When we first saw the premiere episode, we were a little bit shocked by the “zapper.” It’s a device that administers an electric shock whenever the latest makeover subject makes a wrong move with her flirting techniques.
“Every time she mucks up and does something that reverts to her old ways, we give her a quick zap,” Roe tells Zap2it. “It’s very small! I did try it out on myself beforehand. I get nervous whenever I do it, because I don’t particularly enjoy inflicting pain, but it’s only a tiny shock.”
The first makeover subject is Cristen, or “Friend Zone Jane.” She describes herself as a “disaster” who wears pajamas out of the house, is terrified of snails, and has had a crush on her friend Ty for six years. With the help of a team of experts, Roe gets Cristen ready for a date with her dream guy.
(He’s really dreamy, too. We’ll vouch for that.)
Roe, who styled “What Not To Wear” for the BBC, has made a career out of trying to change lives. “I did a lot of makeovers on our version of ‘Good Morning America,'” shes tells us. “They were very emotional – women who had just been divorced, people who were very down.”
Don’t expect her to go too easy on the girls, though. “I’m someone who is brutally honest when I have to be,” she says. “I’ll go through their apartment and say, ‘This is disgusting and messy and horrible and how could you ever expect a guy to come back here?'”
She works with the girls on everything from fashion to posture. “I have to teach them all how to walk in heels,” she laughs. “Even when we have an expert on site, I’ll still throw my two cents in there. I’ve written about relationships, weddings, flirting, and sex for various magazines in the UK. God, I haven’t got a qualification for it, but I’ve got a lot of experience!”
Despite her first impression, Roe isn’t all about being proper. When she meets Cristen, who has always surrounded herself with male friends, Roe’s first question is, “Would you burp in front of them? Would you fart?” Later, she assures, “I invented stalking boys.”
Apparently, the zapper technique worked out quite well on Cristen. She meets the totally swoon-worthy Ty for a romantic rooftop date and finally confesses her feelings to him. Even Roe was skeptical of the results.
“I just thought, ‘Oh, God, they’ve been friends for six years. surely he’d have thought about it by now if it was ever going to happen,'” Roe says. “Then the guy’s like ‘Well, I had a crush on you all through college!’ Her face was just classic — so was mine, actually.”
Of course, as Cristen notes on the show, “College is over now.” So does he still have a thing for the girl who has been his “buddy”? You’ll have to watch to find out.
“There’s definitely going to be episodes throughout the series where it doesn’t work out,” Roe says. “The goal is, yes, we’re going to get you ready for this date in every way and you’re going to tell this guy how you feel, but on the other side of the coin, regardless of what happens on the date, we’re going to get you comfortable with you being you. It’s really inspiring.”