UPDATE: Susan Boyle does the inevitable - Macleans.ca

UPDATE: Susan Boyle does the inevitable

A little tweezing and dying for the Britain’s Got Talent star


090423_boyleUPDATE: If the international media was scrutinizing your eyebrows with the sort of zeal that used to attend discussion of the arms race, maybe you’d do something about it. And so, despite Britain’s Got Talent contestant Susan Boyle’s proclamations that she wouldn’t change the way she looked, she has changed her hairdo, bought some new clothes and tended to her unibrow.   According to The Daily Mail, producers at Britain’s Got Talent are “frantic” about Boyle’s “make-over,” reporting: “they wanted to preserve her unique looks for the live finals.” Really? That seems difficult to believe. After all, the sexist discussion over Boyle’s appearance has brought the program priceless publicity. As has this latest minor “makeover” which no doubt will be analyzed with forensic precision. What was once an inspirational story has, sadly, turned to farce.


Susan Boyle: Don’t call it a make-over  (April 21, 2009)

Susan Boyle's new lookSince Susan Boyle’s audition on Britain’s Got Talent made her the world’s newest instant celebrity, the media has been in a relentless tizzy over whether the 48-year-old should submit to a “make-over.” That’s because unlike many women her age—most notably the two years’ older Madonna—Boyle doesn’t appear preoccupied with combating the realities of aging: she’s had no cosmetic surgery, no hair colouring, no tooth-whitening, no Botox; there are no two-hour-long daily workouts with a trainer. Nor does she seem concerned about being au courant in her clothing or hair style.  Which of course makes Boyle a freak within a culture conditioned by countless make-over shows that churn out anodyne simulacrums of conventional beauty.

Britain’s Got Talent host Amanda Holden, who herself is beautiful, tanned, and made-over, told British newspapers that the minute Boyle changed the way she looked was the moment “it’s spoilt,” suggesting the singer’s value and record sales are linked to the fact that she’s a physical curiosity.  Washington Post’s Pulitzer Prize-winning fashion critic Robin Givhan wrote that though it’s “politically correct” to say Boyle doesn’t need a make-over, a minor renovation was in order. Givhan counseled the singer to avail herself of flattering frocks sent by designers, “eye-brow arching and a smart new haircut.” The make-over need not be drastic, she wrote—not the “Extreme Makeover version but the Tim Gunn or What Not to Wear version.”  Jezebel.com weighed in that it would be “creepy” for Boyle not to alter her look slightly given the demands placed on all performers; she needn’t be “transformed” but “polished,” the Web site opined, noting: “To deny her that would be a grave injustice, and anything less would be, at this point, artificial.”

Boyle herself says she has no intention of changing the way she looks. As she told the Times of London in an interview last Saturday: “Why should it matter as long as I can sing? It’s not a beauty contest,” she said, expressing a view that reveals a refreshing naiveté about modern star-making machinery.

Of course, many can’t wrap their minds around the fact that a woman who appears so unworldly and mousy could possibly possess such confidence and independence of mind. So desperate was the British scandal sheet Daily Mail for a Boyle make-over that it made one up today, with the headline: “And you said you wouldn’t change, Susan Boyle! Britain’s Got Talent star shows off her new look.” According to the paper, the Scottish singer had “swapped her matronly look for a new, patterned dress and leather-look jacket, along with a pair of high heels.” Yet the accompanying photographs of Boyle wearing a PVC jacket and bright dress hardly suggest the intervention of a stylist.

Boyle said she didn’t rule out the idea of a make-over later on. “For now I’m happy the way I am—short and plump,” she told the Times. I would not go in for Botox or anything like that,” adding: “What’s wrong with looking like Susan Boyle? What’s the matter with that?” It’s an excellent question, if only because its answer suggests that it’s not Susan Boyle who’s in need of that make-over.


UPDATE: Susan Boyle does the inevitable

  1. ““What’s wrong with looking like Susan Boyle? What’s the matter with that?” It’s an excellent question, if only because its answer suggests that it’s not Susan Boyle who’s in need of that make-over.”

