At age 45, Susan Robinson never had a manicure, rarely wore makeup and even dyed her own hair at home.
Her face had begun to reflect more than just her age, she said. She had spent 20 years working as a social worker. She felt run down and had lost her self-esteem, and sometimes turned down invitations because she felt she didn't look good.
But at the urging at her teenage daughter Molly, Robinson applied for and won a free "ultimate makeover."
The makeover was sponsored by the Advanced Aesthetics Institute of Palm Beach, Fla., which offers everything from manicures and make-up to haircuts and plastic surgery, beneath one roof. They held the event to showcase their services.
"I had never really up to that point thought of any kind of surgery," Robinson recalls. "The most I was really thinking about is I'd sure like to have a new image. I'd love to get a nice hairstyle and to move up, you know, into where we are."
It was the start of a Cinderella story — of sorts. With the help of a personal "makeover manager," Robinson would go from dowdy to glamorous in just weeks.
But she would also learn that even a makeover — even if it's free — can come with a price.
Read through to see how Robinson's "ultimate makeover" turned out.
At the clinic, Robinson described what she would like to have done. For someone who says she's not big on change, she identified plenty of problem areas: sagging eyelids and breasts; not-quite-white teeth; fine, limp hair; some cellulite in her thighs.
There's only one area she was certain she didn't want changed: "My dad always told me I had a perfect nose, so I don't want anything done to my nose," she told AAI technicians.
The AAI used technology to figure out what needed correcting. Using software that they say calculates a person's facial symmetry, the clinic's technicians drew up a picture of what would be a "perfect" version of Robinson.
For her head and face, becoming "perfect" would involve:
A brow lift and eye job A chin implant and liposuction Cosmetic dental veneers Botox, to take away wrinkles and facial lines Permanent color on her eyebrows & lips A new hair cut, with hair extensions and highlights
For her body:
A breast lift and augmentation A partial tummy tuck Liposuction
Robinson was excited about the prospect of being made over, but she was a little slow to tell her husband, Guido Mayorga.
The couple had planned a three-week trip to visit his parents in his native Ecuador, and the surgery meant Mayorga would have to go alone. "That leaves me with that little sick feeling in my stomach," Robinson told Primetime's Elizabeth Vargas.
Mayorga, 54, had more reasons for discomfort. He has a ruggedly, lined face with long, dark hair in a pony tail, and he is in good shape, but he said he was afraid he might be intimidated by his wife's change.
"Her looks changes and therefore her state of mind might change," he said. "Our relationship might change."
And he had another reason to be concerned: Years ago, his ex-wife had had plastic surgery in the Dominican Republic — and there were major complications.
"What about if something goes wrong?" he asked. "The fear is still the same."
After Robinson's first surgery, a five-hour brow lift, the changes started to take place — not just externally.