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A Makeover Story

Staff Reports

Reality TV has become a staple in the everyday life of American culture. The amount of topics being experimented with is astonishing, mind-numbing, and sometimes morally sketchy (“Wife Swap”… are you kidding me? What is that?)For some reason Vail has become a breeding ground for reality TV guests. It all began with a certain local beauty (who now wishes to remain anonymous) when she appeared on the first episode of “Marry a Millionaire.” Then came Vail firefighter Ryan Sutter, who became a tabloid target when he and Trista got together on “The Bachelorette.” “The Apprentice” has a guest with ties to Vail (who has now been eliminated) and I hear some rumors of a few other surprises coming our way featuring Vail locals.Even Harald Fricker star of the Vail Trail’s “reality newspaper” diet challenge has taken his weight-loss efforts to another level, and now is taping shows for CNN, who will chronicle his efforts to get back on the running trail sometime next year.When I have the opportunity to channel surf I can’t help but notice reality TV seems to be everywhere in all its many variations: the crazy, the risky, the surreal and the educational. There are shows that remodel a home, change the dcor of a room or teach us about how others live behind the curtain: like the “Lance Armstrong Chronicles”.Then there’s “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” a show that has created an amazing buzz. This show comes out of the closet, then goes into someone else’s closet. While they’re there they throw out the bad and replace it with the good (or fashionable, or hip, or whatever).With this happening you can imagine my surprise when I received an email, out of the blue, about being on “A Makeover Story,” a Learning Channel show (TLC). I fell over laughing. Apparently they thought it would be interesting to dig into the looks, lifestyle and closets of a Warren Miller skier’s life. They wanted to add a new edge to their show as they headed into a new and very competitive season; they felt this might make an interesting angle. Needless to say, I love strange challenges, and agreed to take this on.Which, of course, meant exposing my wardrobe and a portion of my life to an ultra-hip fashion coach and, eventually, the public.They wanted one of my friends to join me. I suggested rocker Liza Oxnard from “Liza and the Soul Stars.” Her on-stage fashion and image is constantly changing for her concerts. It seemed like the perfect angle.The producer grabbed onto the fact that Liza had a new CD coming out and I was preparing to go on the road hosting the Warren Miller film tour. So they sent a crew out with the host/fashion coach to catch up with the two of us in the midst of our daily routines.From Spyder to BossThe timing was perfect; I would be on the road for about six weeks and everything I owned was in the back of my truck. The makeover crew decided to meet up with us while I was making a stop at Liza’s house in Boulder, where we were doing one more mix of a song we had produced together. I was inbetween media events and Liza was preparing to go on the road.Our fashion coach’s name was Danny and he reminded me almost exactly of the guy “Jack” from the TV show “Will and Grace.” He had many of the same mannerisms and attitudes. He floated right into the studio and immediately dissected us in a very lighthearted way. I have to say he was one of the funniest and quick-minded individuals I have ever met. His flamboyancy and energy was incredible.He darted into Liza’s wardrobe and started pulling out some of the craziest clothes I have ever seen. Even Danny was a little shocked. He reacted accordingly to each article of clothing with amazement and timing like Liza’s red-white-and-blue bustier, which he pulled from behind a sweater that, Danny said, looked like it had been skinned off a Muppet.Rummaging through the back of my truck was quite different. Most of my clothing consisted of outdoor logo printed material from my sponsors. I only had a couple of items in the quiver to wear either on stage or to a nice function. Despite the fact that I had them stored in a nice garment bag, Danny laughed at what I was attempting to pass off as formal clothing. He also could not stand the fact I didn’t have a black belt or a pair of regular dress socks. One pair of shoes almost went into the street, but I stopped him.Soon afterward he had me on the road to Hugo Boss in Cherry Creek, where fashion was defined with modern elegance and clothing was displayed like artwork. At times I had up to over $5,000 in clothing draping the dressing room, all picked out by Danny, who strutted through the store like he owned the place.Always carrying a pile of fashion magazines, Danny schooled me in what buttons I should leave open, which shirts should not be tucked in, and had me in a black crocodile belt with matching Italian shoes in a matter of hours. It was exhausting, but yet there is something to be said about putting on a well-made suit with a bit of edge. Danny’s goal was to dress me as if I was headed to the MTV Music Awards. Danny danced about celebrating. His energy was contagious. He had the entire store dancing at one point.It did not end with the clothing. In fact this was just the beginningLater in the show I was surrounded by at least 12 well-dressed women, who had a look in their eye that was about the same as a bunch of construction workers preparing to remodel a house. This was in a spa, where the women were equipped with all the tools to extract, cut, tenderize, color, smooth, shine, massage, soften and change the look of a human while somehow providing a relaxing environment.I now know how women can disappear into one of these buildings for a day and not be heard from for at least eight hours. Because a full day is what it took for the crew of spa engineers to color and cut Liza’s hair, plus do her nails. Of course Danny did not let me escape. He had me in the back room where it looked like Dr. Frankenstein had stored his equipment.A mad scientist resided there amongst the test tubes, bottles of lotion and a machine with tubes, nozzles and tweezers attached to it.A beautiful young lady in a white robe came in and told me to lie down and relax. Danny laughed and left the room. For the next few hours I received my first facial and acquired more knowledge than I will ever need to know about my pores and the way they breathe.In the blurring hours following the facial I was escorted back and forth between the colorist and the stylist whose goal was to change my hair into a function of fashion with a laid-back, edgy style. Every so often Danny would float through, look up from his magazine and give me a smile of approval. Of course I was kept in the dark about what exactly was taking place since they made sure every mirror was covered. I was also unaware what outfit Danny had decided on from Hugo Boss.In the end, when my style was finally revealed to the public, the general perception of what I did for a living changed dramatically.Prior to the makeover we had done interviews on the street, and the general public thought that I was something of an outdoor person a BASE jumper or climber.After the makeover, people thought I was the president of a development company or something. Another said a lawyer and a third felt like I must be in either the movie or music business.I don’t know if any of this is an improvement. Maybe my true calling was to be a developer but then Mr. Warren Miller distracted me with his darn ski films. Oh, well. In the end, I guess, I am what I am and I don’t think I’ll be wearing Hugo Boss suits up onto the hill anytime soon… but those skis are pretty nice. VTChris Anthony is a Vail local and professional skier who writes for the Vail Trail from time to time. He can be reached through the Vail Trail by writing to tboyd@vailtrail.com


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