In late 2015 a life-size photograph on the set of The Rachael Ray Show drew gasps from its New York audience. In the shot stood Connecticut man Ian Cook with his long gray locks spilling over his shoulders. With his unkempt beard, he appeared for all the world like a modern-day Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings. However, Ian’s long-suffering family thought his appearance fell far short of magical. Clearly, they all felt something had to change…
So a makeover was a long time coming for the then 54-year-old who lived in Stamford, CT, and worked in utilities. Indeed, Ian cheerfully admitted to the eponymous TV lifestyle magazine show host that his last hair cut had been four years prior. In fact, in the episode broadcast in December 2015, Rachael revealed that Ian’s appointment with some scissors was so long overdue that it had been requested by his ex-wife!
Strangely, then, the driving force behind Ian’s “man-over” on the popular daytime show was the utility man’s one-time spouse, Karen. Yes, Rachael excitedly pointed out that it was the first time ever that a former partner had ever nominated anyone for anything on the program. Whatever the motivating factor for the makeover was, though, it was clearly serious. Indeed, Karen evidently thought the situation was somewhat hairy – in both senses of the word.
It turned out that the former couple shared 16-year-old twin sons, Benjamin and Cameron, who lived with their mom in Milford, CT. This town was close to where their dad lived, but his appearance was beginning to put some emotional distance between Ian and his boys. So Karen was worried that the twins had got to an age where their shaggy-haired father was beginning to seriously cramp their style.
Benjamin, Cameron and Karen were therefore sat in the front row of the TV audience when Rachael introduced the show’s style expert Kyan Douglas. The professional groomer explained Ian’s motivation, saying, “He’s doing this for his sons. Because they get a little embarrassed sometimes when they bring the ladies home, and they’ve got the Gandalf guy in the living room.” The twins understandably squirmed in their seats, clearly uncomfortable with the situation.
It also seemed unlikely that these were the kind of lads who could ever confront their dad about his crazy coiffure. So it was obvious that someone else had been needed to bring the crisis to a head. And that person – somewhat unconventionally – turned out to be Ian’s ex-wife. Karen explained to the host, “The boys are getting older now and things have been said, and I think I have to be the go-between.”
“You’re trying to broker the deal,” Rachael suggested to the former partner with a front-row seat for the proceedings. But her style expert colleague had a different explanation. “I think the boys are trying to be sweet, and Karen is like, ‘Get out there!’” Kyan quipped, making a kicking action. While Ian laughed good-naturedly, there was obviously a serious intent behind it all.
For the loving father had made his mind up about the makeover and was more than ready for an image overhaul. In fact, Ian was perhaps keener than anyone not to be the subject of ridicule any longer for the sake of his teenage sons. “I want them to be as proud of me as I am of them,” he touchingly explained when questioned.
A montage of photos assembled by The Rachael Ray Show revealed that while the general unkemptness and grayness may have been more recent developments, Ian had always had very special hair. A picture of him taken on his wedding day, for instance, showed the younger Ian with lustrous, bouffant dark locks and a matching handlebar mustache.
“So you went into this kind of knowing what you were getting, by the by,” Rachael joked to Karen about the relationship. Another picture showed Ian sporting a similar man cradling his twin babies. A further photograph displayed him showing off a shorter and blonder beehive-like creation.
As the audience giggled good-naturedly at the embarrassing old pictures, Rachael jokingly chastised them. She gestured to Ian, saying, “We have to knock it off. He’s right here!” The host then excused the incriminating photographs, adding, “He’s a perfectly lovely man inside.” And given the amount of teasing Ian was prepared to put up with for the sake of his family, that statement certainly appeared to be true.
How, then, had things got so bad stylistically speaking? After all, the presenters agreed that underneath all those gray tresses, Ian was still a bit of a catch. “Well, obviously, the hair is a situation. [But] he’s a handsome guy,” Kyan said. “I love his eyes. He’s got a strong cheekbone.” And show stalwart Rachael was very quick to wholeheartedly concur.
The trouble was one that is common to many middle-aged men. Somewhere down the years, Ian had stopped making much of an effort over his appearance. Kyan the image guru added, “He’s super furry, and when I look at him I see a guy who’s gotten comfortable, maybe a little too comfortable, like we all do from time to time… I just want to do a version of him that’s better.”
So with that motivation in mind, the team whisked Ian away for his much-needed spruce up. Disappearing behind the screens for a time, The Rachael Ray Show’s man-over team worked their magic. In no time at all, thanks to the televisual trick of editing, Ian was ready to present his new look. And when he stepped out from behind the screen, it is fair to say that his ex-wife and twin sons were blown away.
