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The Makeover

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Clone High, "Makeover, Makeover, Makeover: The Makeover Episode"

Simply put, the transformation from mundane (or ugly) to beautiful. This is a theme found in works from all over the world, though probably the best known is the "Cinderella" rags-to-riches story. The Makeover may result in a permanent change in the character, but it's just as likely they'll reform at the end of a story as they learn it's alright to Be Yourself.

The Makeover most commonly results in a change in appearance, but it has other forms. A Training Montage, for example, is a kind of makeover. The Makeover is also a major source of Character Development, as the physical transformation has an impact on the personality of the character, for better or for worse.

Frequently takes the form of a Makeover Montage, but not always.

Truth in Television, though fictional ones are generally more dramatic.

Compare Rule of Glamorous.

A Super-Trope to:


Examples (not covered in the sub tropes):


  • The Boutique public service ad from Canada is a creepy deconstruction of this.

Comic Books

  • In issue 3647 of The Beano, Dennis the Menace (UK)'s parents were surprised by Gok Wan, who offered them a makeover, to Mum's delight. The results are revealed in issue 3649, with the parents commenting that it's taken years off them. They look completely different, and Dad seems to have had a personality transplant!

Fairy Tales and Folklore

Film — Live-Action

  • Chicago: Roxie's transformation from homely housewife to "the sweetest little jazz killer in Chicago." More so in the film than the theatre production.
  • Fixing Pete: In order to make Pete presentable for a book tour, not only do they have to change his wardrobe but also improve his personality as well, as Pete is somewhat of a Manchild.
  • Mulan:
    • Mulan gets pampered and made up to be presented to the Matchmaker during "Honour To Us All".
    • She later gives herself a different makeover when she disguises herself as a man.
  • She's All That has Zack getting his sister to give Laney a makeover before going to a party with his friends.
  • A Very Cool Christmas has Lindsay spend the weeks leading up to Christmas giving the man she thinks is a mall Santa a chance at a makeover, helping him lose weight, buy new clothes and even get a haircut... only to learn on Christmas Eve that he's the real Santa. As an added bonus, while Santa was talked into doing this for his wife, he returns to the North Pole to learn that Mrs Claus has had a similar makeover by sheer chance.
  • Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
  • The Princess Diaries gives Mia a makeover before she is to make public appearances. Uniquely for this trope, Mia is a little anxious about the makeover and tries to hide the results of it in school.
  • The Wizard of Oz, during "The Merry Old Land of Oz". The Scarecrow is stuffed with new straw, the Tin Man is polished, the Cowardly Lion is groomed and Dorothy gets her hair done. The lion also gets a bow in his mane.
  • The main character of Pretty Woman, who goes from poor prostitute to classy prostitute in the span of one Shopping Montage
  • She's the Man, when Viola goes Sweet Polly Oliver.
  • Clueless has two: Tai, from uncool to hip, and Cher, from ditzy to... trying to be less ditzy.
  • Legally Blonde has Elle switch from her Valley Girl attire to more serious black business suits.
  • Mean Girls - the Plastics make Cady over to be more in line with their fashion sense. It marks the point where Cady starts Becoming the Mask.
  • My Fair Lady Eliza Doolittle gets one to blend in with the high society Londoners.
  • In the end of The Breakfast Club, Claire and Allison bond as the former gives the latter a makeover.
  • The House Bunny
  • In Circus, Lily gives Julius a makeover (accompanied by a Shopping Montage), transforming him from nerdy accountant to geek chic.
  • In Just One of the Guys, Terry (a female posing as a male) gives Rick a makeover to make him more popular.


  • Nightfall (Series): Tristan offers to give Myra a vampire makeover. She’s not amused.
  • In Murderess, Bridget and her posse give Lu one while she can’t bring herself to protest. She is horrified at the result.
  • In The Hunger Games Katniss is subjected to one of those, to pretty her up so she can attract sponsors before she fights to death in the arena. She remarks on how ironic this is. All the other tributes get them too.
  • In A Brother's Price the protagonist and his family get a makeover prior to the royal ball, to make sure they don't turn up with dirty fingernails.
  • In The Goblin Emperor, Maia gets several after arriving at the court in ill fitting, black-dyed clothes that once belonged to his cousin. First, he gets proper mourning clothes befitting a not-yet emperor, then there's the coronation for which he has to wear all the jewels. And rings. And earrings. And, of course, the crown.


  • In Jemjammer, Cacophony insists on doing hair and nails for her companions before the Space Prom. It's more this for Aelfgifu than Jylliana, as Aelfgifu has no real concept of fashion, has never conditioned her hair, and only bathes occasionally.

