Kim Penstone

Why I love Extreme Makeover

2005-02-08 13:38

Hi, my name is Kim, and I love Extreme Makeover. I also love The Swan, and Nip/Tuck, and all those reality TV shows that see women and men submitting themselves to the power of the knife in search of post-operative happiness.

I sit glued to the box, relishing every koki mark, every cut, every bandage, every bruise. I don't cover my eyes when they take cartilage out of ears to insert into noses, or cover my ears when the liposuction machine assaults a thigh that hasn't seen a step class in a long, long time.

I am, friends will confirm, an addict.

But perhaps not for the reasons you might at first assume. So before your eyes bug out and you fingers start itching to type a scathing response about the inappropriateness of these programmes and how they breed a belief that beauty lies in button noses, buxom (yet perky) bosoms, and Colgate smiles, let me explain.

Body parts to die for

For years, women around the world have held the bodies and faces of Hollywood starlets up as "most wanted". Who hasn't ached for Elle's legs, Jen's hair, Julia's smile, Kylie's behind, Catherine's cheek bones?

(I'd say that it's fair to say men are rapidly falling into the same trap, although I reckon they aim more for Brad's six pack than Jen's hair?)

Of course, I fall into the former group, and have oft been known to cry that it's simply unfair that one human being receive all the gods' gifts as if in a huge, happy hamper:

"Dear Jennifer. Please find herewith:

  • Perfect face, comprising perfect eyes, nose, and mouth (complete with perfect pouty lips)
  • Perfect body, comprising perfect perky breasts, a nipped in waist, a pert backside, and long, lithe legs.
  • Perfect hair, complete with perfect style.
  • Your perfect husband to be delivered shortly"

    Us average gals

    Okay, so the perfect husband didn't necessarily work out. But check out the rest!

    Us average girls get our gifts in small, slightly soiled envelopes:

    "Dear Kim. Please find herewith:

  • Unruly red hair.
  • Skin that's better suited to a Scotswomen than a South African (apologies, it was all that was available)
  • One gammy knee, with result that pertness of backside will drop as age rises.
  • Toes that closely resemble niknaks, with result that husband will fall over with laughter upon first seeing them."

    Don't get me wrong, I'm essentially grateful for my fully-functional body, and wouldn't realistically switch it with anyone else's (better the devil you know), but I'm also, thanks to Extreme Makeover, a little more realistic about those hampers from the gods.

    Because the truth of the matter is that you never know what arrived in Jen's hamper. The gods could have added in a nasty set of teeth to offset her perfect parcel.

    But with her very first paycheck from a hair commercial, she set off to the orthodontic specialist and he popped in some perfect white veneers.

    These days, you can also manufacture six packs. And who knows how much plastic lurks beneath the grey skin of those Men's Health cover models?

    Now, every time I catch a glimpse of a perfect package, I console myself with the fact that it's possible (even probable) that the perfection has been manufactured by a group of professionals, paid for, quite literally, with blood, sweat and many tears.

    And, quite frankly, I don't have the reserves. Thank you, Extreme Makeover, for opening my eyes.

  • Kim Penstone is not as obsessed with outer beauty as it appears. She is, however, a reality TV addict (much to her own shame). Extreme Makeover is just the tip of the iceberg.

    If you're interested in the more serious side of marketing and advertising, you can find that on

    Send your comments to Kim

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