Gone were the neglected tresses and in their place was a trendy combed-back but still comparatively long style. The beard and handlebar mustache had been tastefully trimmed and tidied. Standing in front of the audience was the sleek silver fox that had evidently always been trying to get out. A proud Ian seemed thoroughly delighted with his new image.
The subject of the so-called man-over looked so much better than his former self that Rachael teased Karen. The host said, “I think she’s rethinking that whole ‘ex’ thing!” Even though the former flames obviously still got on well, Ian was having none of it, however. “Oh nooo!” he jokingly exaggerated, shaking his head from side to side. This was his most effusive statement of the show so far.
And while Ian and Karen’s twin boys were both lost for words, his ex-wife only had one thing to say. “When he came around the corner, he looked like someone on TV,” she exclaimed. “I don’t know who, but I was like, ‘Who is that?’” Clearly impressed by her former husband’s fresh take, she added, “I’ve never seen him look like that.”
Rachael was quick to point out that, in her opinion, this was the best Ian had ever looked. She turned to the audience and asked, “You saw their wedding pictures, right? He didn’t even look like this on their wedding day!” Later, the host said she was particularly impressed by his hair. Speaking directly to Ian, Rachael ran a hand through his locks and said, “It’s very hot for women. Just long enough to push behind your ear is super-sexy, man.”
Of course, doting dad Ian had put himself through the whole televised experience for his boys. The shy teens were awkward and unsurprisingly lost for words in front of the cameras on nationwide TV. But later on, after filming had finished, Benjamin and Cameron found their voices and let Ian know that they were possibly the biggest fans of his man-over.
Later in December 2015, Karen spoke to local newspaper The Milford Mirror about the foursome’s journey back to Connecticut after the show had wrapped. She recalled, “The boys could not take their eyes off of Ian on the train ride home and kept saying how great he looks.” Hopefully, ever since, there has been no need for awkwardness – and no more thoughts of Gandalf when the twins bring their girlfriends home.
Of course, Karen’s ex-husband isn’t the only man to have benefitted from a makeover on The Rachael Ray Show. Unlike Ian, though, Travis Herman had a relatively neat haircut – but his big, bushy beard drove his wife, Connie, mad. So, he came up with a cunning plan. After she had gone to bed, blissfully ignorant of what was about to happen downstairs, Connie woke up to be greeted with her husband’s dramatic transformation.
Connie Herman found her husband Travis’ big and bushy beard annoying for the longest time. And as the top of her head only reaches the bottom of her husband’s chin, she had had to face up to this problem in their marriage for years. All in all, she longed to see the face of the man she had fallen in love with once more. Then, in the middle of an eventful night, Travis subjected himself to a secret makeover – and when Connie woke up, it was to both a brand-new day and a brand-new husband.
Travis and Connie live in Atlanta, Georgia, along with their two young sons. Travis himself had studied microbiology at Oklahoma State University and intensive brewing science at the University of California, Davis. And with these acquired brewing skills, experience and qualifications, he came home to co-found craft ale producing business the Scofflaw Brewing Company.
Travis’ scruffy, hirsute appearance therefore fitted perfectly with his job as a brewmaster and brewery owner. His beard was long, black and bushy – very much the backwoodsman look – and his clothes were casual and functional. Furthermore, the hair on Travis’ head was similarly unkempt to that on his cheeks and chin. Years of buzz-cutting it all to one length had rendered his crowning glory thick and unmanageable.
However, Travis’ wife, Connie, wasn’t so enamored with his shaggy look. What’s more, by September 2016 things had gotten serious, as the brewer explained at the time in a video since uploaded to YouTube. He admitted, “My wife thinks my beard is a little bit unruly,” adding that maintaining his facial hair was what annoyed his wife the most. He further explained, “You have to brush [the beard] to keep it looking somewhat right, and you end up leaving a little trail of hair everywhere. It drives her insane to see it in the sink.”
So, in secret, Travis enlisted the help of a makeover team from The Rachael Ray Show. The makeover segment of the show is led by personal groomer Kyan Douglas, and he agreed to turn Travis from shabby to chic. Indeed, the brewer subsequently underwent a radical personal rebrand – from the hair on his head down to his footwear on the floor. And when the style professionals had finished, he had been transformed into a completely different-looking dude.
Stylist and television personality Kyan Douglas originally came to fame as the grooming expert on the hit TV program Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. The show offers tips and advice on culture, fashion, food and wine, personal style and interior design for unsophisticated types. Now working as part of The Rachael Ray Show, Douglas has overseen more than 400 makeovers. However, in regard to Travis’ imminent transformation in the middle of a September night, Douglas stated, “We have never done anything like this.”
Then at 4:00 a.m. one morning, Douglas and his makeover team descended on the Herman household. What better way to keep the whole process a secret from Connie than by completing it while she was asleep? Following the stylist and his posse was a team of camera operatives and sound technicians ready to record the whole scene as it unraveled. From the makeover to the grand reveal, the mobile TV production unit would capture it all, and this footage would be aired on The Rachael Ray Show at a later date.
