Jan DeVito is a lady of habit – or, at least, she was. She had stuck to the same tried and trusted beauty regime for over 20 years, for example. Then, one day, Jan went through a dramatic makeunder which attempted to reveal the natural beauty lying beneath all her make-up. And the results of that transformation, it’s fair to say, were truly incredible.
That’s right: Jan, a hairdresser, hadn’t changed her hairstyle or make-up routine since she was a lively 16-year-old. “I’ve been wearing my hair in a bun [for] at least 25 years,” she recalled on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2001. “I usually turn it upside down, and I rat it. I spray it probably three times before I leave for work.”
For Jan, maintaining her bun hairstyle didn’t stop at home, though. Mindful of keeping every last strand in place, she explained, “When I get to the salon, while I’m spraying my ladies’ [hair], I [also] spray my hair. They don’t really know that.”
And Jan’s hairdo wasn’t the only thing to have remained constant over the years: her make-up routine hadn’t changed, either. “I’ve used the same make-up since I was at least 15 or 16,” she confessed on the show. She did, however, admit, “I’ve probably added a few more layers as I’ve gotten older.” And just as she continued to primp her bun, Jan touched up her face paint throughout the day, too. She explained on The Oprah Winfrey Show, “By noon, usually I’ve reapplied two more times, for sure!”
What’s more, Jan wore her usual full face of make-up to bed. She explained that she did so because, as she put it, “I never [knew] at any time [whether] I’d have to get up for some type of emergency and I would not have time to apply my make-up.” She continued, “And I would never leave home without it.”
And since Jan didn’t remove her face before turning in for the night, one of her morning rituals included changing her pillowcase as it typically became stained by cosmetics as she slept. During the show, Jan added, “I don’t remember the last time anyone, including my husband, has ever seen me without make-up.”
And that list of people included her daughter Gina. “She’s had the same look for as long as I can remember,” Gina said to The Oprah Winfrey Show. “I don’t remember the last time I saw my mom without all of her make-up on, honest to God!”
In fact, as Gina grew up, she was somewhat embarrassed by her mother’s look. This was especially true when others referred to her mom as “[the] lady with the silver bun and all the make-up.” And, perhaps understandably, Gina desperately wanted Jan to change her appearance, even going so far as to tell her mother, “Rapunzel, let down that bun.”
Perhaps thinking that her mom needed a helping hand, then, Gina decided to take drastic action. Consequently, she got in touch with the team on The Oprah Winfrey Show, telling them, “I’m hoping to give my mom a makeover so she can have more confidence in herself, look more hip and younger and have a good time.”
And a revamp is what her mom certainly got. To witness firsthand the outcome of her makeover, Gina, along with lots of Jan’s other friends and family, were in the Oprah audience. Plentiful in number, the excited group took up an entire section.
Oprah, meanwhile, was joined by supermodel and star of America’s Next Top Model Tyra Banks to critique Jan’s new style. On the show, some footage of Jan with her old look was played one last time before, finally, the curtain lifted. Then, to cheers from the studio audience, Jan strode confidently onto the stage.
As it turned out, Jan’s astonishing transformation was achieved using minimal make-up. And not only did this allow her true beauty to shine through, but it also appeared to take years off her age. Even Oprah appeared to be stunned with the results, saying, “[It’s] pretty amazing. That’s like a makedown, a makeunder.”
And as for that famous hairstyle? Well, the bun had been banished, as Jan’s hair had also been given a new, younger-looking style. Her locks, which had previously always been tied up, were cut shorter and left loose to frame her new visage. And Tyra Banks was impressed. She remarked to Jan, “Your hair was like down to here, wasn’t it? Super long. And I think your family didn’t even know how long your hair was anymore because they never saw you without the bun.”
And it wasn’t just Oprah and Tyra who were amazed by Jan’s transformation. Her friends and family screamed and applauded, for instance, clearly shocked by how different she looked. Meanwhile, Jan’s daughter would rush on stage to embrace her mother.
Happily, Jan, too, appeared to be delighted with her new look. Resplendent in matching black top and pants, she gave the audience a model-like twirl. Then she did a little jig and waved at her loved ones from the stage.
What’s more, commenters online were also in awe over how a makeunder could change someone’s whole appearance. And one individual in particular was clearly impressed. “She looks 20 years younger! Wow! Weird how make-up can age you or make you look younger,” she wrote in the comments section of the Oprah clip after it was put on YouTube.
Meanwhile, some YouTube users expressed relief for Jan’s skin. After all, wearing make-up all day, every day without a break isn’t typically recommended. Cat Evergreen wrote, for instance, “It wasn’t the style I was concerned about, it was her skin care. It’s so unhealthy to put layers on top of layers of make-up on like that. You have to wash it off and let your skin breathe.”
And another commenter, Diane Watson, suggested that Jan may have felt “freed” by her experience. She wrote, “I think people get in a rut, and they really just get very comfortable with what they are familiar with… I think she may have been relieved to just have had help to transition and try something new.”
Of course, people also wondered whether Jan would stick to her new look or revert back to her old ways. Ledzep9620 wrote, for example, “I wish we could see if the lady does her old style or changed. I would love to see.” Mindful that this could make another piece of great TV, Melinda from the Oprah Winfrey Network replied, “You can submit this as a suggestion for Where Are They Now?”
Unfortunately, it isn’t clear whether Jan did stick to her new look or not. And another commenter, bschlem, certainly had doubts about the matter. “I don’t think Oprah, the show, the audience or her friends really expected her to stay with the ‘new’ look from that point on,” they wrote. “I think it’s just a fun way of changing up your look, and I’m sure the stylist/s gave her some application tips moving forwards.” For now, we’ll just have to keep wondering…