Hairdressers always told Rebecca Aragon to steer clear of bangs and blond hair. But when she met celebrity stylist Oscar Blandi, he took one look and decided.
Bangs and blond hair.
"I feel like I felt when I was 35 years old," said Aragon, 51. "A million bucks."
Aragon, an electrician apprentice from St. Petersburg, was chosen from thousands of applicants with troubled mops to receive a makeover during Live With Regis and Kelly's Bad Hair Week.
She spent eight hours Thursday in a New York salon, mired in a long process of color stripping and dyeing and chopping. That night, she showed off her hair at Lucky Cheng's, a New York drag queen cabaret dinner theater.
"They are hot!" she said. "They put me on stage and said I was going to be on the Regis show."
Friday morning, she strutted live on television in a short black dress from her own closet. She wore it last Valentine's Day, and it's her fiance's favorite. Her lightning bolt necklace, a symbol for the couple's Allied Electrical Systems company, hung from her neck.
"I'm going to say conservatively, you look 30 years younger," said host Kelly Ripa.
Blandi, who styles Ripa's hair, said Aragon wanted to look natural and soft with hair long enough to tie into a ponytail for her job. He chose the light shade so her gray would blend more naturally as it grows.
"Let me tell you why I love this lady so much," said Ripa during the show's banter. "I feel like I relate to her. If … all the hair professionals who work on me and primp me up for TV weren't there, my hair would look exactly like that. I feel like she's living my hair alter ego. I know that is under here. When I see her, I feel a kindred spirit."
Aragon was nervous during the show and managed to squeeze out a few words on air: "I love it. I love it."
Regis Philbin took the reins.
"Rebecca Aragon of St. Petersburg, Florida," he said. "You'll be the talk of the town."
Stephanie Hayes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8857.