It's very easy for makeover shows to send out a negative message. When you see TV personalities picking apart a regular woman's wardrobe, home decor, and love life, it usually comes off as catty and not caring. Lifetime's new makeover show Girlfriend Intervention wants to change your mind about that. "We come from a very empowering standpoint for our women," says Girlfriend Intervention's resident style expert Tiffiny Dixon during a conference call with reporters. "It's really about joining together as sisters, understanding that we all go through the same issues and kind of sharing how we get through our issues with each other, so that we can just continue marching on, on through life."
Tiffiny, along with her fellow cast of experts that includes Tracy Balan (beauty), Nikki Chu (home), and Tanisha Thomas (soul), who was also on the conference call with Tiffiny, hopes to help women regain their self-confidence and live life to the fullest every week on Girlfriend Intervention. Because the coaches are black women trying to get white women to embrace their inner "strong black woman" as the show's intro says, Girlfriend Intervention immediately draws comparisons to Queer Eye for the Straight Guy where five gay men with their own areas of expertise transformed sloppy straight men into well-groomed metrosexuals, as Variety's Brian Lowry pointed out in his critique of the new series. However, Tiffiny and Tanisha believe that the unique bond the experts form with the women, which continues even after they appear on the show, is what differentiates it from Queer Eye.
"It's really a sisterhood," Tanisha says. "We're the girlfriends that everyone wants to have, and we really make over the women from the inside out."
Sure, in some ways the show is the antithesis to female empowerment. As with most makeover shows, much of the emphasis is placed on changing the way a woman looks. The focus of the dramatic reveal is not how appearing on Girlfriend Intervention has changed her as a person, but how it has helped her find flattering clothes and the right color for her hair. But the women featured in the two episodes that I've seen do seem to feel happier and be more confident in themselves by the end of the episode. At least, that's what it looks like.
Tiffiny believes that changing a woman's appearance can dramatically impact how she feels about herself and even change her life. "You really can show a woman how to empower herself or use her personal style as an empowerment tool," Tiffiny says. "Sometimes that small thing is big enough to launch you into the next chapter of your life."
In fact, one of the main messages of the show is that women need to speak up more and focus on their own needs, rather than always on the needs of their families. Tanisha says that women need to be reminded that they do matter.
"I think it's all about making sure you do have a voice, making sure you're doing the things you need to do for a meaningful, happy, abundant life," Tanisha says. "Do whatever you need to do to live out loud and be the best woman you can be. Life is short, and it's uncertain. You should just always live it up."
Image: Richard Knapp/Lifetime (2)