As The Swan's surgically enhanced beauty pageant draws ever nearer (with back-to-back episodes tonight, starting at 8 pm/ET), TV Guide Online rings up last week's could've-been contender, Andrea, at home in Colorado to find out whether her foul mood has improved since the docs diminished her acne scars.
TV Guide Online: If I'm not mistaken, you cried more than any other contestant. Was your surgery secretly underwritten by Kleenex?
Andrea: They sure made it look that way! Maybe Kleenex could call me, and I could do their commercials.
TVGO: Why not? Anyway, at the beginning of the show, you said your problem was insecurity. Why not consult a shrink instead of a plastic surgeon?
Andrea: When I heard about the show, it said that it was a "life makeover." That's one reason I chose to do it. And it really did change my life, with all the therapy. I'm still continuing therapy here in Denver...
TVGO: I'm sure that after questioning your commitment to the program, "life coach" Nely strongly advised that.
Andrea: Yeah, she did. When I came back to Colorado, the first thing I did was call and [arrange for counseling], because I have things from when I was growing up that affected who I am today. So it's an internal thing, but when you fix the outside and you feel like you can smile and you look good, it makes you feel better inside, too, so it just all came together.
TVGO: Hmm. A skeptic might say that a new body and face aren't going to change anybody's mind.
Andrea: Yes, I totally agree. And I think that's the case with some people; they think sometimes it's going to fix an unhappy marriage or something, and it doesn't.
TVGO: That was sort of my point. Moving on... how has your boyfriend reacted to you version 2.0?
Andrea: He doesn't comment on it.
TVGO: That's not exactly a ringing endorsement.
Andrea: The thing with us is that he was more concerned about my internal transformation. He could care less what I looked like, which is a really good feeling. But I cared about how I looked, because, you know, with all the magazines and actresses, there's always pressure to be pretty. I finally feel good about myself now. I smile so much more than I used to!
TVGO: But isn't the goal of therapy to accept that you're okay even if you don't look like you and Angelina Jolie were separated at birth?
Andrea: Exactly! And I know that I'm still not perfect. My skin is better, but it's not perfect. And I still have some areas of my body that I need to work on. But I'm more concerned about my internal transformation now. I'm more concerned about how I can handle my emotions better. It's great to see yourself on TV, because after that, you really know how you act. It's a big shock! Although I have to say, some of [the way I came off] was creative editing. That was one moment [when I lied about my weight]. I had so many good moments that they just did not choose to show!
TVGO: I imagine they were trying to catch you in a fib.
Andrea: And they did! That one time, and I knew they got me, too. I was like, "Oh, there it was!" You know? But that's okay, because I know what happened and I'm happy now.
TVGO: How is your son handling having a mom who looks so vastly different?
Andrea: He's still so young [at 20 months old], I don't think he really understands. He did look at me like, "It sounds like Mom, but is that Mom?" I was so worried he was not going to recognize me! But when he reached for me, I knew that he knew it was me. They talk about how kids can smell their mother and recognize their voice, so thank goodness you can't change your voice!
TVGO: One last question — and be honest: During your mirror-free month, did you ever sneak a peek at yourself in a spoon to see how your transformation was going?
Andrea: I'll tell you what, I tried! But [the producers] made sure that you didn't. There was no way! I mean, I thought, "What about the TV... or the windows?" But they sprayed deodorant over all the reflective surfaces, so there's just no way you can see yourself! Occasionally, when you were walking up to a car to go somewhere, you could kind of see a reflection of yourself in the glass, but it was so distorted — and they would watch to make sure you weren't looking. Finally, you're like, "Argh! This is impossible!"