Reality TV

  • There exists a whole genre of reality shows all about making over unattractive people, ranging from extreme (including orthodontic and plastic surgery) to the more moderate wardrobe makeover.
    • Extreme Makeover (outstripped by its spin-off, Extreme Make Over Home Edition)
    • What Not to Wear
    • Trial By Jury
    • How to Look Good Naked
    • Tim Gunn's Guide to Style, though Tim Gunn is unusual in that he gives advice on how to work with his makeover target's figure, and also tries to help them get past whatever it is that causes them to dress horribly in the first place.
    • Queer Eye For The Straight Guy used to do this, and America's Next Top Model has a makeover episode every cycle.
    • 10 Years Younger was on the tame side of these, focusing more on fashion, make-up and hairstyle choices - while keeping cosmetic surgery to a minimum.
    • Snog, Marry, Avoid? is an inversion. Titled a "make-under show", it involves people with elaborate looks being persuaded to tone down the make-up, fake tan etc.
    • Changing Rooms applied this philosophy to peoples' houses. Whilst the hapless householders were on holiday, a team of designers would settle like locusts and re-do the place from top to bottom.
    • Ground Force and its sucessor shows did this to peoples' gardens. Perfectly innocent and inoffensive gardens were improved, often with decking.


  • Cinderella (Lloyd Webber): The Fairy Godmother's transformation of Cinderella, rather than magic, is primping her and dressing her up to be conventionally attractive like the rest of Belleville.
  • Hairspray, Tracey and Edna in "Welcome to the Sixties".
  • Annie: Little orphan Annie in "I Think I'm Gonna like It Here".
  • Legally Blonde: Male example with Emmett Forrest in "Take It Like A Man".

Video Games

  • There exists an entire genre of online makeover games in which your goal is to make a homely girl beautiful with beauty products, makeup, and fashionable clothes. This genre has become well-known enough for at least one game to parody it by inverting the basic premise so that you're making a pretty girl ugly instead by fattening her up with junk food, drilling holes into her teeth, irritating her skin with bad creams, and dressing her in dirty and tattered clothes. Fortunately for the poor girl, this "makeover" turns out to be All Just a Dream.
  • Delightfully spoofed in Magical Makeover. The protagonist uses a variety of magical cosmetics to beautify herself for a ball that wind up having unexpected side effects like transforming her into a plant person, giving her an insect-like proboscis for a mouth, or covering her entire body in pink crystal scales. They still make her "beautiful" enough to earn a Magic Mirror's approval, though, which is what ultimately matters!

Visual Novels

  • Although she was never remotely ugly, the title character of Melody gets a makeover to cement her rockstar image when she signs a contract with Sharp Records.

Web Original

  • Parodied in "American Whoopee". The popular girl offers to give her "plain jane" friend one. It consists of a cut and a chair spin which reveals her to look exactly the same. They both smile proudly.

Western Animation

  • The Cookie Carnival: The Cookie Girl receives one from a Hobo cookie so she could enter as a participant in the beauty parade.
  • Family Guy: One episode involves Meg getting a makeover and becoming the lead singer of her Family Band.
  • Inside Job (2021), "Whoas-Feratu":
  • The Makeover:
    • First lampshaded: Reagan complains that fashionable and trendy Gigi is always trying to give her a makeover.
      Gigi: Why does Banksy make art on boring walls? The challenge.
    • Then inverted: to look invisible on a red carpet, Reagan gives Gigi a makeunder (gives her frumpy hair and clothes).
  • Sabrina: The Animated Series: One episode subverts this. In an effort to make her cousin Norma to at least 'look' less embarrassingly weird Sabrina attempts to make her over. It's an absolute success....until Norma's hair springs right back into its bizarre style. No further attempts are made and she goes back to her original weird style.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: "The Spy Humongous": Boimler gets one from the Redshirts to make him look more captain-like, gaining a slicked-back hairdo and a fresh tailoring job on his uniform that makes him look way more muscular — mostly, though, it just looks absurd. He's restored to his usual look after making the almighty mess in the dining hall.
  • The Weekenders:
    • When Tish lands a role on a teen TV show, Carver convinces her to make herself over now that she's a celebrity.
    • Lor gets a Girliness Upgrade when she hears a boy likes her.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Makeover


A Sweet Makeover (The Cookie Carnival)

The hobo cookie giving one of these to the cookie girl (who was already kind of cute) so she can enter in the parade with a presentable look.

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