The CW's new makeover reality series Plain Jane may be focused on changing hair colors and trying a new shade of lipstick, but the series' host and producer insist the series is hardly skin deep.
"It was very much about the inside more than the outside," host Louise Roe tells TVGuide.com "The fashion [and] the beauty are all part of it, but really getting through the mental barriers was the important part."
Breaking through those mental barriers — whether caused by the high standards put forth by fashion magazines, or criticism from family and friends — were essential to each woman's head-to-toe transformation, Roe says. "They have to get through that and they have to cry and talk to me and open up. And in some cases, [they] scream and shout to get it out, so it became very cathartic," she says.
That ability to relate also proved an important factor for the producers, who made sure to find girls of all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds in their search for each episode's focal point. In Wednesday's episode (9/8c), Roe counsels an aspiring writer and recent Hollywood transplant who's hoping for a second chance after an awkward first date. "The makeover is extraordinary," executive producer Amy Palmer Robertson says. "She's unrecognizable."
However, this show isn't just about winning Mr. Right. "There's one scene where they face their biggest fear ... and whether that's jumping out of an airplane or what, they're always a bit like, 'Why are you making me do this,'" Roe says. "But then they kind of get it afterward because they just managed to break through a sort of barrier that they thought they could never do."
Plain Jane encourages women to try new things, but Roe says she went to great lengths to make sure the women were never pushed too far. Roe worked with each woman's body type very closely, making sure everyone was comfortable in their new wardrobe.
"We took our cues from them. If we felt they were uncomfortable in a conversation, we wouldn't push them because it's not about exploiting the girls, it's about a positive experience for them, Robertson says. "And they all had very positive experiences."
And it isn't just the various Janes who have had their lives changed. "Plain Jane is actually making quite a big difference in girls' lives," Roe says. "This is probably the most rewarding job I've done by a long shot."