10 Big Makeovers That Made Our Jaws Drop

In one of the most quintessential first-dance songs for a Long Island wedding, Billy Joel sings that he loves us just the way we are. The Piano Man’s sentiments are important, but sometimes something as big as a career change or as small as chopping off a few inches of hair is just the refresh you need. We know a thing or two about makeovers around the Pulse offices. For months, we’ve been hard at work on a redesign and were so excited to finally reveal it to you in our April issue. In the spirit of revamps, take a trip down memory lane and see some other big makeovers.

Marilyn Monroe

Before Marilyn Monroe was Marilyn Monroe, she was Norma Jeane Baker, a regular girl with curly, shoulder-length reddish-brown hair just trying to make her way through high school in California in the 1940s. A decade later, she was a platinum blonde bombshell in a pink dress delivering an iconic performance of “Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend” in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. 

David Bowie

The late David Bowie kept us on our toes throughout his legendary career. As Ziggy Stardust, he sported bright eye makeup, brighter hair and blurred the gender lines, all while having impeccable showmanship. Later in life, he ditched the makeup, firecracker hair goals and androgynous fashion choices in favor of dapper suits, neutral sweaters and short, more natural looking hair.

Ronald Reagan

In the 1940s and 1950s, Ronald Reagan was an actor, president of the Screen Actors Guild and a liberal Democrat. In the 60s, he became a registered Republican and in 1981 the 40th President of the United States. Given the current Republican primary, maybe this wasn’t such a stretch after all. Under Reagan, the Berlin Wall fell and inflation dropped by more than 8 percent and he left office with a 68 percent approval rating, tied with FDR and Bill Clinton as the highest for a departing president in the modern era.


Facebook started as Thefacebook in then-Harvard freshman Mark Zuckerberg’s dormroom in 2004 and slowly became available to college students across the nation over the next year. Initially users needed to have a campus email address to log in, the only photos were profile photos, you wrote on walls not timelines, there were no newsfeeds and groups like “When I was your age pluto was a planet: Syracuse chapter” were all the rage (groups were limited to your school). Today, my dog has her own page, so do your parents and your favorite restaurants for that matter, and dinner didn’t happen unless you post a photo of it on your timeline. One thing that hasn’t changed: poking is still creepy. Mark Zuckerberg has made a few bucks off it, too.

The Go-Gos

The Go-Gos started out as a punk group that played at notoriously punk venues like The Masque and the Whisky a Go Go in LA. By the time their debut album Beauty and the Beat topped charts in 1982, they were a bonified pop group. It paid off; they received a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist that year.

Moby Dick

moby dick

The Moby Dick dinnerware items were a popular part of the Rockwell Kent exhibit at Long Island Maritime Museum.

Published in 1851, Hermann Melville’s tale of Ahab’s quest to get revenge on white whale Moby Dick for destroying his ship and leg on a previous journey was considered a commercial failure at first. In 1930, Lakeside Press published a three-volume edition with gorgeous illustrations by Shinnecock Hills High School graduate Rockwell Kent. It flew off the shelves, and the rest is high school summer reading list history.

Willie Nelson

Country music icon Willie Nelson was probably just as well known for his signature braids as he was and still is for twangy hits like “Always on my Mind” and “On the Road Again.” That is, until he cut it almost all off in what the Internet dubbed “the haircut heard around the world” in 2010.


A mainstay on Forbes’ list of most powerful celebrities, Oprah turned books into best-sellers and Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz into stars in their own rights. They called it the “Oprah effect,” and because she was such a force, it was sometimes easy to forget Oprah had her struggles just like everyone else even though she was always open about her weight problems. In 1988, Oprah announced a 67-pound weight loss by wheeling a wagon full of fat on stage. She looked fabulous, and though she has continued to struggle with her weight throughout the years (and shared her experiences that so many can relate to), she seems to be back on the wagon thanks to Weight Watchers and meditation.    

Bee Gees

Listen to “To Love Somebody,” recorded by the Bee Gees in the 1960s and later covered by everyone from Rod Stewart to Janis Joplin, and you might be surprised to hear a more folksy sound from the legendary group. When disco rose in popularity, Barry Gibb showed off his falsetto abilities, the group started sporting bell bottoms and we all caught Saturday night fever.

The Wiz

NBC’s live made-for-TV musicals Sound of Music and Peter Pan garnered mixed reviews, but The Wiz Live! was a consensus hit with critics, including the armchair variety (it has a 91 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes). An adaptation of the 1975 Broadway musical The Wiz, which in and of itself is a soulful interpretation of The Wizard of Oz, the NBC special starred Queen Latifa, Mary J. Blige, Common, Uzo Aduba and breakout star Shanice Williams. Let’s not forget the little dog, too —Scooter the Dog shined as Toto.   

beth ann clyde

beth ann clyde

Beth Ann Clyde is a Digital Editor of Long Island Pulse. Have a story idea or just want to say hello? Email bethann@lipulse.com or reach out on Twitter @BAClyde.