    Indeed! Well said, Susan

    How sad is it that a normal-looking person, which most of us are, is currently considered to be a ‘physical curiosity’.

  2. Hold on tight Ms Boyle. You are now caught in a spinning web of media madness. Every news group in the world is looking for a fresh take on this story and will soon exhaust itself.
    No makeovers. No image consultants. No managers, handlers or press agents. Your best bet in surviving this whirlwind is to not change a damn thing.

  3. Hello to all,
    Singers, actressess, actors, and show business people.
    It’s time to hide under a rock and meditate for a long while.
    You have seen beauty and talent in Susan Boyle and it scares you!
    You just CANNOT accept it and it hurts you.
    In your world, everything has to be beautilful, slim, nothing like Susan, and now it’s killink you all.
    Movie makers just see a bunch of money in this lady, no respect, no admiration!
    Everybody is out for the kill, no matter the cost, no matter the consequences.
    Susan Boyle is just that! No need to use fancy electronic equipment, no lip singing.
    This amazing talented person is everything and she showed it to you all.
    Beauty and talent in not measured in calories or fashion, nor in hairstyles and fancy cars.
    Finally, have a little respect and bow to Susan Boyle, she has shown the world the meaning of beauty!

    • 100% I AGREE.. : ))))

  4. Let her be. She’s following a dream not a contract with Hollywood, though they are no doubt trying. They dislike her because she’s become popular for being well normal but damned talented. It scares them. Imagine an entire industry of extreme cosmetics gone because people started to secure about themselves or at least to the point where a light freshen up and daily walk will do.
    Let her enjoy the moment and sing.

  5. Go, Susan, go! Change nothing!

  6. That’s not your mother, it’s a man, baby!!

  7. i disagree. its so fashionable to say “oh, she should stay the way she is.” But honestly, why should she? We admire her because she signgs beautifully, right? Well, she has a vocal coach and loads of god given talent and she is exceptional when it comes to her signing. We admire her because she is exceptional, she has worked hard and she has done her best which just happen to be more incredible than almost anybody’s best. but even though she may not have been born a great beauty, why should she strive to look her best? I don’t see anything wrong with striving to be your best, whether its singing or in your chosen occupation or in her looks. I’m not saying she should get plastic surgery, or she should have a make over forced on her if she doesn’t want it. Just that her whole mentality is wrong. A person should always strive to do their best in everything. Otherwise we’d still be living in caves, satisfied with things just the way they are.

  8. She’ll do whatever she wishes. Not what the media or anyone else wishes.

  9. What a strange world we are becoming. Why is this even a story – the story should be an amazing new talented singer discovered… case closed … period .. instead the story is that a woman who is not considered beautiful by current standards has an amazing voice – is it only me or doesn’t this smack of a complete loss of integrity and character on those that make this a story. It’s like commenting on what a woman polticial leader is wearing? where does this come from I wonder and more to the point isn’t it a very sad commentary on the nature of so called modern culture. Marshall MacCluhan was absolutley right the medium has become the message.

  10. I hope that sociologists somewhere are busy studying the unprecedented global outpouring of support for Mrs. Boyle. There are some lessons to be learned here.

  11. IMHO, she looked better before. She had grit, she looked like she could kick your ass; that’s not unattractive. Now she looks rather ordinary and, frankly, I could take her. But I have a feeling we’ve not seen the last of Ms. Boyle’s personal journey.

  12. I seeing nothing wrong with a new hairdo & brow tweezing to enhance one’s self. Susan was looking much older than her actual age & a little change is alright – it’s not like she was having plastic surgery.
    She has a beautiful voice, that is what attracted her to us & will continue to do so. Looking forward to hearing more music from this talented women. Be true to yourself Susan.

  13. Every woman deserves to look her best if she so choses. It’s not like she had cosmetic surgery to enhance her lovely, gentle features – just a slight makeover. Makes most woman feel better about themselves when they have been pampered. She already has all the confidence in the world so keep on improving your God given beauty Susan. You deserve it.

