"Where Are They
Now?/Jennifer and Kimberly" - October 25
In the beginning, there were 16 self-professed ugly
ducklings put through the ringer of surgery and fitness
regimens that makes basic training look like child's
play. And yea, it was good. Then take the nine
most-radically-altered players and have them compete for
cash and prizes in a beauty pageant. And yea, it was a
contest unlike any other. But what happened after the
lights went out and reality set in? We'll find out
tonight, and then prepare to start the process anew.
First, some figures to (re)consider
from last season: 15 million viewers for the finale.
200,000 hopefuls from all over America whittled to the
final 16. $4 million in surgery (roughly averages to
$250,000 per person, with only the phone-a-friend and
50/50 used). Zero mirrors. One doctor that... we're not
even sure is a real doctor.
That was then. This is
now. Seems to be the running theme as we reacquaint
ourselves with Amanda Byram, who was there all the way
last year as the women dared to transform their lives on
national tele-VISION. Let's revisit a few of them, shall
Kelly Alemi; 28;
Then: Tormented by painful childhood, had the
unfortunate curse of going up against Rachel Love-Fraser
in her round, made it to the pageant an audience
favorite by virtue of a wild card, made it to the
semifinal round of 6.
Now: Bob (boyfriend) is the luckiest guy in the world,
Kelly smiles (not JUST because she has great teeth) out
of happiness, both made up for years of... well,
something, now Kelly is engaged to Bob. "Who I am on the
inside just makes me a better person."
Belinda Bessant; 28;
Then: Former model plagued by a series of bad
relationships; used pictures of exes as fodder to keep
training; didn't get out of the quarterfinal round of 9.
Now: Wears a size 8 (down from 18), kid is getting big
while mom is getting little, now sports token boyfriend
Beth Lay; 25; Milton,
Then: Changed by motherhood and distraught with her
marriage, was "afraid nobody else would love me", was
the first two-surgeon transformation, came THIS close to
taking the whole shoot'n'match as 1st runner-up.
Now: Confident, yes. Secure, yes. Apology from
husband... yes. Kept the weight off? Not really. Gained
a little back. "But I'm working on it."
Kathy Rickers; 28;
Lake Villa, IL
Then: Awkward 16 year old in 27 year old's body, turned
into awkward 16-year-old-rocker-chick in 27-year-old's
Now: Works her dream job in fashion.
Cindy Ingle; 32; San
Then: Facial hair and witch nose issues, went under a
risky rhinoplasty and laser hair removal only to come in
2nd runner-up. SECOND?!
Now: Model for a new clothing line, gave up the razor to
her husband. Says the best part of her transformation is
just her. Warns Amanda to watch her back, because she's
doing a little presenting of her own on Fox San Diego.
Marnie Rygiewicz; 35;
Then: Breakup led to dating freeze, struggled with
motivation, completed the program and went on to place
in the final six.
Now: Playing the field.
Kelly Becker; 26;
Then: Plagued by her face, her unsupportive boyfriend,
and a weight-gain program.
Now: Rebounded with boyfriend (now fiancee) Ethan.
Sarina Voight; 37;
Then: Filed for divorce, but kept talking to the ex.
Once free of Lucky, she got back on track and results
showed. Another one of the final six.
Now: Flexible, thinks of Lucky as a platonic boyfriend,
but that's it.
A quick interruption.
How many women applied for Swan 2? Three hundred
thousand. Jaded audience member who just wanted his 15:
"Woo!" Amanda: "I know." Okay, back to the stories.
Merline Norman; 30;
Then: Biggest struggle was trying to make time for
herself, breasts got smaller and teeth got more crooked
with each one of her three kids, got into the pageant by
virtue of her opponent carrying a contraband mirror, but
didn't pass the initial nine.
Now: Smiles a lot more, loves for boobies, likes
improved communication with her boyfriend (again, now
fiancee), not working as much as she used to. Oh yeah,
and the sex is good. "The therapy was my favorite. The
program gave me a whole brand new look on life."
Dawn Goad; 34;
Then: Teeth issues that Fox harped us on which took
extensive surgery to correct.
Now: Not ashamed to smile as she gets everyone else on a
health kick, especially her teenage son Chris.
Andrea Morris; 30;
Then: Suffered from acne and relationship problems;
complained in the gym; quick to deny it; was that close
to walking out; at the final reveal: "oh my god...
Now: "I'm not frumpy anymore"; moved on from
relationship; trying to be the best single mom she can
Kristy Garza; 23;
Then: Joker in the army who didn't have a dress.
Now: Joker out of the army who has a dress and a body to
Cristina Tyree; 28;
Then: Belly-dancing aficionado with an unsightly
midsection from child-rearing; tried to even it out with
ice cream at the apartment; got into the pageant; only
made it to nine.
Now: Belly-dancing aficionado with a six-pack; models on
Tawnya Cook; 41;
Then: Oldest of the Swans; devastated by a trio of
tragedies involving her ex-husband, her brother, and her
daughter, ended up a hot mama.
Now: An aspiring actress.
And last but by no means
least, Rachel Love-Fraser; 27; Sammamish, WA
Then: Heaviest of the ducklings at 190, had an
extreme lack of confidence due to low expectations from
her family and husband; had little support from home;
her transformation still stands as the bar from which
all transformations are measured, and the proof was in
the pudding as she was crowned the first ever Swan. And,
of course, her life would never be the same.
Now: Attacks every day with zest, maintains healthy
lifestyle, forgives husband for "average" barbs. "I
can't even explain when you're standing at the
supermarket and there you are looking at you." What she
didn't say was that the cover in question was the People
Magazine that said "Has TV Plastic Surgery Gone Too
Now the Swans converge
on stage to dish. Most of the girls, after reveal, went
to the hotel, stripped naked, and stared at themselves.
At the pageant, each one could hear their kids
screaming. The girls like to be checked out (Kelly:
"He's looking. I know why.") Marnie's swinging, Andrea's
mom is dabbling in botox, Cindy had to explain her
military ID, and with that, the audience starts
Audience 1: What was the
coolest thing about being a Swan? Rachel: Being able to
Audience 2: Is it weird
walking around in your underwear on TV? Beth: Oh gosh,
the granny underwear.
Audience 3 (a bloke in
every sense of the word): One very serious question for
Marnie. Marnie... What are you doing later? Marnie: I
like your accent. A3: I like your hair. And your dress.
And your smile!
And with that, and one
final send-off for the Season 1 Swans... The
transformations begin anew.
HERE to continue.