose and installing her chin implant. There's only a few inches of face left unbandaged as she is wheeled off to recover.
It's been two weeks of surgical moratorium for Amy, during which she gets a care package from her young daughter, who thoughtfully gives up her favorite frog plushy to bring mommy luck. She totes it along to Doctor Haworth's office and has him prop it up on some medical equipment as she gets her jaw implant set in. She's also subjected to liposuction from her breast bone down to her pubic bone. She was heavier looking than Dore, but after the suction treatment, the only fat thing about her is her distractingly swollen moon-pie face. A day later offers no respite. Those are lips Angelina Jolie could envy. She's been under constant supervision by a staff of nurses who feed her a liquid diet because she literally can't move her jaw.
Dore is facing an easier recuperation period. She's not blown up like a puffer fish, so she's got a sunnier outlook and that helps her concentrate on her physical healing. Mentally though, she needs help. She's spending long periods of time mulling over childbirth announcements that friends and family members have sent her over the years when they have a new addition to their families and it pains her dearly. Sessions with the therapist tackle her exclusion from the maternity club. Doctor Ianni tells her to grieve for her lost child and let go, so she no longer blames herself and starts a period of forgiveness.
Amy's feeling lost without her own child, and places frequent weepy phone calls to Texas, which can't be easy on the little girl. Her physical recovery is still a long way off, as weeks go by and she's still having to subsist on pureed foods as the threat of gum and jaw infections continues to color her days. Her last procedure with Dr. Haworth is an exciting one, as she's to be the second American patient to receive special lenses that are only a third the size of regular contacts. They will basically add another lens to her eyes and allow her to see further than one inch past her face. In the last few weeks of the program, she works out with Dore, who exercises with the fervor of a Tasmanian devil to drop the last 15 pounds of flab.
The Final Countdown
Cue Amanda, who's once again decked out in the olive-gold dress. She asks the experts to give us their final analysis regarding Amy. Haworth proudly admits the girl with a "face for radio" is ready to be seen by the entire world. Sherri comments that her dental reconstruction would make any singer proud. And in she comes, pretty in pink, clad in a pastel cotton candy hued dress with a folded tiered bodice and full skirt. She's got dewy skin and flattering ash-blonde hair done in loose curls, but it could be extensions. Her face is softly contoured, her nose long and patrician. She's not a small girl by any means, and remains a bit wide in the hips, but when she gets a look at her reflection, she's thrilled to bits to finally have an indented waist. She marvels over her jawline and turns to thank the panel. Amanda strides over to share in the admiration. Amy's still examining her teeth as Nely compares her to a rock star. Goodbye, mouthful of destruction.
All attention turns to Dore Lee's transformation. Dubrow's goal was to preserve her exotic Polynesian look and basically restore some youth to her face. Ianni has succeeded in giving her a game plan to follow in hopes of setting up a positive family life with her husband, even if she doesn't become a mother. Just how improved is Dore?
In comes a ravishing brunette, slim, busty and sexy in a black jersey halter dress. There's cleavage galore on display, set off by a showy necklace. The face is still her own, it's just fresh and youthful. She's clearly in awe of what she sees in the mirrors, poking at her new nose and proclaiming that she loves her shiny hair. I think she was relieved she didn't get the horse hair weave treatment. She looks like the daughter Cher should have had. Sorry Chastity Bono! She merits a kiss from Amanda and flowery compliments from Doctor Dubrow, who calls her his personal hero. Will she be the last lady in the pageant line-up?
As Amanda waits by the double doors, envelope in hand, The contestants make their last grand entrance of the night. Seconds tick away as Miss Byram reminds them of the the riches, fame, and fortune that await the eventual winner of the pageant. And the last girl-fighter is...
Amy Williams. Now, both women looked good tonight, but in the opinion of this humble recapper, the night belonged to Dore Lee. Was it the blonde hair, age group, and singing talent that's ripe for exploitation that put Amy in the running for the crown? Methinks so. Nevertheless, Dore is happy for Amy, telling her to win it for the both of them. Dore gets to say goodbye to everyone before being reunited with her proud father and a stunned Kurt, who sings her praises. Smart man! She's now worthy of living in the land of leggy showgirls. As for Amy, the girl who was once afraid to sing in front of a karaoke mike is now ready to parade in front of trillions of people wearing next to nothing. Join me next week when we wrap up this mess and stick it under the Christmas tree.
Got what it takes to be a Swannabe? Tell me all about it at firstname.lastname@example.org