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Trading faces

After stepping out of her flip flops and leaving behind her teenage years, Julie Bennett said she hopes to be transformed into a “professional” as she and her mom are styled, clothed and manicured for three days in front of video cameras.
Bennett begins filming with The Learning Channel’s “A Makeover Story” today on her and her mother’s shared birthday, when camera crews will be on campus spending time with Bennett and her friends.
Bennett, a sophomore marketing major, said she came across the show’s application last fall on its Web site. She said she told her mom she had applied but didn’t expect to hear anything.
On Feb. 6, however, Bennett received a phone call from the show’s producers saying they were interested in a mother and daughter with the same birthday.
Bennett and her mother completed 30-minute phone interviews and corresponded by e-mail with TLC. On Valentine’s Day, Bennett said, she received another phone call notifying her that she and her mother had been selected to appear on “A Makeover Story.”
“It was around 8 in the morning, and my roommate and I hadn’t even woken up yet,” she said. “But after the phone call, I started calling everyone I knew.”
The good news traveled fast to members of the Bennett family.
“Danielle from the show asked if she could call my mom at work to tell her the good news, so she did and I immediately called my dad,” Bennett said. “When I was on the phone with my dad, my mom called him on the other line. When I finally got to talk to my mom, she was just as excited as I was, if not more.”
Diane Bennett, Julie’s mother and a nurse at Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center in Houston, said she was surprised.
“Julie said the show received thousands of applications and not to expect a call back,” Diane Bennett said. “So, it was a big surprise and it’s just getting more and more exciting every day.”
Bennett said her dad, a former Navy pilot, would be seen on the show flying a 4-seater plane into Easterwood Airport to pick her up for spring break.
After flying home to Houston, Bennett and her family will be filmed having dinner and baking birthday cakes with close friends.
Danielle Burrows, a researcher at Banyan Productions in Philadelphia, said she chose Bennett and her mom to be on “A Makeover Story” because of their shared birthdays and close family relationship.
Burrows said what struck her was the story of Bennett’s family picking her up in an airplane just for dinner at her Houston home.
“There is just something really enduring to their story,” Burrows said. “They just seem like really genuine people.”
Burrows said Bennett’s application explained that she was stuck in a flip flop rut and that her mom tended to wear scrubs.
“I think Julie will have no problem making fun of her clothes on camera or with people observing her,” Burrows said. “When I talked with her on the phone, her energy was just contagious.”
Bennett said her fashion expertise stops at T-shirts, jeans and flip flops, and she needs a proper look for summer internships. Diane Bennett said her daughter needed to start thinking about looking more professional as she nears the end of her sophomore year.
“She’s been at college wearing jeans and T-shirts like a lot of other students do,” Diane Bennett said. “She’s forgotten how to dress up.”
Tori Vaughan, a sophomore industrial distribution major and Bennett’s roommate, said her friend needs a new look to go with her bubbly personality.
“Her wardrobe is kind of drab,” Vaughan said. “She wears clothes like from the eighth grade, and it’s high time she gets a new look.”
Vaughan said Bennett’s hair is gorgeous, but she would like to see her with a new hairstyle and wearing brighter colors.
Bennett’s boyfriend, Micah Lightfoot, said his girlfriend and her mom could use a little change in style.
“Julie’s style depends on if she had a test that week. She has the clothes but just doesn’t wear them,” said Lightfoot, a sophomore industrial distribution major. “Her mom has this 1980s style, so it’s definitely going to be interesting to see them with a makeover. I just hope Julie doesn’t cut her hair off too short, but other than that, I think she’ll look good.”
Bennett said she was nervous about saying goodbye to her long hair.
“The first thing the show asked me was if I was willing to cut my hair,” Bennett said. “I know the new trends are shorter layered cuts, but I don’t know if I want that.”
Diane Bennett said her casual clothes are fine until she wants to go somewhere nice, and that she could use a hairstyle change along with her daughter.
Bennett and her mother will shop with clothing experts on Friday and undergo a day of hair, nail and makeup treatments on Saturday before they reveal their new looks at a joint birthday party at a Ninfa’s mexican food restaurant in Houston.
Bennett said she looks forward to having memories of being with her mom and gaining a new look.
“Being off at college, we don’t get to see each other as much and I’m glad to get to spend these three days with her,” Bennett said.
For Bennett, appearing with her mother on TLC’s “A Makeover Story” will serve a dual purpose.
“My mom and I have a very close relationship and we’ve been celebrating our birthdays together for 20 years,” she said. “I like to think this is my way of giving my mom a great birthday present. And as for myself, I’m excited to have a fresh new look as I leave my teen years–maybe an older, more sophisticated look.”
The showing date of Bennett and her mom’s shared birthday story, “Star-Crossed Styles,” will be announced at a later date. For more information and updates, log onto www.tlc.com.

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