We’re all gearing up for the shooting of the Pilot Episode of the reality TV series Darling, You Look Fabulous!
Back in December 2019, two weeks before Christmas, Miguel told me we would be meeting the producer David Rashed for the TV show. On the 19th of December, Miguel picked me up and we drove downtown to David’s recording studio in The Guild. We chatted and shared the general idea of the show, looked through some old footage of Miguel’s old show, Makeover Mondays with Miguel, which he produced in Oshawa for Rogers Television, and agreed we would form a production team. In true Miguel fashion, we sealed the deal with hugs. That was also when Miguel declared I was his “manager.”
Over the Christmas holidays, we tossed ideas around until I finally said we should meet and discuss the production company, define our goals and roles, set a production schedule, and determine things like format, timeframe, and other details. I set a meeting with Renee Laprise at FilmPEI on the 16th of January so I could get ideas from her on setting up a production company, considering she has had so much more experience at this. Besides, she’s the Executive Director of FilmPEI–has been for several years now! I scoured the Internet for information and made notes that I could bring to the meeting. The whole week before we finally met on January 20th, I barely slept a wink as ideas were rushing through my head. We needed a concept that would make the show different from all the other makeover shows on TV and YouTube. Several of the top shows were reality shows that were brutal to the models and many of the hosts were quite snarky. I knew I didn’t want that. It most certainly wouldn’t work on PEI and that was not what we wanted to achieve. By Friday the 17th, I had an idea percolating in my brain and I did a little more Internet research when I was not working. After all, my heaviest workdays were Friday and Saturday, when I barely had a few minutes to myself. By the time I left for my office on Monday the 20th, I knew what I would propose to the group.
Both Miguel and David loved the idea, so we ran with it. David wanted to shoot the Pilot episode before February ended because he would be much busier in March, and we were hoping to release it in June. That meant we would need to find model candidates really soon. We aimed for interviews by the 10th or 17th of February, but if we could swing it as early as the 3rd, we’d have lots of time to fall back on. Right after the meeting, Miguel and I walked down the hall from my office to the Private Institute of Hair Design and Aesthetics to see if we could invite them to support our show by letting some of their students assist. We received an enthusiastic welcome and Deanna Clow promised to find us three hair design interns and three aestheticians. I also dropped by at the end of the week to meet Carla Doucette and confirm their support.
That week, I sent out a call for applicants, then started emailing and calling people and organizations, getting contacts and referrals from contacts for just about everything. I wrote a press release and sent it out to the PEI’s newspapers and other print and digital media. Within a couple of days, The Employment Journey asked for an interview. I had meetings with First Impressions and Gifts from the Heart. Within three days of sending out the call for applicants, we had 25 applications! I had originally figured doing video interviews that would also pass for screen tests, allotting 15 minutes to each applicant, even if the actual footage would only be 3-5 minutes. We did not have enough time on the 3rd of February, so we booked half the applicants on the 4th.
While setting up and waiting for applicants to show up on the 3rd, I got a call from Dave Stewart of The Guardian, who also wanted to do an interview as soon as possible, and I invited him to come in during the video interviews on the 4th. To our pleasant surprise, the article came out on the 5th on the front page and continued to the second page. Before we knew it, we were getting calls, Miguel was asked for autographs, and people were remarking on our project.
The Guardian article made it seem like we were only helping those who were less fortunate, but that is not the complete impression we wanted to give. Darling, You Look Fabulous is a reality makeover show aimed to giving people who need a little boost in confidence and image so they can achieve more: they can get out of a rut, turn over a new leaf, look for a job, move ahead in their careers, change their lives, or simply feel better about themselves emotionally and physically.
The plus factor in the show was that we want to have at least one model on every episode who would really need the makeover but cannot afford to get an expensive haircut or new clothes–that would help them perhaps find a job or turn their lives around. We would give them makeup as well as provide tips on how to apply makeup, because not everyone knows how to use makeup properly. Partnering with First Impressions would help them find the perfect outfit that would make them look fabulous. Partnering with Gifts From the Heart Inc. would help them if they could not afford a new wardrobe and other things they might need at home but could not afford to get.
We hope that we can bring together different helping organizations so that we could direct our models towards different organizations that could assist them in improving their skills or applying for jobs. We are ready for this to explode into something bigger than just the three of us producing a makeover show because we really want to help others, and there is nothing better than feeling fabulous!
Back to the events.
Things started moving very fast, once we had closed the interviews. While we were trying to decide whom to choose for the pilot, we received a couple more applications, so I interviewed them closely. Finally, we had our three models. Congratulatory letters along with instructions on what they should do during the week prior to the shoot were given to the three candidates.
The search for sponsors and other volunteers was on. The newspaper article did us a world of good! The professional make-up artist, Jessica Singleton, reached out to us, offering to volunteer. She had been looking for such an opportunity, but finding people to help was difficult, since make-up is not the first thing people have in mind when they need help. Of course, we were happy to have her!
Another individual who approached us with an amazing offer was Debbie MacDonald, a Market Partner of MONAT, a private distributor of high-end hair and skincare products. She explained how MONAT loved helping their community. We loved that idea and accepted her offer as well.
While all that was happening, I started writing the script. We coordinated on Facebook using the messenger group chat so that has been extremely helpful. I know how difficult it is to coordinate any type of production work without quick and immediate access to people–it was much more difficult with just telephones or face-to-face meetings! We planned an additional screen test but Miguel and Jenny caught colds; a couple of days later, David caught a cold! We reset our meeting to this Friday, the 14th, to work out details for the shoot on Monday. We’d all keep our fingers crossed but you really can’t do very much when your fingers are crossed!
That, my darlings, is how the reality TV show, Darling, You Look Fabulous! was born. Keep posted for more postings, and you’d better believe it–we’re making PEI look fabulous, one makeover at a time!
Stay fabulous, everyone!
Photo credit: Dave Stewart of The Guardian. Photo first appeared in The Guardian, February 5, 2020 issue.