Does Susan Boyle Need A Makeover?

Writes the WaPo‘s Pulitzer Prize winning fashion critic Robin Givhan, “Should Susan Boyle have a makeover? The politically correct answer: Only if she wants one. The honest answer: Yes.”

As Givhan points out, we love Susan Boyle in part because she doesn’t fit the gorgeous, size-2 stereotype we’re all used to:

Boyle beat the system that rewards the drop-dead gorgeous 10s and ignores the 3s and 4s. And people love her for that. Her rough-cut curls and sensible shoes make them feel virtuous. If she should decide to take designers up on their offer of free flattering frocks, avail herself of a smart new haircut and vigorous eyebrow arching, would she ruin the fun being had by her millions of fans?

And, she adds, a makeover need not be the sinister blonde-ing and drastic weight loss it’s come to suggest.

The point of a proper makeover… is not to look like someone else but the best version of yourself. This is not a recommendation for an “Extreme Makeover,” but rather the Tim Gunn or “What Not to Wear” version. Those are the kind of transformations in which the recipients spend a little time figuring out precisely why they’ve been squeamish about trying to achieve their personal best.

In sum, to Givhan, “The tale of Susan Boyle will not be complete until the shy spinster blossoms. Those who have been entranced by her story so far should let Boyle’s fairy godmother finish her work.” Our rationale is different. Boyle should not get a makeover to satisfy our fantasy. Rather, she should be kitted out like any professional entertainer would be, with good hair, makeup, and costumes, because that is what professional entertainers do, and that’s what Boyle is now as a result of her undeniable talent. She should not to transformed; she should be polished. Because to not do so would be patronizing and creepy. If we insisted that Susan Boyle change absolutely nothing about herself, that she continue to play an undiscovered amateur when she has earned the privileges of the pro, would be to reduce her to a caricature, a sort of spinster minstrel, who didn’t deserve better and who has no value beyond being an “ugly duckling.”

The kind of singing Boyle will likely do – concert singing, perhaps work in musicals – does not, after all, demand American Idol-style sartorial hijinx. Concert singers, opera performers, generally look elegant, polished, professional, but are rarely required to be sexy or overly youthful, and we can’t imagine that Boyle would either. Given her admiration of singer Elaine Paige’s career, it seems likely that Boyle would assume – if not want – a similar level of polish and low-key glamor. To deny her that would be a grave injustice, and anything less would be, at this point, artificial.

Susan Boyle Makeover Would Add Grace Notes [Washington Post]

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