And when Douglas and the crew arrived at the suburban house, Travis was waiting for them and quietly let them in. Hugging Douglas as he entered, he welcomed the team into his home. His wife, on the other hand, was fast asleep upstairs along with the children and oblivious to what was going on just a few feet below. When she woke up, however, Connie would see her husband in a totally new light.
The first step of the makeover saw Douglas introducing Patricia, a master barber, who helped with some cutting suggestions. Then, before they could begin the transformation, the stylist quickly discussed what they were planning to do with Travis. Douglas said to him, “So Patricia and I have been talking about your look a little bit.”
The stylist observed, “It looks to me like you just use a buzzer or a shaver on your head.” Travis confirmed this as fact. Douglas then continued, stating, “I know Connie wants to probably see the beard go. It’s been a long time since you’ve been clean-shaven, I want to take the beard off completely.” The brewing expert seemed to heartily concur, saying with enthusiasm, “Let’s do it!”
Thus began the enormous task of turning Travis’ look from hirsute and scruffy to handsome and smart. They started first with the hair atop his head. To stop it being so tufty and untidy, Patricia shaved his hair in a different way than the brewer usually does for himself. Douglas explained, “What we can do to really update his haircut is to give him a fade, so going from longer to shorter just creates a lot of structure. And we’ll just use some product to finesse it a little bit, give it some texture.”
Next, it was time to tackle the main task of this makeover and the bane of Connie’s life: the beard. Carefully shearing away the great fuzz of facial hair with an electric shaver, Patricia ensured that Travis’ face could see daylight for the first time in years. And when the barber had buzzed off half of the beard, Douglas asked, “Can you feel a difference right now?” Travis replied, looking thoughtful, “Heavier on one side than the other…”
So, as the tufts of hair piled up on the floor around the beer man’s feet, the beard on his face was swiftly banished. “This is pretty awesome,” Travis conceded when Patricia was finished with the shaver. This new, groomed look not only left the brewer’s face free of fuzz, but it also revealed more of what had been hidden under the hair.
Douglas was not done with Travis just yet, however. To complete the craft beer creator’s new look, the stylist wanted to dress him in smarter clothing to match his neatly shaved face and carefully considered hair. Unpacking a suitcase full of garments on the floor, the stylist was ready and waiting with options for Travis to dress in once his grooming was complete.
Douglas explained the choice of clothes to the brewery operator. The styling veteran said, “For me, one of the most important things a guy can have in his wardrobe are just really good basic, dark jeans. These go with everything because they’re dark and they’re not faded.” Douglas then added, “The next thing is just a good pair of dark boots.” Holding up a shirt, he stated, “This is just like a really lightweight denim shirt. Because this is so thin, it’s almost like an all-year-round kind of shirt. Dark blue on dark blue, kind of tone-on-tone thing, but because it’s all dark it’s also kind of slimming.”
Then once Travis was dressed in the new clothes, it was time to show off his transformation to his wife. Connie was still upstairs sleeping; since it was about the time she normally woke up, however, it wouldn’t be long before she appeared. Douglas encouraged Travis to send his wife a good morning text message to get the ball rolling on the eagerly anticipated big reveal.
“Trap’s set, she’ll be down in just a second,” announced Travis with a twinkle, as the makeover team and camera crew waited for his wife to make her appearance. Connie emerged at the top of the stairs with a sleepy son in her arms. “Oh my gosh! No…”, she exclaimed in delight the moment she saw her husband’s amazing transformation. “I thought you went to a poker game,” she added, before rushing down the steps to embrace her husband.
And Connie certainly didn’t hide her joy at the sight of her husband without a beard. She explained to the camera, “That’s how I met him, years and years ago, and it’s nice to see that face again instead of staring at the beard.” She then added, “I’m actually still trying to get past the fact that he doesn’t have a beard on anymore. I really like it – love it.”
Then, when the couple guested on The Rachael Ray Show, the host asked Connie how she felt. The wife admitted, “Right now, I’m actually going to cry. He looks great. And I’ve missed this face for a very long time, so I’m glad it’s back. Thank you so much, Kyan.” Ray then confirmed with the couple, “You guys met when you were like 16?” She also joked, “He couldn’t even grow a beard when they met.”
But what did the man himself think of his new look? Ray inquired, “You love how you look though, right?” Travis replied, “I do, it’s a little higher maintenance than the beard, but you know.” It appears, however, that the beer maker preferred his beard to the clean-shaven look. That’s judging from a photo posted by Connie to Facebook in 2017, in which Travis is shown with yet more facial fuzz.