We already saw Part One of Renee’s Makeover Story, a video that captured her complete makeover journey. Today we hear from Renee herself on what she was feeling and experiencing throughout the weekend.
Continue reading on for Courtney’s interview with Renee!
MB: Everyone will want to know, so I’m going to get this question out of the way! What was your reaction when you found out you won?
RM: The last night of voting I couldn’t stop checking my email. I was scared, nervous, and anxious. Finally, I told myself, “Hey, if it’s meant to be, it will be.” I needed to enjoy the moment. The morning of, the kids and I got off to a late start, and we were rushing to get my oldest to school on time. We hurried through getting hair and teeth brushed. Just before we got loaded in the car, I picked up my phone to check my email. Terrified yet excited, I scrolled through to find an email from Model Behaviors. As I read through, tears just rolled down my cheeks.
I jumped. I laughed. I sobbed. I knew in my heart I had given my all and worked tirelessly throughout the twelve weeks even when life threw me curveballs. The kids were so confused. They asked, “Mommy, what’s wrong? Are you okay?” I told them I was great and that these were happy tears. They kind of had an idea about the contest, but after continually asking me if I was going to get a trophy and me explaining it was going to be a few weeks, they eventually stopped asking.
So after my initial shock, I called my husband. I was so choked up but beyond excited to tell him because he’s been my biggest supporter throughout this entire experience. My hands trembled, my voice cracked, and I could hardly get the words out to him. I’m pretty sure he thought some kind of emergency happened because I never call him during work.
While driving, I smiled but couldn’t help but wonder how Vange and Danielle were doing. We all worked so hard, and a big part of me wished we all could have won because we were in this together.
MB: I know what you mean. Being with everyone throughout the three months in the Comeback Circle brought us all so close, and it was bittersweet to select a “winner” when everyone had so obviously worked their butts off. What about your extended friends and family? How did they react to the news?
RM: After reaching out to my husband, I sent a group text to my immediate family—my mother, father, brothers, sisters, and sisters-in-law. I began the message with, “Hey guys, thank you so much for all your support throughout the contest. It means so much to me.” And then I said, “Guess what…”
We were all so shocked, so surprised, and just gushing with joy. Although my family is hours away and have been for the last seven years, we’ve always supported each other. Throughout the entire twelve weeks I got to visit my (extended) family twice. Though we didn’t get to spend a ton of time together, they noticed changes in me—my eating habits, my dedication to my exercise, and my overall positivity. During the time together, we talked about the contest and what we were doing at home to make changes. Because they all noticed the adjustments and were so happy for me, I know they were proud. I received several phone calls, texts, and messages via social media and was humbled by each and every one of them. I always knew my family supported me, but just to hear the words and feel the love made it that much sweeter.
MB: That is absolutely beautiful. For the coming weeks, months, and years, how do you plan to stay on track with your healthy lifestyle?
RM: I plan to keep up with My Fitness Pal. The app helps keep me accountable with what I’m consuming and allows me to have boundaries.
I’d also like to do an AdvoCare 24-Day Challenge at least twice a year. I plan on keeping up with the rigorous workout routine and am hoping to compete in one competition with the help of Marzia sometime soon, maybe the fall. It’ll be a one-and-done bucket list kind of thing, but I want to set small goals for myself from time to time to stay interested and motivated. I’m also hoping Model Behaviors creates a big Comeback Circle that can help keep me in check!
MB: We’re definitely working on that last part! But speaking of small goals and challenges, in our final video chat during the contest, you mentioned having a five-year goal of starting your own photography business, and we got to talk about it a little bit more over the makeover weekend. How do you see this happening? And what skills or knowledge have you gained from the last three months that will help you reach this goal?
RM: I’ve longed to have something for myself ever since I had my first child. With my husband’s job, we’ve moved all over the country, so I’ve been committed to staying home with our kids while putting my own career in the backseat until they were in school. It just made more sense and I’m totally fine with that. However, my kids aren’t so little anymore, and this contest has helped me cut the excuses and the guilt. It’s helped me start making time for what I’ve longed to do.
I’ve taken pictures of my kids, family members, and friends, and I have some equipment for my own business. I’ll need to piece together a few things before I can make my dream a reality. But since starting the contest, I’ve researched photography classes in my area and am committing to taking classes and starting my business this fall. I’ve also mustered up the courage to offer free sessions to my mom friends in order to gain more experience and get familiar with different families and settings. I believe this confidence in myself came from what I learned during the Mommy Makeover Contest, including my positive self-talk. I’m looking forward to staying true to my goals and myself!
MB: Holy moly, this is huge! We’re all so unbelievably excited for you to launch your own business! You have to keep us updated, and maybe come back to Dallas and do another photo shoot with us!
Okay, after that amazing announcement, we’re going to move on to the all the fun stuff from your makeover weekend! But first, would you mind sharing your hilarious and slightly terrifying adventure, getting to the airport, with everyone?
RM: Sure! The night before the contest my husband and I were on top of our game. We live an hour from the airport and I had a 6:00 a.m. flight. Our plan was to get the kids in bed early and then have everyone pile up in the van at 4:00 a.m. to see me off. Though this may sound crazy, this is only the second time I’ve ever been away from my kids overnight. Anyway, kids were in bed by 8:00 p.m. and we were patting ourselves on the back and enjoying some HGTV. I eventually got packed, and we went to bed early as well. Win-win, right?
Wrong! My oldest woke up a few hours after we were asleep, crawled in our bed, and promptly threw up all over us! After I got everyone showered, I’d begun to realize it was not a good idea to haul the kids to airport, so I called a cab and requested a pickup at 4:00 a.m. Mind you, we live out in the ’burbs and I never go to the airport. Just before 4:00 a.m. rolled around, I was exhausted but at the same time so excited to get to Dallas. I wheeled my suitcase to the front door and paced back and forth. Then it was 4:00 a.m. and no cab!
