“What Not to Wear.” One of the shows Chuck and I watch together; it is also a show that has struck fear in me that the hosts will one day show up at my work in hopes of making me their next makeover project. (I have made it clear to Chuck not to bother nominating me…it would be a wasted trip for Clinton and Stacy.)
For those who aren’t familiar, WNTW receives nominations for hundreds of potential makeovers – mostly women – in dire need of help with their wardrobe, hair and makeup. Family, friends or co-workers do the nominating for the oblivious makeover candidate. Once picked, hosts Stacy London and Clinton Kelly descend upon the unknowing person, with help from the nominators — genuine surprise and embarrassment always ensue — then make them an offer of a sweet $5000 credit card to be put toward clothing, in exchange for the present wardrobe they have.
Of course the show only centers around those that surrender, and that’s where the fun begins.
We were watching the show the other night, and the makeover project was “The Facts of Life” child star Mindy Cohn. Remembering how fun it had been seeing Stacy and Clinton go to work on another child star, “Blossom’s” Mayim Bialik a few years back, we settled right in.
Never exactly a “The Facts of Life” fan, I did catch a handful of episodes in its heyday (unfortunately none where George Clooney guest starred), so I was familiar with all the cast, including Cohn’s character, Natalie.
So during the “What Not to Wear” episode, it was a joy to see that, as a grown woman, Mindy Cohn still possessed the same vibrancy and charm she had as a child. And yes, she is still very round.
Most WNTW makeover guests break down in tears at some point during the show, fearful of change, not finding the right clothes, having to part with their own clothes, general frustration, etc.; but not Mindy. She was receptive to change, yet confident in her present self. She was humorous, witty, entertaining, a good listener; her dancing eyes spoke volumes. She was someone you wanted to be around, that delicious person you wanted at your next dinner party.
What I especially loved about Mindy is that, throughout the whole show, not once did she lament about her size. At age 44, let’s trust that she has more than likely visited that prospect during various points in her life. But in the here and now, she wanted clothes that fit her body, a wardrobe that enhanced her curves.
“She’s precious!” I erupted a couple of times during the show. “How refreshing is she?”
“Invite her over,” Chuck half-jokingly replied.
In all reality, yes, some might consider Mindy Cohn to be obese (these days anyone more than 40 pounds is automatically labeled just that, at least by medical standards — I know this from my own experience). Yes, she may have weight-related health issues; she may encounter numerous obstacles getting work in her (acting) field; perhaps her love life suffers; that is all really none of our business. Besides, deep down, I have a feeling that with Mindy Cohn, what you see is what you get.
In a world where most celebrities seem so obsessed with drastic weight loss, cosmetic surgery — anything to make themselves more marketable and better than the next person — it was so refreshing to see Mindy Cohn with her sense of joie de vivre and genuine love of self. She wasn’t trying to be someone different; she just appreciated the help WNTW gave her in making her look her best. She was receptive to change, but within her means.
Within her means. Wow, wouldn’t we all benefit if we were receptive to change within our own means, instead of depriving ourselves, going bankrupt, overdoing everything, treading water, driving ourselves crazy; in an attempt to reach some unattainable and/or temporary goal, only to wind up right back where we started? Exhausting and futile, yes?
My hope is that Mindy’s appearance on WNTW will open more doors for her in the entertainment industry. Personally, I think if — Lord help us — Rachael Ray can land a talk show, then Mindy is well overdue for her own.
Best of luck to you, Mindy. And thank you.