Westmont Magazine Real Simple Makeover
Attending a high school or college reunion can seem a little daunting. The thought of facing old friends raises a range of questions. What if I don’t know anyone? Do I have anything in common with these people? How do I look?
Jennifer Root Wilger ’91 didn’t have to worry about that last concern. Just a month before her 10th Westmont College reunion last September, she participated in a make-over sponsored by Real Simple magazine. In a whirlwind trip, she flew from her home in Lafayette, Colo., to New York City for an all-day session focused on finding just the right hair style, clothes, glasses and make-up.
It all began when she talked to her brother’s girlfriend. Amanda Hinnant, an associate editor at Real Simple, asked Jennifer if she knew anyone going to a reunion. Her answer was: “Yes, me!” Excited about the opportunity to visit New York, Jennifer agreed to let Real Simple cut her hair, give her new glasses, and make other changes.
She made only one exception. “I told them not to alter my appearance too drastically,” she recounts. “I didn’t want to scare the preschoolers I teach back home.
“Once I made the decision to do it, a fashion editor called and asked me about my style,” she continues. “I had never really thought about it before and had to come up with something on the spot.”
Jennifer and five other women in their 20s and 30s met early in the morning and went through the hectic, day-long make-over together. “It was fun hearing everyone’s stories,” Jennifer says. “They were all interesting women.”
The results appeared in Real Simple last fall, with each woman receiving a full-page picture and notes on the make-over and the choices of clothes, hair style and makeup.
Her work as a teacher guided some of Jennifer’s choices. The magazine noted that she chose casual, comfortable clothes because she rarely dresses up. She also wanted to avoid spending a lot of time doing her hair.
Not only did Jennifer have her hair cut, highlighted and styled, but she got new glasses as well, which she was allowed to keep. The hairdo lasted through three haircuts and then she decided to go with something even easier.
People at her church, First Presbyterian in Boulder, Colo., complimented her on the magazine spread, as did parents of her preschoolers. It was fun when friends saw the article and told her their reactions.
But her Westmont classmates never got a chance to see the new Jennifer. In the aftermath of Sept. 11, she didn’t make it to the reunion, which took place just a few weeks later.
Jennifer returned from New York and quickly resumed her life as a part-time preschool teacher, writer, and mother to 6-year-old Micah. Her husband, Tom ’90, owns ProdOp Corp., a company that develops software and does operations research for manufacturers.
But the next time she plans to attend a reunion, she knows exactly what to do to get ready for it.