WHEN Carla Hobson, managing director, producer and presenter at Prime Entertainment, returned to TT after years of studying at Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland, she found “within that period there was an increase in the amount of negativity and degrading circumstances women on a whole started going through. Through violence and all sorts of things. Some of them leading to death.”
Hobson also found women were actually becoming more depressed. Walking through the streets of Port of Spain or Scarborough, “it was hard. I saw stress on their faces.”
This spurred Hobson to act. “In transitioning from Tobago to Trinidad I decided I needed to do something to impact society as a whole and with my experience in media, I found it to be the most powerful and effective way to do that,” she said.
So the show Majestic Make Over was given life. Although the concept was born about seven years ago upon her return, she left it on the back burner. However, the killing of Japanese pannist Asami Nagakiya re-ignited Hobson’s passion to help TT’s women. That was when the idea of giving them a holistic makeover was put into being.
And Hobson wants TT to know, “It is not just a superficial makeover but it gives women a brighter side of life with respect to the life skills coaching. We have experts. We do a totally new look,” Hobson said.
In a release sent to Newsday on the show, Hobson was quoted as saying, “This Make Over television programme is not only just about changing the physical appearance of these ladies, but also aims at enhancing their lives in a holistic way, by exposing them to various methods of coping with stress, exercise via a personal trainer, yoga, spa treatment, recreation and shopping, together with a new look.”
Although, Synergy TV was not the first network she pitched the concept too, the local network saw the importance of it and gave Majestic Make Over its home. The show first aired in December last year.
Already the show has reaped benefits from its hard work. Hobson recalled, “We made over a young woman by the name of Keeta Rampersad. There was a change in Keeta. I was so thrown aback, their HR and marketing manager sat me down and said whatever you did, it worked. Ms Rampersad is to work on time, she is the most grateful and thankful...Her total disposition has changed...she began taking more pride in the way she looked. The company actually commended us on the way it worked out.”
The show does not leave its participants there, the show and its participants have a social media chat through which they all keep in touch. This demonstrates to Hobson that a movement is happening.
Five episodes of the show have been aired already and there are 12 episodes for this season.
Majestic Make Over features women who have been through various challenges.
It has featured a woman who fought cancer and is now in remission, a woman whose daughter has cerebral palsy. Hobson said of the woman whose daughter has cerebral palsy, “She is actually a caterer now. She performs at different hotels in Tobago.”
“She is on her feet but what she went through. She had to lift that child on her back. Take her to school, take her to work. She is 31-years-old and never took care of herself. When we did her makeover, she was beautiful. Her daughter did not even recognise.”
The show has also remade an ex-prisoner. “Life coaches put us on to the women and these women have triumphed through their turmoil and that is what we want to highlight. Not the women who are still going through.”
Hobson hopes the show can inspire other women going through turmoil in TT.
As to how these women are chosen, Hobson said, when they started, they began doing letters as they tried to figure out a selection process. “Usually these shows, on the international market, would do a screening process and see which candidate best fits the criteria.
“I started like that. But then I realised everywhere I turned another woman had a story. Sometimes greater than the other one, worse than the other one and I could not gauge whose situations were worse than whose.” But now the women are chosen through referrals and what she calls “divine selection.”
However they are chosen, the outcome, Hobson hopes, is the same –to show other women how to survive life’s challenging moments. “What I realised, though, is that regardless of what we go through, there are key components to surviving that and that is what we want to get out there. How they survive it because everybody has a story, very few doesn’t. How they get through it is what we wrap up on.”
Majestic Make Over airs on Thursday at 9 pm with reruns on Saturday at 1 pm.
Asked how the show is doing, she said, currently the programme is still underground. But plans to change that through a major social media campaign.
The show, however, has a following thanks to exposure it got before its December launch. “However, because of the exposure it got prior to being on Synergy, a lot of people are talking about it. We are doing a lot of social media marketing.”
When Hobson walks TT’s streets she often hears, “I need a makeover” from both men and women.
At the time of the interview Hobson said, “This week alone, I had three to four people say I need a makeover. And it feels good. There is not a week that passes where one person does not mention Majestic Make Over. The show has been getting a lot of viewership and has added to Synergy TV’s viewership.”
As a local producer, Hobson admits the industry is hard as sponsorship is not always easy. This season ends at the end of April with its second season scheduled to start in June. Hobson promises that the upcoming season has a few surprises in store for its viewers.
Yet she wants TT women to always remember, “regardless of whatever we go through as women, we need to remember that we are our children’s mothers, we are wives to husbands, we are friends to other women, we need to keep strong and positive and know that things can get better.”
Hobson can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Facebook Majestic Make Over TT and Instagram Majesticmakeovertt.