A Queer Extreme Makeover

12.7.2004

By Dickson Wong

When it comes to life-changing experiences, nothing beats ABC's Extreme Makeover. This week's episode features an amazing sibling transformation of brother-sister Bill, 42, and Kim, 44, from Bastrop and Round Rock, Texas. Home Depot employee Bill wants to be confident in his looks and to put an end to his hermit ways for his longtime partner Blake, and Kim wants to jump-start her love life; both have shied away from the world, but both feel that now is the time to change all that. Bill gets a complete transformation that includes a nose job, hair restoration, and body makeover. And Kim undergoes surgeries including face, neck, and brow lifts, a nose job, and breast augmentation. The pair is inseparable and both were extremely supportive of each other throughout the show. We spoke to Bill to see how the show (airing Thursday, December 9) has helped him crack open that cocoon and given him a new life.

What was going through your mind when you were first told that you and your sister had been selected to be on the show?
It was a long process, so when they came to Austin we were both shocked and excited because we had no idea we were selected. I was pretty stunned. Actually both my sister and I were stunned. It was pretty emotional for the both of us.

Did you have any doubts?
No, not really. Both of us have been watching the show for a long time and I had no concerns at all. I was just ready to get the process underway. I was like 'Let's go! Fix me up. I'm ready.'

Wow. Is there a certain part of the transformation that you are most happy with?
There isn't really a single part. It's just everything overall in general'the feeling, the look. I look and feel 20 years younger with the diet and exercise. Before I couldn't even walk a mile. I feel a lot more confident in the way I look and the way I feel. There really is no one specific thing.

OK. So what did you and your sister enjoy most about being on the show?
I enjoyed working out. I'd never worked out before, which was like a heart attack waiting to happen. They put me on a specific diet to lose weight and gain muscle: chicken, fish, and turkey for two months. As much as I hated dieting, I stuck to it. I'm still trying to keep up with it. But definitely, what I enjoyed most was the final outcome. When we came home to friends and family, it was so emotional. There was an emotional relief for me and it was just like freedom.

What would you say is something that the makeover has given you?
Hmm' It really has given me freedom. I was a hermit before and I would stay at home. But now I feel more secure about being in public and social situations. It doesn't seem as horrifying as it used to be. I'm still uncomfortable sometimes, but I'm willing to do it.

What was the first thing you did after the makeover?
I was so busy at work I just got right back into it. Besides that I haven't done anything fun outside normal activity life. But Blake and I are going to Las Vegas in a couple weeks.

That's great! And what have people's reactions been like back home?
When I got back home, people at my store said they wouldn't even have recognized me if they hadn't known that I had been through the process. Even Blake and my mom didn't recognize me, just because I shaved and had hair on top of my head. I had a cro-magnon forehead before and it made my eyes really deepset. My eyebrows were really low and hid my eyes and cast a dark shadow over them. Now I have this perfect little forehead and people can finally see my green eyes. Even my family thought I had brown eyes before. When they saw them they said, 'You do have green eyes just like us!'

How has the transformation been for your relationship with Blake?
Blake has a lot of friends and we used to all go out, but over the past eight years I became more introverted and I just didn't feel comfortable. So I'd tell him to go, and he would, but over the past couple years he decided not to because he said it wasn't the same. When we first found out about the show, he was ecstatic and he thought it was the best opportunity for us, for me. And it's been great ever since I've been back. He said he's noticed a change in me, and I smile a lot more now too.

Any plans for the near future?
I'm actually in the process of looking for another job. I was afraid of interviews before because it just seemed impossible for me to sell myself then. But I have the confidence to do that now. I've been with Home Depot for 18 years. I'm really confident about my job there because I've been doing it for so long, but I'm open to change in my life at this point. I actually grew up in Los Angeles and I just forgot how beautiful it is. Maybe I'll find a job and move back there, and of course Blake's coming with me.

How would you describe your Extreme Makeover experience in one word?
Amazing. It was just unbelievable. It's like winning the lottery!

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