That Was Then, This is WOW!

Before the glam squads and red carpet makeovers celebrities were not always in star style. Check out how a few of our favorite Hollywood starlets have transformed throughout the years. By Qianna Smith
ESSENCE.COM Mar, 16, 2009

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Before the glam squads and red-carpet makeovers, celebrities were not always in star style. Check out how a few of our favorite Hollywood starlets have transformed throughout the years.

By Qianna Smith

From coed cutie on “A Different World” to superstar actress, mother and wife, Jada Pinkett Smith is still the picture of perfection she was when she first arrived on the scene. One of the key factors of this ageless beauty’s appeal—besides her strong acting chops—is her flawless face. Smith’s dewy skin is irresistible. Check out Neutrogena Deep Clean Relaxing Nightly Cleanser, $7, drugstores nationwide, to perfect your own complexion. Remember to drink water every day so your skin stays naturally hydrated from the inside out.

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Halle Berry was perfecting her award-worthy smile long before winning an Oscar by working the pageant scene after graduating high school in 1985. This pageant princess was crowned Miss Teen Ohio and was first runner-up for Miss USA in 1986. Maintain a beautiful smile like Halle’s by trying Crest Whitestrips Daily Multicare, $40, drugstores.

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Thick, luscious locks have always been a staple for First Lady Michelle Obama. She was ahead of her class in both style and smarts at Chicago’s Whitney Young High School back in 1981.

If you are looking to get first-class tresses, “invest some money into conditioners and treatments at the salon. Take a little bit of extra time, even 20 minutes, to do a deep conditioner under the dryer," says celeb hairstylist Yusef Williams, who styled the tresses of our First Lady for the September 2008 issue of ESSENCE.

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Oprah Winfrey has been preparing for the camera since her days at Tennessee State University, where she attended on a full scholarship in the early 1970’s. We wonder if the media titan knew her degree in speech and drama with a focus on communication would one day pay off. “The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work,” says the nation’s first Black woman billionaire, who believes that beauty first starts by loving yourself.

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From former Miss America to Grammy- Emmy- and Tony-nominated actress and singer, Vanessa Williams has always been more than just a pretty face. She has maintained her captivating looks and body by doing yoga and has admitted to having Botox. The secret to this “Ugly Betty” star’s slim tummy? Wearing Spankx to create the illusion of mid-section perfection.

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Simon Cowell may have questioned her talent, but Jennifer Hudson silenced all naysayers when she won the Oscar for her role as Effie in 2006’s “Dreamgirls.” The former “American Idol” contestant makes no apologies about her shapely figure and has known since her high school days that there was something better out there for her. When speaking of her new life in Hollywood, the soulful songstress notes, “Everybody is little. Why do I have to be little, too? They need some normal-sized people around here.” We second that, J-Hud. Welcome to Hollywood.

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Janet Jackson, one of our favorite teen queens, captured the heart of America with her sweet features (here, she’s pictured at 17). Jackson would soon transform her girl-next-door persona into provocative pop star. The hit maker launched her own lingerie collection, Pleasure Principle, last August, which hopes to empower women to feel sexy through its soft and sensual designs.

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Who knew the lovable little girl from “Star Search” would become such a diva? Beyoncé has wowed us since her youthful days as a member of the multiplatinum group Destiny’s Child. Now, with her irreplaceable solo career and her newfound film success, is it safe to say she’s getting her grown woman on?

Want to keep your look diva-chic like Queen B? A sophisticated ponytail can enhance any ensemble. Try John Freida’s Straight Fixation Smoothing Cream, $6, drugstore.com. It’s perfect for smoothing out unwanted fly-aways.

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It makes sense that pop phenom Mariah Carey had big hair to go with her big voice back at Harborfields High School, in Greenlawn, New York. Carey, who has battled her weight publicly, revealed on “Oprah” last year that she maintains her curvy shape by doing cardio workouts in a swimming pool. “What’s great about working out in the pool is the water acts as resistance; you’re actually exercising twice as hard without feeling it,” says the pop diva.

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We loved her way back when she was the First Lady of Hip-Hop, holder of the “Juice”, and editor-in-chief of Flavor magazine. Today, Latifah has positioned herself as a talented jazz singer and an Oscar-nominated actress, and she’s loving it. Best of all, she’s loving herself.

The multitalented star notes: “It was a very vulnerable time going from being insecure about my body and who I am to becoming comfortable with me. I had to tune out what the hell everybody else had to say about who I was. When I was able to do that, I felt free.”

We’re absolutely loving the skin she’s in. Get the Queen’s flawless complexion with CoverGirl Queen Collection foundation, $9, at drugstores nationwide.

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