“I see someone that has a lot of makeup on and, um, somebody that is over done,” was Dawn’s response when Carson Kressley, expert stylist, asked her what she saw when she looked in the mirror. She went on to confront the feelings she knew that her children had because of her appearance.
Her teenage daughter, accompanied by her teenage son, later told Oprah that when people see their mother, Dawn, they assume that she is a porn star and make other generalizations about her that they know aren’t true.
Cue, the make-under. Carson Kressley and his team of professional stylists worked together to take Dawn’s exuberant style down a few notches. They cut away the extensions, plucked the fake eyelashes, tossed her scanty wardrobe and replaced her gaudy makeup with a more natural look.
Fast-forward two years and it turns out that while Dawn still maintained a less provocative look, she couldn’t let go of the lashes and extensions. After her make-under, she found herself depressed because of the drastic change in her appearance. Before the transformation, she was sure of exactly who she was and what she wanted to be. But afterward, she was in limbo, stuck between who she wanted to be and who she knew that she needed to be for her children’s sake.
Dawn soon realized that she had to find a middle ground. Her motherhood and her personhood could be balanced if she worked to find that sweet spot. She retired the bright pink lipstick and the lingerie-style clothing in favor of a more conservative, yet still flirty, style that she felt her best in.
Along with her change in wardrobe, Dawn also experienced major life changes. She got engaged to a man named Troy that espouses the same, “go big or go home,” mentality that she does. She reveals that at 47-years-old, she is much happier and feels more like herself.
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