'Ugly Betty' exclusive: Betty's glam new look under review at ABC

Ugly-betty-makeover_lABC is pretty serious about the extreme makeover it’s giving Ugly Betty. According to my sources, the network is going so far as to conduct a round of focus groups this week to get feedback on the heroine’s season 4 metamorphosis.

In particular, execs are showing test audiences two scenes from early in the season, both featuring a newly glamorized Betty working at her new job as Mode‘s associate features editor. In one, she’s rocking a Chanel-esque pastel pink suit; in the other, she’s sporting a short-sleeved black dress with a ruffled V-neck. “She looks a lot classier,” says one guinea pig, “but she’s still far from perfect.”

Based on ABC’s questions to the panel, the suits appear most concerned about whether fans of the show will deem Betty’s transformation appropriate, given her four-year journey from flunky to editor, or whether the changes are too drastic and compromise the essence of the Everygal. They’re also asking for opinions about Betty’s new hair, styled eyebrows, and makeup.

Whatever the outcome of the focus groups, this seems like a fine time to remind you that it was in an April interview with me that exec producer Silvio Horta first broke news of Betty’s revamp — which he said would eventually include her braces coming off. “There’s going to be a progression in her look overall,” he said. “It’ll still be Betty, but you’ll see some growth in that direction.”

Maybe they can tackle my eyebrows next.

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  • cibele

    It’s about TIME. Nobody wears braces for that longe and nobody stays the same in the course of time. People change their style, get to improve. This is human nature, to change everyday and learn.

    • Mrs M

      Agreed – people naturally change and are shaped by the environment around them. Realistically if someone worked at a fashion mag that long they would realize how ridiculous they look. But I realize that’s not the premise of this show either. GET RID OF THE BRACES!!! No one wears braces that long.

      • SirLizard

        You have obviously never worked at a fashion magazine if you think that being surrounded by stylish people will make a person who has their own style sense (or lack of style sense) change her ways by osmosis. I have seen many people throughout my life who know what looks good on others, yet they always seem to make the wrong style choices for themselves. I personally feel that it is OK for Betty to have picked up some style tips. I think that i would be wrong, though, for her to make a dramatic tasteful change abruptly. I think that it would make more sense for her to change small details here and there, then perhaps someone like Amanda or Hilda could intervene and haul her off for some professional help. By the way, my niece just got her braces off after having them on for six years. Uncommon? Yes. Unheard of? Absolutely not.

    • kate

      Actually, 4 years isn’t *that* long in braces-years. Depending on how bad the teeth are to begin with, one could be in braces for upwards of 6 years.
      I was one of those poor saps.
      Don’t make stupid generalizations.

      • cibele

        Well, Betty’s teeth are perfect by now, this is not a generalization. The show can’t be afraid to change stuff because it might change the premise of the show.

  • Kim

    This show jumped the shark when it asked us to believe that Betty (as she looked) could keep getting hot guys to fall for her….and even fight over her, lol. She also, somehow, looking as she does, and having zero fashion sense, got a job as an editor in the fashion industry. I mean, c’mon. She’s not an underdog anymore, she’s the ugly over-achiever.

    ALL of this should’ve been gradual. And she shouldn’t have had hot guys fighting over her UNTIL she had a makeover. It’s just not believable, and made it hard to relate to her.

    • Chistosa

      Wow Kim, Shallow are we? And in case you have missed the entire point of the show, beauty is not what one sees on the outside. I give men more credit than you do to see a woman for who she is. And the “hot guys” that fall for her only do so after they have known her for awhile. It is not instant attraction.

      • David

        Hear. Hear. Well said. Betty’s beauty is inside. Give the guys some credit for seeing her- not her clothes.

    • Ed

      Kim, bitter much?

    • Cardsgal

      Kim is just stating the truth. You will not find someone as “ugly” as Betty working at Vogue and/or dating modelesque guys, no matter how industrious she is.

      • David

        It’s a TV show. It’s about escapism. It’s not some reality show on TLC.

    • Scott

      I couldn’t agree more. I thought the same thing when I watched the show. The only guys she was with that made any sense were the first boyfriend(can’t remember the name) and Henry because(even though hot) was an outcast himself.

    • SirLizard

      Wow! How superficial are you? So guys can’t be attracted to a young woman who doesn’t look like she just stepped out of a magazine ad? It’s so nice that you are reinforcing the damage that the advertising industry has done to young women’s psyches and self-images. For the record, I have seen many women who most people would probably think are very unattractive paired up with very good looking men. I think that we are generally more accustomed to seeing beautiful women with doughy, physically unappealing men, but those women are often with those men for reasons pertaining to financial stability. When a more attractive man is with a less attractive woman, it almost always seems that the attraction has no such strings attached. The guy seems to really be into the woman. I think that people who are posting here really need to examine their attitudes about physical appearance. That is one of the main themes of “Ugly Betty”, but most people here seem to miss that point. Or perhaps you all were aware of that point at one time, but have somehow forgotten it. Look through these posts… Most of the ones that are the harshest, most superficial, and most critical of Betty’s appearance have been written by women.

