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Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Celeste in the City Equals Makeovers & Misunderstandings

By Kate O’Hare

Friday 12 March 2004, by Webmaster

JPEG - 10.4 kb
Majandra Delfino (Roswell) plays with Nicholas Brendon (Buffy) in this Romantic Comedy

’Celeste in the City’ Equals Makeovers and Misunderstandings

By Kate O’Hare

With rooms, houses and people being transformed left and right on makeover programs, it was only a matter of time before a TV movie capitalized on the trend. That time arrives Sunday, March 14, on ABC Family, with the premiere of the romantic comedy "Celeste in the City," starring Majandra Delfino ("Roswell") as a country mouse forced to turn city mouse when she moves to New York.

Bespectacled, frizzy-haired college grad Celeste Blodgett lands a job at a top newspaper, and bids farewell to her family in Maine to tackle life in the Big Apple. Soon after arriving, she’s dismayed to discover that she’s not a reporter after all, but a fact-checker. Also, her "great" apartment turns out to be a rat-infested dump.

The only bright spot is her neighbor Kyle (Ethan Embry), who’s handsome, charming and handy around the house. He’s also an interior designer, which leads naive Celeste to assume he’s gay.

Before long, Celeste decides to go along with her mother’s wishes and look up her cousin Dana (Nicholas Brendon, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"). He, as it turns out, is gay, hasn’t told his parents about it, and has abandoned the name Blodgett for the more fashionable Harrison.

He introduces the dowdy Celeste to his style-conscious pals (Geoffrey Pounsett, Jamie Robinson, Deborah Gibson), who trash Celeste’s look, then take her on as a makeover project — with the help of hairstyle expertise and free clothing.

At the same time, Kyle helps her put her apartment in order. But Celeste’s new look doesn’t immediately bring her happiness, as the assumptions she makes about people cause several romantic missteps.

Turning the pretty Delfino into the plain Celeste was no easy feat. "They put on this special lipstick that made my teeth look yellow," Delfino says, during lunch with co-star Brendon. "Then they filled in my eyebrows to make them look shapeless. They would do a certain shadowing with blush to make my face look sallow. There’s a lot going on with the makeup to make it look like that."

Apparently, the effect was good enough to fool the unaware. "I went out in public and was treated rather badly," Delfino says. "Two girls about my age, early 20s, they stopped like two feet in front of me. One of them looked at the other and said, ’Oh, my God, now that is scary.’ Just totally honest.

"It was so sad, because it was one of those things where they just didn’t care that I could hear. I was unstylish, with frizzy hair, so I deserved to be abused. Isn’t that crazy? At least it gave me something to work from for the part."

"It was really bad," Brendon says. "We call it ’The Incident.’"

Brendon had concerns of his own. "It took an hour and a half to dress me down," he quips. "I had to be there the previous Monday in order for them to make me look so bad."

"By day 18, 19 for me," he says, "I was just done. Had our trailers been closer by the set, I would have had more time to sit and relax. But when we were on set, we were there for 10, 12 hours. I was just really uncomfortable in my clothes, how tight they were. They’re not what I’m used to wearing. My hair was down to here." He points to a spot in the middle of his forehead. "I had eyeliner on. I just wanted to leave."

"You wanted Halloween to be over," Delfino chimes in.

According to Brendon, the original character of Dana went further than he wanted to go. "I’ve got members of my family that are gay. I didn’t like the stereotype."