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10 Years Younger revisited

If the ageing process has steamed ahead leaving you looking a good deal older than your actual age, or if your body’s light years from being bikini ready, who do you turn to? Nicky Hambleton-Jones, that’s who. We catch up with four women whose looks, and lives, have been transformed by Nicky and her team of experts…

Ruth Howard, 35, from Leicester

‘I wanted to get rid of my excess skin and learn about clothes’

‘In July 2005, I had gastric bypass surgery to try and shift some of my 19st 9lb frame. I was a dress size 24 at the time.

‘I knew with that much weight to lose, I wasn’t going to end up with the body of Claudia Schiffer. So the loose skin was expected. But living with it was another thing altogether.

‘As the weight came off my skin just got worse and worse. It went from appearing like hanging rolls, to looking like very loose wrinkles. My torso was the main area affected but it was the stuff nightmares are made of – it was just disgusting. I decided

I just wasn’t going to live with it forever. And that’s when I applied to be on 10 Years Younger . I’d lost 81⁄2 stone by then and I’d had enough of my loose skin and my floppy, bits. By the time I’d been accepted for the show, about 18 months later, I’d lost a further 11⁄2 stone and was a dress size 10.
‘I began my transformation in February this year when I went in for surgery. ‘I had a circumferential body lift, which is when they cut from hip-to-hip all the way around your body, remove the skin and literally chuck it in the bin! I also had a boob uplift and my unsightly varicose veins were removed.

‘When I came round, I was really excited. I was also very swollen, which was expected. But despite that, I could see the difference straight away. It was just amazing. And I was so excited about my tummy button; I’d never been able to see it before.

‘But I had one more hurdle to overcome – I was still scared of clothes. Having been so large, I’d only ever shopped in certain shops. And because my varicose veins had been so bad I’d always worn trousers. I didn’t really have a clue about what suited my new body shape. Also, with a gastric bypass, you lose the weight in a very short space of time. At one point, I was going down a clothes size a month – my head didn’t adjust to my new size as quickly as my body. So, suddenly, there was a whole new world of a very big high street. It was quite overwhelming and I needed help.

‘I think that’s where the styling on the show is key. Because I still tended to wear quite baggy, hide-away clothes, Nicky hit the nail on the head when she told me that I associated tight, well-fitting clothes with being large. Because when you’re large you’re just so constricted all the time. She was so right, wearing anything that was tight, made me feel fat. Being on the show gave me the ability to try different things without being frightened of them. I’m living in a completely different world to the one I was in two years ago.

It’s much nicer and I’m a 100 times more confident than I used to be. I feel a lot happier in myself. ‘For me, 10 Years Younger has enabled me to do things that I really did want to do. I’ve quit my job, working for a charity.

I’m writing my first novel. And I’ve started my coaching business. It’s brilliant and totally unexpected. But I just think there’s nothing to hold me back now. I’m just going to do it.’

The final verdict?
Poll age:
49 (before makeover)
33 (after makeover)

Terri Wardner, 50, from Southampton

‘I looked really old but I felt so young’

‘My daughter Sam, 30, put me forward to appear on the show. I always watched it and used to say, “Why couldn’t that be me.”

‘I was only coming up to 50, but I felt I looked about 60-something. But inside, I still felt 30 or 40. The thing was, when I looked in the mirror, it wasn’t me. I just looked really old, but I felt so young. ‘My face didn’t suit the person that was inside. It soon got to the point where I just didn’t want to go out in public any more.

Going to work was one thing but I didn’t like to be seen at parties, attend weddings or any events, because of the way I looked.

‘When I went for a consultation to see Jan, the surgeon on 10 Years Younger, he told me that he wouldn’t usually have done the surgery that he was proposing to do on me. Normally at 50 you wouldn’t need that amount of work.

‘A date for the surgery was set for September 2006. It took about 41⁄2 hours in all for the team to do a brow lift, my eyes – top and bottom – a full face-lift, a chemical peel and plump up my lips. I stayed in overnight but came home the very next day.

‘Surprisngly, it wasn’t painful at all, and I’d do it all again tomorrow. The only niggles were the tightening and the horrendous look when the chemical peel started to come off. Especially when you’re sat on a train and it falls off into your coffee, because you’re not allowed to touch it, which is exactly what happened! Everyone was staring at me, and I just looked at them, smiled and shrugged my shoulders.

‘I also went to see Dr Surinder Hundle for my teeth. I already had false teeth, but they were very ill-fitting – I could never enjoy a meal properly. Surinder gave me ceramics on my original remaining teeth. And then he had a new set of false ones made, which were bigger and a different shape, so they fit much better. It felt very strange but wonderful.

‘Then there was my hair. I had very coarse, naturally curly hair, which grows outwards, so it was a mess. When the team took me to see top stylist Andrew Barton, I was a bit worried. Because although my hair was a mess, I am very particular about how it is cut. But I was amazed at the result – it still looks fantastic.

‘At the final reveal, my older sister, who hadn’t seen me through the whole process, said she would have walked past me in the street. That’s how different I looked. And I now go out with my daughters again. But they have to go out one at a time because I won’t babysit – I want to go out as well. It’s a wonderful feeling.

