After embracing hippie attire in the 1970s and the big hair of the ’80s, Chicago native Robin Porter described herself as a fairly “with it” dresser over the last 15 years.
But the producers of Fox’s “Ambush Makeover” had a different opinion last Thursday when a camera crew of nine surrounded Porter on East Lake Street in Wayzata.
With the cameras rolling and a boom microphone overhead, “style agent” and host Nicole Williams scrutinized the woman’s fashion faux pas and then offered her a day of beauty pampering. After a little prodding from her daughter, Porter agreed to have the show redo her hairstyle and makeup and outfit her in designer clothes.
A mother of four and grandmother of four, Porter thought the show’s premise was a little far-fetched.
“I didn’t know what to believe,” Porter said as the film crew set up at E Salon to tape her haircut. “I thought it was some kind of hoax.” She also was a little reluctant about ditching her plans to baby sit her grandson and wait for the washer and dryer to arrive at the house she just bought with her husband in Plymouth.
“It was bizarre,” Porter said of the offer. “I was going to walk.”
Based in Philadelphia and owned by 20th Century Fox, Ambush Makeover travels to different American cities and targets “fashion victims” for a whole new look. The show also uses a “set-up” format where family members can nominate each other for a makeover. Banyan Productions, best known for filming “Trading Spaces,” was in the Twin Cities filming six segments for the
show last week, while other film crews were in Chicago, New Orleans and Portland, Ore.
In addition to shooting around Minneapolis, St. Paul and Bloomington’s Mall of America, Producer Mike Snyder staked out Wayzata after doing film work there a year ago.
“Once we came here and looked around, we fell in love with it,” Snyder said. “It’s got everything we needed.”
Ambushed around II a.m.. Porter was whisked over to E Salon where stylists transformed her blond highlights to a warm golden brown shorter, textured hairstyle. The presence of a television crew generated a number of stares and a few curious passerby who stepped into the salon to see the filming.
Area businesses joined into the event by donating items for the film shoot, according to Susan Eyton, E Salon owner. Wuollet Bakery provided pastries and Indulge and Bloom donated floral arrangements, Eyton said.
“I’m really excited they kept everything in Wayzata,” Eyton said. “It’s such a charming city.”
After the new coiffure, it was up the street to Bumbershute to try on multiple outfits before opting for some new apparel by designer Roberto Cavalli. “This is really out there for me,” Porter said of the vibrant, animal-print skirt. “I never would have bought this for myself.”
The day-long transformation concluded Thursday night with dinner at Chez Foley, where Porter “revealed” her new look to family and friends. Even with the free clothing, styling and dinner, Porter said Thursday’s events weren’t likely to change her future shopping habits. “I’ll be back to my regular life tomorrow,” Porter said.
The segments taped around the Twin Cities will air locally and nationally this fall. Ambush Makeover can be seen at 1:00 p.m. Monday through Friday on Fox 9 KMSP.