  14. This morning a CBC commentaator called Miss Boyle’s eybrows “caterpillers”. These comments by professional newscasters are way out of line. Haven’t the media “reelers” got the insight to cover the real story: a lovely voice – one that will bring pleasure to many many more people has been identified. Now let’s hear more of THAT voice and less of such superifical “analysis”

  15. Let’s not get all bent out of shape over a few minor tweaks. This is not a makeover of the kind we are accustomed to seeing that dramatically changes someone’s appearance so that they are barely recongizeable. Boyle is still Boyle, not unattractive before the changes, just ordinary; she still looks rather ordinary.

  16. omg… she went to a hairstylist a few miles down from her house and got a hair cut. and now half the people are having a fit! are you kidding me? can’t a woman get a cut? why can’t she choose to take care of herself? leave her alone people. she just wants to look her best on tv. its so normal, its not even funny.

  17. Susan Boyle is beautiful inside and out. Susan has a wonderful voice and is a gift to this world. You are an international star. Canada loves you. The world needs you.

    Susan the world loves you. You are beautiful, gracious, and lovely. Your singing brought tears tour eyes. We felt joy and hope in this troubling time.

  18. Susan Boyle won our hearts in Canada.  We look forward to watching her on Britain’s Got Talent.  In addition, we will buy her cds.  

    God bless Susan Boyle.  Susan, you give the people of the world hope, happiness, and joy, in this difficult economic time.

  19. You know someone’s got it in order when they wear Burberry.

  20. All she had done is tidy up a bit, and pay a little attention to herself. We ladies (of her age) tend to stay with the status quo, not with neglect, but rather lack of inspiration. If Susan’s new found celebrity status has inspired her to pamper herself……You Go Girl ! !

  21. Holden is right, it was Boyle’s frumpy look, followed by a surprisingly immaculate voice, that did the trick. There are lots of great singers on these shows, it was Boyle’s look that was the difference.

  22. The lady does polish up rather nicely.

  23. Everyone’s crazy. It wasn’t her “look” that got the attention, it was her odd manner (never been kissed etc.) Since when do we assume ugly people have bad voices? We’re not THAT stupid. Media just wants to spin an appearance prejudice thing because it’s simpler.

  24. I do hope she has competent management and legal advise. Imagine the made for her Stage play / movie of an unknown’s rise to fame with original soundtrack of course. Webber! Mackintosh! Are you listening?


  26. This is a case of “You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all the people all the time”. No matter what Susan does, there will be someone who complains, disagrees and discusses it. I think Susan should do what makes her comfortable and happy. If she prefers remaining dowdy, so be it. She’s gotten this far like that. But if she feels better about a little fix up, go for it girl!! Personally, I like the change. I also don’t think she should worry too much about how far she goes on the talent show. She’s made her mark and accomplished her goal already – to become a singing sensation. I’m just going to sit back and eagerly await her first cd and enjoy that beautiful voice.

    • i definitely agree with you, dear!!!! her voice is amazingly “celestial”!!!!! PRAISED GOD!!!!

  27. Sing Susan, Sing! That’s really all we want from you.

  28. Britian has Susan Boyle canada has Retta McNiel both unusual but boy can they sing. Proof that beauty come from within.

  29. Your voice Susan is angelic, your new look is nicely done. I just wish you could have some earnest guidance about "what not to talk about" as the media are always looking for someone to tear apart. I wish you much success and the courage to turn a deaf ear to any negative comments.

  30. Susan may have stated she wouldnt change her look but she is a woamn and we can change our minds. right. I think she looks great and i loved her as she was before. I think everyone has the right to polish themselves if they like and feel good about themselves without having to answer to a single soul. your rock susan!!

  31. Susan may have stated she wouldnt change her look but she is a woamn and we can change our minds. right. I think she looks great and i loved her as she was before. I think everyone has the right to polish themselves if they like and feel good about themselves without having to answer to a single soul. your rock susan!!

  32. you are beautiful inside and out!! and that voice. pure magic!