      • donde esta henry

        i agree with kim to a certain extent. not that i think it is unrealistic that guys would fall for betty or that they would see her inner beauty or anything like that but more that she is constantly having multiple guys fight over her. the issue for betty never seems to be struggling to get a guy’s attention but more trying to decide which boy she wants. i don’t think this is realistic for anyone, never mind someone who’s beauty is just below the surface. i think my problem is less with the idea that betty is “too ugly” to have guys fall for her cause i don’t really think that is true. it is more that it is lazy writing to just introduce love triangle after love triangle and it seems unlikely anyone would find themselves in that position constantly never mind betty.

  • Scott

    This makes sense, from a character perspective, though if they go too far, they’ll have to change the title of the show.

    BTW, Michael, your eyebrows look just fine from over here. ;)

  • KarBar

    I dig the change and hope it stands. The show hasn’t jumped the shark, we just neem more Mark and Amanda scenes. Betty’s overall look was never the ‘everyday gal’ all girls can match patterns. But I understand the telenovela angle and staying true to it’s origins. Looking forward to next season now!

  • Jesse

    I disagree kim, the show is about not fitting into the mold of what ‘beauty’ really is.And what? Ugly people dont get cute guys? what kind of superficial crap is that?

  • Barb

    Well, isn’t this supposed to happen? The show is based on a Columbian soap opera and in that story, Betty completely changes her look around halfway. I know this show is a bit different, but if they are trying to stick with the idea of the original story, they should change her look and its about time too.

    • Aless

      You’re right, in the original she does get a makeover/ gets hotter. So its bout time they stop trying to make America look busted!

    • SirLizard

      In “Yo soy Betty, la fea”, they don’t change Betty’s appearance until the very end. I don’t think that the producers of “Ugly Betty” have any desire to plan their own end game any time soon. They are probably hoping to stay on the air for at least three of four more seasons.

  • Me

    agree with the sentiment that the changes to her fashion sense should have been gradual.

  • Sean

    In real life, we often see “hot” men with women we might label as “ugly” or vice versa. The show did not invent this phenomenon. These type of comments, and this way of thinking is much more telling of us as humans, than it is of a tv show. I wish this show, which has brought me 4 years of laughter and love, continued success. Period.

    • Jem

      I agree but i think it is un realistic because the show really hits the fashion industry and how shallow people can be. So the idea that all those gorgeous guys fighting over Betty is a bit much. Matt, Henry, Gio i mean come on. Henry was perfect for Betty because of their personalities and like Betty is gorgeous underneath the glasses.

  • Dirk

    Kim, her rise to editor makes sense because she’s become a features editor, meaning she won’t be writing about fashion, she’ll be writing about other subjects, like that story she did with Amanda about having a fun night in NYC for free.

  • Easter Cat

    It’s great that Betty’s getting some better outfits. Some of her old outfits were starting to hurt my eyes.
    I do need to take offense at the comments of Kim, one of the posters.
    Betty was already pretty, even without the makeover. Also, I disagree with your (misguided) belief that Betty needed a makeover before she could attract hot guys.
    For me, the premise of the show is looking beneath the surface beauty to find the inner beauty. Betty is here to show that you don’t have to be a perfectly dressed, plucked, coiffed, size 0 model to be beautiful.

    • SirLizard

      Easter Cat, thank you for being one of the few voices of reason here. I also feel that Betty’s clothes had become way too clown-like and cartoonish in the third season, but there is no need for her to turn into a fashion plate. That would be too unbelievable to me, and I would think that fans of the show would be dissatisfied with such a change. But, I can only speak for myself.

  • Sharlin

    Well, a revamped Betty is supposed to happen. Anyone who saw the novella should know in Latin America that Betty eventually becomes quite stunning.

  • Sharlin

    Well, a revamped Betty is supposed to happen. Anyone who saw the novella should know in Latin America that Betty eventually becomes quite stunning.

  • Sara

    Completely agree with first 2 posters … it was getting mighty ridiculous that all these attractive guys were falling for her (and yes, even fighting for her, sheesh!) and seemingly not noticing her over-the-top kooky fashion “sense”. Would rarely, if ever happen in the real world. If the guys dressed as kooky as her, then understandable. But they were far more clean-cut and hey, that just doesn’t play.

    After a while the clearly bizarre outfit matchups were getting too unrealistic and tiresome. No one is saying she has to eventually become yet another cookie-cutter beauty, but a tone-down in her schizo outfits is definitely in order. And the transformation doesn’t need to happen overnight either (that too would be unrealistic, so I hope ABC doesn’t go that route!).

    A spiffy new haircut would do wonders to start the gradual transformation, and as a fresh start to her newly promoted position. Actually, a great idea for an episode would be if her replacement in her previous assistant position (Jamie-Lynn Sigler) showed her up in her fashion style/overall appearance and made it look like she was the editor and Betty was still the assistant. Betty then has an epiphany where she realizes the same-old, same-old won’t work and she needs to take her appearance more seriously to mesh with her upgraded editorial position. Then the transformation could begin over a series of episodes …

  • TT

    I think it would be funny to have her try and adopt trendier looks and just not get it quite right

  • Andrew

    I’m so happy to hear about Betty’s makeover. America Ferrera is a beautiful woman so it will be nice to see her come through. Not that Betty is already “beautiful.” Although we are always attracted to looks, personality always shines through, and Betty has that in spades.

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