You may have seen Marie Varney on television Tuesday morning, but you might not have recognized her.
Varney, 41, of Frankfort, was selected as a finalist in the “LIVE with Kelly and Michael: Look as Young as You Feel” contest and the results of her makeover — the prize as a finalist — were revealed on air Tuesday.
“I love it,” Varney said, on a phone call from New York, where the show is filmed. “I feel fresher, younger. I feel like 10 pounds has been taken away. I feel slimmer.”
Part of the “weight” taken off no doubt came from the 14 inches cut from Varney’s hair during the makeover. The hair was donated through Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths program, which turns donated hair into wigs for women cancer patients. This is the fourth time in 10 years Varney has donated her hair.
In clips of Varney’s story from the show, she said she has aged a lot in the last decade. In 2003, she gave birth to a son who had a severe heart condition. After spending months in the hospital, her son died.
Varney and her husband, Chris, also have two daughters, Camry and Haley. Camry will graduate from high school in June.
“As a mom, I feel like she’s leaving,” Varney said. “I know everything she’s worked for, so it’s a great feeling, but it’s also a great sadness.”
Varney said she’s proud of her daughter and wanted a new look when supporting Camry at her graduation.
Varney records “LIVE with Kelly and Michael” on DVR and watches the show as she exercises in the evenings. When she first saw the contest, it piqued her interest, but she waited until close to the deadline to enter.
A preschool teacher at Western Hills High School’s Learning Center, Varney first found out she’d been selected as a finalist during one of the school district’s many snow days, and couldn’t believe it.
“I just felt so blah and so ugh — I was blessed to be chosen to come here,” she said. “It’s been a whirlwind.”
Varney and her husband flew into Newark, N.J., Thursday, and she said they will always remember their cab ride from the airport into the city.
“That was an experience,” she said.
Over the last six days, the couple visited the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Times Square, and now that the makeover is completed, they’re on their way back to Frankfort.
But the fun might not be over yet.
Beginning today, viewers can vote for one of the three contest finalists to win a trip to Los Angeles to sit along the red carpet at the Oscars and earn VIP tickets to LIVE’s After Oscar special Monday.
Votes can be cast at livekellyandmichael.com; the winner will be announced during Friday’s show.
Varney encouraged her community to show its support.
“Go get on that website, and send this Kentucky girl one more time,” she said.