I began to panic because Chicago traffic is crazy! I called the cab and said in a very “calm” voice, “Sir, I CANNOT MISS MY FLIGHT. Are you close?” He replied that he was two minutes away. At 4:05, he pulled up and I ran to the door. I hopped in, and much to my surprise, he started driving fifteen mph under the speed limit. I was sweating—terrified that I wouldn’t make my flight. As we drove through the beautiful wooded scenery near the forest preserves at a whopping thirty miles per hour (in a 45 mph zone), he told me that his cab driver friend had gone missing and that they found his vehicle abandoned in the forest.
At that point, I was ready to jump out of the cab. But! I didn’t want to miss my flight, so I texted my husband in a hot panic and began to pry the cab driver for more information. The more questions I asked the more I understood that because the cab driver’s friend hadn’t been showing up to work, my driver had been working overtime with no sleep in twenty-four hours—sigh of relief…not!
Despite all of this, we arrived at the airport with an hour to spare and my dream of getting to Dallas for this once-in-a-lifetime experience was coming true!
MB: What a way to start the day! After you finally dropped your bags off at the hotel and got some breakfast, you arrived at Hair By Charlie. When you walked into the salon and were introduced to Rachael (May’s Woman of the Month) and Pam, how were you feeling? And did you have any expectations?
RM: I was super nervous and excited to meet the girls at Hair by Charlie. Nervous, because my hair is so thick and I have a hard time making it look presentable but excited because once I walked in the salon, everyone made me feel comfortable. The salon was like nothing I’d ever been in! It was modern with beautiful woodwork, and it smelled amazing. Everyone was so welcoming and accommodating.
MB: Not to mention the complimentary wine! That’s never a bad thing! So for your makeover, Rachael, your colorist, decided to paint in some very natural highlights, and Pam cut off a few inches while also taking away some of your immense thickness. What was your reaction when you saw your new hairstyle?
RM: Pure shock. It was hard to believe this was my hair! Rachael was able to give me a change but it looked so natural. Pam took out so much of the bulkiness in my hair and gave it volume by thinning it just right so that it wasn’t weighed down. I loved the cut, and I felt so stylish. The best part was all of the advice they gave me on how I can do little maintenance to my hair to style it. I can look cute while not having to spend so much time doing it!
MB: Your hair looks amazing, and I could definitely see that shock on your face as you saw yourself in the mirror for the first time! After the salon, we went to Mi Cocina for dinner. You and I met up with Toni, Dan, and Darlington, our advisers Marzia, Priya, and Laurie, and a couple of the Behaviorists Holly and Anne-Marie. What was it like meeting all the women you’d been working with for the past three months?
RM: I was overwhelmed with gratitude. I was so thankful to be given the opportunity to meet these women face-to-face. Everyone was so beautiful, but what I enjoyed most were the feelings each of these women gave me. They were the same feelings I felt while we were on the webinar calls—encouragement, inspiration, motivation, and positive energy. Each person gave off this great vibe and was beautiful on the inside as well as the outside. It’s so hard to describe, but what I enjoyed most was seeing how everyone added to the table. Every woman gave off her own aura and added a special element to the conversation. It was so cool to be a part of it and just to meet all of you inspirational women!
MB: You told me after I dropped you off at your hotel, your head hit the pillow and you crashed. I don’t blame you! You’d been up for almost twenty-four hours, plus you’d had a big day of traveling and meeting so many people. You handled it like a champ! The next morning at 7:30 (bright and early), I picked you up and we headed over to Toni’s house for the photo shoot. We spent the next few hours trying on clothes, getting our hair and makeup done, eating delicious food, and taking photos. What was your favorite part about the shoot?
RM: Whether it was sharing life experiences, getting dolled up, getting pampered by Joanna, admiring the beautiful clothes from Free People, or just hearing what each person had to say, it didn’t feel like a photo shoot to me. It felt more like a retreat or a weekend with great friends, almost like when you reunite with old college buddies or your best friends from home. It was so wonderful, and I walked away feeling encouraged and inspired by what each person added. I loved every moment of it!
MB: Yay! I’m so happy to hear that! Laurie gave you a lot of great advice about dressing for your body type, but what was the one thing she said that you think will stick with you when it comes to choosing the right clothes for YOU?
RM: When she said, “Girl, everything looks good on you!” It wasn’t a tip on how to dress, but it was something that I needed to hear. And to hear someone as beautiful as Laurie give such a compliment like that to me made me feel so good. I don’t think we, as women and as moms, give ourselves enough credit, but after she said that, I told myself to never forget it. And though insecurities do and will creep in from time to time, I’m always going to try and remind myself of this.
MB: Any last thoughts about the shoot, the contest, or the makeover in general?
RM: I just want to thank Toni, Model Behaviors, and all of you for everything. This was the experience of a lifetime! I wish I could have frozen time and made the feelings you all gave me last forever! You are all so wonderful and you have a great thing going. I look forward to staying in touch, seeing you all again in the future, and I hope I can someday make another person feel the way you all made me feel. I cannot thank you enough for allowing me to be a part of something so amazing! I love all of you! I’m excited to use everything I’ve learned and see what the future holds!
What an amazing way to bring our first ever Mommy Makeover Contest to a close. If you missed any of Renee’s journey, be sure you check out all of our Mommy Makeover posts and check-ins.
We’re so happy for Renee and are very excited to see her continued journey as a photographer, athletic competitor, and of course, as a mom! In a few months, we’ll check back in with Renee to see how she’s doing.
Until then, stay tuned for a very special Mommy Makeover Announcement next month!