First, congrats to Dylan Gold, the winner of this year's Million Dollar Makeover (MDM), pictured here with host Clinton Kelly and Macy's Chief Marketing Officer, Martine Reardon. If you caught the show last week, you know that we had three totally incredible finalists competing to win. Before the winner was announced (yes, I was in the dark too), I was lucky enough to talk to all three about their experiences, from how they interacted with their mentors to the best makeover moments and beauty advice they received from the seriously skilled staff of Estee Lauder Artists.
Dylan Gold, our $1 million winner, is exceptionally grateful to his parents. With a mom that was an artist and a "tech guy" dad, he credits their direct support with helping him to grow his successful furniture business - Dylan Gold Designs.
Best mentor advice:
My mentor was Sheila Bridges and she's amazing. I have a lot of ideas and Sheila really helped me see the importance of staying focused. I'll definitely reflect on her advice going forward.
His take on grooming:
I'm like one step above a caveman. [My fave quote of all the interviews!] During the makeovers I just knew there were a lot of professionals there and I should trust what they were doing, but I definitely felt like an outsider when it came to products and stuff.
The biggest change for me was the haircut. I didn't know you could get a cut like this. I'd like to maintain it, and I'll probably try putting a little pomade in my hair before a client meeting. [To me, the fact that he used the word pomade means that there's hope for "cavemen" everywhere.] I also loved that they'd massage my face with lotion every day. It was really relaxing and I started to look forward to that.
Words of wisdom from Clinton Kelly:
Clinton was great and he really helped me out. I'm not shy, but I was totally nervous about presenting to the judges. He said that I needed to evaluate my nerves on a scale of 1 to 10. Anything above a 5 means that your nerves are interfering with what you need to do. It doesn't sound like much, but it made sense to me. It's kind of like you need to do a mental check of what you're feeling, and if you're nerves are over a 5 you better find a way to pull yourself together. He also gave me tips on how to take a good picture - put your chin down and forward, place your tongue on the roof of your mouth, and smile with your eyes. You can also look down and then look up right before the picture is taken so it's very natural.
Fave MDM memory:
Probably when the crew came to my hometown and started shooting for the show because it was an experience that I got to share with my family and girlfriend. [So sweet! And since Dylan couldn't tell me that he won, I'm going to go out on a limb and say if I talked to him today he might also say that winning $1 million dollars was pretty great too!]
Pat Pilla has been going through a transformation for the past four years. After losing more than 200 pounds, she decided to bring her love of sweets to the masses, creating Chee'Bonnets. Chee'Bonnets offers portion-controlled, chocolate-covered cheesecake balls so that everyone can indulge and satisfy their taste buds. Ummm, sign me up!
Best mentor advice: Having judges like Marcus Samuelson and Martha Stewart, and a mentor like Matt Lewis of Baked was overwhelming and also a dream come true. They're all stars and they were eating something I made!
Matt helped me to see my product in a different way. By re-arranging the space like a jewelry store, it presented my Chee'Bonnets as luxury products. That was a really great piece of advice that will definitely stick with me.
Her makeover moments:
It's surreal thinking about the whole process. The biggest change for me was my hair going from dark to lighter. I didn't believe it was me! And I've always loved makeup, but I definitely picked up some tips. My favorite - they showed me how applying white eyeliner can really open your eyes and make you look awake. I rushed out to purchase that Estée Lauder eyeliner right after the show!
Fave MDM memory: All of it! Regardless of the outcome, we're all winners. You can't buy this experience and I'm so thankful for it. It pushes me to keep going. If there were one thing I would share, it's to tell everyone to do what you love. You have to work for the rest of your life, so you might as well enjoy it! And no matter what, don't let anyone stop you.
Katie Selman is one busy lady! In addition to being a U.S. Army wife and mother of 5, she also has a full-time job as a Project Manager and is starting a foundation to foster underage puppies and kittens until they're old enough for adoption. Knowing all of this, it's hard to believe she also had the time to start Sweet Athena, her line of eco-friendly clutches that include an LED light built in so you can always see inside your handbag. Genius! I also love that she stumbled across MDM as she was shopping for sweaters on Macys.com. See, you just never know where an online shopping trip might lead you...
Best mentor advice: My mentor was Tracy Resse. I just love her, and she gave me such great advice. I had 20 different designs and liked something different about each one of them. She helped me to see the importance of having a more focused collection, and we scaled it back to five key clutches.
Her makeover moments: I already had a full beauty routine, but the biggest change for me was also my hair. I had long blonde hair and really didn't want to have it cut. The stylist showed me this picture of Cameron Diaz and said that if I hadn't changed my hair in the past 10 years then I wasn't really living. I thought about that for a minute, and they were right. We cut it off, and I love it!
I got such great advice from Blair Patterson too, the makeup artist for Estee Lauder. He taught me how to do the cat-eye liner from Mad Men, which I absolutely love! The makeup artists were like our therapists. I still wish I could have taken Blair home with me.
Fave MDM memory: I really loved when Tommy Hilfiger shared the story about starting his business and talked about selling jeans out of his car. That just shows that you can do anything if you put your mind to it.
Congrats again to our three finalists. I hope their stories offer some inspiration to all of you. If you want to experience a makeover moment of your own, I have some exciting news to share. Estee Lauder has teamed up with Macy's to do 1 million in-store makeovers. Just visit an Estee Lauder counter at Macy's and let them work their magic. You're sure to leave feeling like a million bucks!