A mother and daughter from DuBois received an early Mother’s Day surprise when they were chosen to receive makeovers from the Today Show on NBC while visiting New York City.
Mary Beth Brennan and her 24-year-old daughter, Marissa Brennan, were selected for Ambush Makeover, a segment of the morning news and entertainment show in which fans are given complete makeovers.
“It was so surreal,” said Mary Beth Brennan, who was brought to tears when she saw her new look for the first time.
Mary Beth, founder of Kidnetix Baton Corp., an award-winning baton twirling organization in DuBois, was on a quick trip with her daughter to see “The Lion King” on Broadway on May 1. The next morning they were outside the Today Show studio when the show’s fashion contributor, Jill Martin, and celebrity hairstylist, Louis Licari, came out and surveyed the crowd for a candidate for the makeover segment.
“We actually made it late out of our hotel so we weren’t sure if we were actually going to get into the plaza area,” Marissa Brennan said. When they finally arrived, they wrote, “This mom is here to meet the moms of Today,” on a sign provided by the show.
“You can write whatever you want on the signs,” Marissa Brennan said. “And so we went into the plaza area and I held up that sign and it immediately caught the attention of Louis Licari and Jill Martin, who are two of the Ambush Makeover experts for The Hoda and Jenna Show. They asked us where we were from and how old I was, and then, more or less, why we were there in New York.”
She told them they were in New York for the Broadway show, and then they wanted to check out the Today Show on the plaza.
“It was just sort of out of luck,” Marissa Brennan said. “We didn’t think we were even going to make it to be in the crowd because we were late getting there and we were behind everybody else there. They (Martin and Licari) saw the sign, and they pulled us forward. It took us totally by surprise.”
Mary Beth Brennan said she suggested what to write on the sign because she is a mom and knows there are a lot of new moms who are on the Today Show.
“I thought it would be neat for them to come over to me and say, ‘Hello,’” she said.
Then the mother and daughter were asked if they would be interested in having makeovers.
“They pretty much eyed us up in the crowd. And I was like, ‘Oh, I didn’t know I looked that bad this morning,’” Marissa Brennan said with a laugh. “We had some makeup on, but definitely we were both pretty tired.”
Once they agreed to the makeovers, Mary Beth and Marissa were both instructed to take their makeup off and take their hair down before they were taken up to the front of the crowd for the live filming event, where they had to re-enact being chosen from the crowd and act surprised.
“I was excited,” Marissa Brennan said. “I think she (her mom) was more nervous than I was.”
The makeovers took no longer than three hours as a team applied makeup, trimmed, colored and styled their hair and helped them try several clothing changes.
The mother and daughter were not allowed to see each other, nor were they allowed to look at themselves until the big reveal that happened live on air.
“Louis Lacari had asked me, he said, ‘Now, was your hair always this color? Was it brighter when you were little?’” Marissa Brennan said. “And I said, “Well, it was a little bit redder whenever I was little, and he was like, oh, okay. So, I had an idea in my mind from whatever he decided. He just did a semi-permanent in my hair just because my hair’s still pretty red.”
“They just asked if I was up for a change,” Mary Beth Brennan said. “I said, ‘I normally don’t have really short hair, so I’d prefer to not have anything really drastic.’”
She said she wasn’t nervous because she didn’t trust them.
“I was nervous because of the experience. It was just like was this really all happening now? I just tried to stay calm and knew it would be all right, because I’ve watched it so many other times on TV before, so I knew exactly what was going to happen.”
Mary Beth was the first to walk out for the big reveal in a pair of flattering, straight-leg black jeans, a sophisticated cream blazer and a blue statement necklace.
“It doesn’t even look like me,” said an emotional Mary Beth as she looked at herself in the mirror.
Then it was daughter Marissa’s turn to walk out in a breezy maxi dress in an elegant green-and-blue color combination to complement her new look.
“She wanted something bold to match her personality,” Martin said.
“I don’t look anything like myself,” said Marissa Brennan, whose hair looked warmer and brighter with a “glaze” that Lacari put in it.
After the live show, the mother and daughter were allowed to keep the clothes, “which was very cool,” Marissa Brennan saids. However, they did have to return the shoes and jewelry.
Mary Beth admits that she has not yet watched the recording of the big reveal.
“I cannot bring myself to watch it, because I am not a person that’s about myself at all,” she said. “I am more a person who gets my joy from what I can do to make other people happy, what I can do, and I get my joy from that, not from making myself happy.”
Marissa, who graduated from Penn State University in December with a master’s degree in material science and engineering, said she is finishing working at the Applied Research Lab at PSU. She’ll be moving to Niskayuna, N.Y., in the beginning of August to work with General Electric’s Global Research Center program.
Mary Beth, who is married to DuBois Area High School teacher Doug Brennan, will continue working with talented young women who have a passion for twirling. Marissa, with her two sisters, Gabrielle and Kayla, are also all baton experts and help instruct the Kidnetix classes.