‘The icing on the cake was getting married to my partner of 34 years, Tony, 63. I hadn’t wanted to tie the knot before because I just didn’t look good. Happily, on 5 May this year we took the plunge and I felt fantastic. My life’s better than ever.’

The final verdict?
Poll age:
64 (before makeover)
40 (after makeover)

Salena Newport, 40, from Oxfordshire

‘I just wanted to look in the mirror and see me’

‘I’d had weightloss surgery back in May 2005. At my heaviest, I’d been 231⁄2 stone. A gastric band was fitted and I’d lost 121⁄2 stone, and as a result of that I was left with a lot of loose skin. And I just wanted to get rid of it.

‘When I first applied to 10 Years Younger, I wasn’t aware of the summer special episode as opposed to the regular show. But about three days after I sent off my application, I received a phone call from the show. They said my face didn’t look too old, and they thought I would make a good candidate for the summer special.

‘I didn’t even own a bikini, but because they wanted photographs of me in a bikini, off I went to Tesco and spent £4 on a pink number. And it turned out to be the best investment I ever made. The next morning, I waited till everyone had gone out the house, and I put the camera on timer. I couldn’t even get my husband Geoff, 40, to take the photographs, I was that horrified with my body shape!

‘As a result of the weightloss, my face had slimmed down but my nose hadn’t. Although it was never massive, it just looked out of proportion. And it was quite masculine. So they decided I’d have my nose done. I also had my teeth done and my boobs were lifted and enhanced from size 36B to 36D. Plus I had my arms done, a full lower-body lift and a thigh lift.

‘The surgeries were meant to be carried out on the same day. But when it came to it, I had acid reflux and because of the stress of it all, my insides just seized up and no food would go through. So the food was just sitting there in my stomach. Horror of horrors, back it all came, and I inhaled a load of it. The anaesthetist flushed out my lungs with saline and I had an X-ray. Everything was fine, but they did think it would be a bit much to go ahead and with full op. So, while I was out of it, they decided to do the least traumatic work – my nose, arms and teeth. The remaining procedures were done six weeks later. ‘I knew it wouldn’t be a breeze but

my transformation was never about making my life into something wonderful, because I’ve got a nice life. It was just purely the physical aspect of all the loose skin. Dr Sanek, the show’s surgeon did a fantastic job on that. And I couldn’t have asked for more. I didn’t lose any weight as a result of it – but at least I didn’t have to tuck it all in a baggy jumper, like I used to!

‘All I ever wanted was to be able to look in the mirror and see the real me looking back. And that’s what happened. I looked in the mirror and there I was, smiling back. It just hit me and I thought, “Yeah that’s me”.’

The final verdict?
Poll age
51 (before makeover)
37 (after makeover)

Linda Strallen, 57, from London

‘A little nip and tuck makes a big difference’

‘I had quite deep wrinkles, and they made me look pretty awful. Having watched the show regularly, I thought, I might as well apply and see what happens. After I applied, I was auditioned fairly quickly. Then I didn’t hear anything for what seemed a long while and I’d almost forgotten about it. Suddenly out of the blue I received a call to say I’d been selected, which was very exciting!

‘My face was the main focus of the surgery. I had a brow lift and the bags around my eyes taken away. I had my teeth done – ceramic veneers were put on my upper teeth. And I had laser eye surgery, which was just fantastic. I’d been wearing glasses for reading for about 15 years, and then suddenly my distance vision started to deteriorate. So I had to wear bifocals all the time. I was so happy when I found out they were going to correct my vision.

‘After the surgery on my face, I was badly bruised around my eyes. Although it was totally expected, it was still quite a shock to see it. But there was no pain at all, absolutely none whatsoever, which I’m still quite amazed by. And the stitches above and under my eyelids were absolutely minute, just incredibly discreet.

‘It took three or four weeks for the bruising to fade, but as it cleared up I could see the improvements every day. And then you almost forget about it yourself. It’s only when somebody else sees you and they say, “Oh my God you’re really bruised around your eyes!” And you think, “No I’m not, I look wonderful”.

‘The show helped me a lot with my hair and make-up as well as general styling. My hair was basically white, dead white, so I was happy for them to do something different. The stylist, Andrew Barton coloured it, put in some fabulous streaks and cut it quite short. It looked really fantastic. And Ruby Hammer was just brilliant. As she does your make-up she tells you how to do it and what to use. And you just look stunning after she’s worked her magic.

‘My new look is slightly smarter than before, and I kept being told how much younger I looked so I was determined not to let all that teamwork go to waste. These days I make much more of an effort and dress more smartly, instead of just going out in a pair of jeans and trainers, like I used to do.

‘I wear make-up every day. And I try and get my hair done regularly. I’ve still got it in the same style that Andrew gave me, but instead of having the whole head coloured, I’m just having highlights put in.

‘Being on the show was a great experience and I had such fun. I really, really did.

I didn’t feel fearful about the fact that I was going to have major surgery. Probably because I knew it wasn’t going to alter me that drastically. I was going to end up looking the same – only much better. Having a little nip and tuck does make a big difference. It really, does. I’d recommend it to anyone.
It’s definitely worth it.’

The final verdict?
Poll age
65 (before makeover)
44 (after makeover)

Photography Nicky Johnston

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