Okay, at 28 years of age, Sunny, pictured above, seemed to have gotten stuck in a time warp with Tinkerbell as her stylist. And, no, it wasn’t Halloween or right before the curtain rose on some bizarre version of the Nutcracker. The wing-adorned frock on the left was one of Sunny’s everyday ensembles, worn whenever and wherever she chose.
Now I am all about style and fashion. Anybody who has known me since before that doggone movie premiere I attended last September (2011) is well aware of my obsession with “getting it right” for the judging eyes, my own first and foremost. And I can only think of one or two of my acquaintances who would truly prefer Sunny’s “before” look to the stylish and polished version she presents in the “after” shot.
Sunny’s fiancé nominated her to be ambushed by TLC’s Stacy and Clinton from their mega-hit TV makeover series What Not to Wear. Sunny’s episode, which originally aired in 2009, was today’s noontime rerun in our market. It was the first time I had seen it.
Sunny’s idea of stylish included oversized layers of clothing that looked like she stood under an apartment building and “caught” the castoff closet detritus of every woman inside. Her makeup consisted of glitter on her eyelids –the kind of glitter art teachers use in kindergarten classes. Sequins and other sparkly accoutrements on her textiles and clunky hiking shoes that converted to roller skates completed her look. Oh, and she alternated among five pairs of fairy wings that she affixed to her back using ribbons tied over her shoulders.
I have always felt sorry for the people who are ganged up on by their family and friends and told their style or lack thereof stinks -- in front of a national television audience. Many of those selected are clearly suffering from deep-seated self-esteem issues – some are hiding under ill-fitting or shapeless clothes; some are uncomfortable with attention; some have severe body dysmorphia.
Sunny displayed none of these. She is 5’6” and wears a size 4. If she had a problem at all, it was the Peter Pan Syndrome. She is an aspiring actress (read creative) who speaks with a wistful, child-like delivery. She had no idea people found her choice of apparel weird or inappropriate. She thought she was universally admired for her individuality and flair. She thought she was stunning.
And when she was ambushed by the show hosts, camera in tow, her feelings of hurt were palpable. She actually cried when her entire wardrobe was tossed in the trash, to be replaced by a new “acceptable” one worth $5000 of the show’s money.
Her fiancé said he called the show because he was afraid Sunny would show up for their wedding with a pair of wings on her back. Yet, he apparently fell in love with the costume-wearing woman of his dreams with no problem.
The show hosts criticized the young vegan’s penchant for polyester instead of natural fibers. Sunny refused to wear silk, wool, leather – anything that came from an animal – even silkworms. So that left cotton.
At the end, Sunny was going along with the program – literally. She went through the haircut she didn’t want, and the makeup she didn’t want and selected clothes she described as “bland.” She seemed genuinely pleased with the positive attention her transformation garnered, but there was still a hint of real loss in her eyes.
Yes, it is true Sunny is more likely to land movie and TV parts dressed in her new style. And yes, it is true everybody at her wedding will feel a lot more comfortable with her conforming to the ideals of wedding glamour. But at what price?
Who wants to bet she wore high-top glitter sneakers under her traditional gown?
Photos from TLC.com