A group of nine lucky Skokie kindergarten teachers were transformed into supermodels for a day last month, when the women were featured on a “Teacher Appreciation Day” segment on the talk show “Steve Harvey.”
The Chicago-based syndicated show, which airs this afternoon on NBC, gave makeovers to a group of close friends who work together at School District 69’s Madison Elementary School.
The show’s producers sent the teachers to the spa for a full day of head-to-toe royal treatment before they revealed their new looks to a studio audience during the show’s taping on Aug. 27.
Hair was snipped — and in some cases chopped — then colored and volumized by a team of stylists at Salon Buzz in Chicago. Then, the teachers (who range in age from their late 20s to early 40s) were outfitted with new clothes, jewelry and accessories in line with fall trends chosen by the Steve Harvey show’s style director, Earl Nicholson.
“We had no say in what they did to us — it was ‘here you go, this is your body type so let’s make this work for you,’” said Erin Pollyea-Lane, a 33-year-old teacher and mom of two who has been teaching kindergarten at Madison School for eight years. “We all really loved what we ended up with at the end of the show, and the best part was getting to keep the outfit.”
It was a surreal experience for the women, who were whisked away to the taping of the Steve Harvey show in Chicago via a limousine that was waiting for them outside of the school after the second day of school ended.
The cameras were rolling as the women stepped out onto the set to show their “before” looks to the studio audience, or what teacher Lauren Stovel refers to as their “teacher looks.”
Backstage, the teachers were transformed by teams of stylists. Led by “New York Live” cohost and stylist Lilliana Vazquez, the professional beautifiers swarmed all over the ladies, working quickly to apply makeup, get their hair TV ready and dress them in trendy fall ensembles to prepare for their post-makeover revelations.
Stepping out onto the stage to show-off their head-to-toe makeovers was a moment none of the women will ever forget, Pollyea-Lane and Stovel said.
“They chopped a lot of my hair off and gave me copper highlights with a beautiful brown color all over,” Pollyea-Lane said. “It was very fun to hear the reactions when we walked out.”
Pollyea-Lane, known as the one in the group who wears stripes almost every day, had the most dramatic makeover out of all the women, Stovel said.
“They put her in a hip outfit and she looked amazing — very stylish,” Stovel said. “We were only used to seeing her in stripes.”
The fairytale experience began with a casual email Stovel sent to an old friend she hadn’t talked to in years who had posted on Facebook that “Steve Harvey” was looking for teachers for a makeover segment.
A few weeks later, Stovel was contacted by the show’s producer, who thought the ladies fit the bill, and they were booked for the show.
“I sent the email but I didn’t think we’d ever get picked,” Stovel said. “It was like an out-of-body experience — the whole thing was so crazy and chaotic, it was hard to believe it happened.”
At the very end of the show, Steve Harvey surprised the teachers with a gift for the Madison School, which will be revealed when the show airs Sept. 20.
The ladies, who haven’t seen the show yet, will be in class when the show airs Friday, but they planned a viewing party for Monday night when they’ll watch themselves on TV for the first time together.
“I love that we were able to do this together,” Pollyea-Lane said. “We’re more like family than colleagues, so I know we’ll talk about this for years.”