This week we meet two new contestants who will undergo drastic makeovers for a chance at making it to the pageant and becoming The Swan.
First up is Gina Davis (no, not [b]that[/b] Geena Davis). Gina is a mom of three from Daytona Beach, Florida. She’s almost completely deaf, with only 10% hearing in one ear. When Gina was a child the other kids made fun of her, calling her ‘retarded’ and ‘deafy’, and throwing chewing gum into her hair. As a result, Gina retreated into herself and became very shy and insecure. She says that it’s not her hearing loss that makes her feel disabled, it’s her nose, lack of chin, and extra weight (of which there isn’t much).
Gina’s husband, undoubtedly a contestant himself for the “Complete Jerk of a Husband” award, has “anger-management” issues and calls Gina names. She says that they haven’t even kissed each other in ten years, and she hates it.
The panel of experts come together to discuss Gina’s transformation. They want to give her back her confidence and teach her to stand up for herself, and of course there’s a whole bevy of surgical enhancements to undergo including what appears to be a very difficult nose job. Gina’s treatment will include:
* nose job
* breast augmentation
* gum recontouring
* 1200 calorie per day diet
Lorrie married her husband, who was her first boyfriend, after being with him for only two months. Her weight finally got to her so much that one day she decided she’d had enough. She cut out the fat and started exercising, resulting in a 120-pound weight loss. The downside? A lot of excess skin that had been stretched to the limit and refused to tighten up. Lorrie says that she looks like she’s melting.
To make things worse, Lorrie’s husband died of liver disease in 2002, leaving her alone to take care of herself and her children. She is still grieving his death.
The experts decide that Lorrie will need a “full body life”, which will be divided up into three different series’ of surgeries. Poor girl! She’ll also undergo a face life, nose job, and various other procedures outlined below. Host Amanda says that Lorrie will be undergoing more surgeries than any other Swan before her. Ouch.
The therapist wants to work through the trauma of Lorrie losing her husband, as well as allow her to get her anger out towards her mother.
Lorrie’s treatment will include:
* full face lift
* full body lift
* gum restructuring
* 1200 calorie per day diet to take off another 10 pounds
Both women go for consultations with the surgeon, Dr. Haworth. They discuss the procedures and make plans for surgeries. The doctor says that Gina’s face will be difficult because it is asymmetrical, while Lorrie will have to recover from three different stages of surgery. The women seem to be ready to get things started, however.
At the dentist, Gina gets her cleaning and veneers done without incident. Lorrie is told that an infected tooth at the back of her mouth will have to be removed, and this startles her. The dentist talks her down (“it’s just one little tooth!”), and after an icky-sounding pop the tooth is gone.
The night before the surgeries, Lorrie gets nervous and calls home for some reassurance. Her kids step up to the plate and tell her they love her and miss her. At least there are some supportive relatives in this episode.
Dr. Haworth explains that the first stage of Lorrie’s surgery will include the buttock and inner-thigh lift, which are risky and rare procedures because of the scarring and risk of infection, but Lorrie is an extreme case. She makes it through the surgery just fine and starts her first road to recovery.
Lorrie’s second surgery consists of most of the facial procedures, and that goes well too.
Meanwhile, Gina is also calling home for some last-minute support. She tells her husband (through an interpreter) that she loves him and he replies…well, he doesn’t. Way to be supportive, moron.
Dr. Haworth explains that Gina’s face is rather awkward for him because nothing lines up the way it should. He says it will be the most difficult nose job he’s ever had to do. Gina yelps as the anaesthetic is administered and seems frightened, but everything works out well during surgery.
During the recovery process, Gina can’t seem to reach her family. A hurricane has ravaged her home and they have been relocated. She finally gets in touch with her mother who delivers the news – the roof on their house has blown off and there is extensive flooding. Gina breaks down and asks her mom if she should return home. Her mother insists that she stay there and take care of her dream first. Excellent, another supportive relative. Good to see!
Lorrie heads back to the surgeon for her last round of procedures. She’ll finally lose all of the excess skin that is hanging from her stomach, and she’s excited. Dr. Haworth compares the surgery to taking a billowing parachute and turning it into a form-fitting dress.
Gina sits outside and considers leaving the program and returning home to her family. She gets a surprise visit from Merline, the Swan contestant from last season who has deaf parents. Gina expresses her concerns for her family, and Merline tells her that if she leaves now she might be able to help them immediately, but if she stays in the program and works on herself first, she’ll be able to help them for the rest of her life. This is exactly what Gina needed to hear, and she renews her commitment to the program.
Lorrie is also feeling blue and wants to go home to be with her kids. She says that she’ll have to give up on her dream, but she can’t take being away from them any longer. Add to that the pain from her multiple surgeries, and this is completely understandable. She packs her bags and goes off to call her family. She cries and tells her sons that she’s leaving the program, but they convince her to stay. It really must have been tough for those kids to hear their mom so upset, but I give them huge props for knowing how important this was for her.
It’s finally time for the big reveal. Amanda gathers the panel of experts together and they discuss how far Gina has come. We get the obligatory recap of what Gina was like only three short months ago, as well as a surprise – the doctors have found a new hearing aid for Gina that has restored her hearing to almost normal! She says this is the first time she’s ever heard her own voice. I wonder why this was left until the end, because some speech therapy/voice coaching would have been a fabulous addition to Gina’s treatment.
Gina is brought in and she looks good. Her new blonde hair is a bit startling and it looks like her face needs some ‘settling’ yet, but overall it’s a great transformation. Her figure is stunning and her newfound confidence is more glaring than host Amanda’s plunging neckline. Good for you, Gina!
Gina goes to the mirror and Amanda draws back the curtain. Gina is overwhelmed and screams “Oh my God!” (note to FOX – the subtitles here were really not necessary). She says that she feels like a movie star.
Lorrie is up next, and the panel is impressed with her determination and ability to come through the extensive list of surgeries.
Lorrie comes in and the difference in her appearance is startling. She looks at least 20 years younger. Her dress is a little strange, but it really doesn’t matter. She looks flawless.
At the mirror, Lorrie is in awe of her new self. She says that she’ll never lack for confidence again, and mentions how tiny her tummy is now. She points to her new breasts and says, “And these…!”, to which Amanda replies, “I know!” Lorrie thanks the panel and gets her kudos from them.
Now we get to find out who’s going to move on to the pageant. I’m almost not concentrating too much on this, since it’s completely obvious that Lorrie will be moving on. Right? Wrong. Gina is going to the pageant. Well, honestly, good for her. It’s hard to deny that she deserves it – she worked hard and really does look great. But Lorrie just looks so completely different, carries herself differently, and has gone through so much to get here. I think Lorrie will end up in the wildcard spot at the pageant. At least I hope so.
Lorrie’s kids and friends are brought in and they all think she looks amazing. Hugs all around. Gina can’t stop smiling, and stands with Amanda as the show ends.
Next week two more Swans will start the program – Erica, who wants to gain the confidence to pursue her dreams and ‘be somebody’, and Christina who has low self-esteem and will resist the experts’ help. Stay tuned!
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