The trouble began this summer, when former New York senator Al D’Amato asked President Bush to dump Dick Cheney from the 2004 ticket. John Kerry had just announced his VP pick, and footage of the boyishly handsome John Edwards provided an all-too-sharp contrast with his grumpy GOP competitor. So far, the president has resisted the call to ditch his loyal partner. And if he can rebuild Iraq, why can’t we rebuild the Veep? So as a public service, we assembled a team of makeover mavens—many of them veterans of the hit ABC series—to find out what it would take to create a kinder, gentler Dick.
1. Dr. Harvey Zarem
Plastic surgeon, Santa Monica, CA
If he’s happy with himself, he shouldn’t do anything. But assuming his wife brought him in, which is almost always the case with men of his generation, I’d recommend doing the upper and lower eyelids, with an emphasis on neatness and subtlety. We call it a blepharoplasty, and it would clean up those large pads of fat that make him look tired. He also has fat under his chin in what’s known as the submental area—Kerry fans might find that amusing. A little liposuction there would really help.
2. David Kirsch
Owner, Madison Square Club, NYC
He carries his weight in his midsection, so that’s the area we’ll want to focus on. He’s got carb face, carb body—it’s particularly apparent when he’s sitting next to Bush, who’s so fit, or even Condi, who’s practically a babe. We’d start with a 35-minute, low-impact program three to four days a week and beef up his cardio—treadmill, elliptical, and stationary bike, adding lightweight resistance as his fitness improved. In terms of diet, he’d need to avoid alcohol, bread, and starchy carbs. I’d also up his water intake, while cutting down on coffee to get to the bottom of why he’s so puffy. In six weeks I’d bring down his waist to a 36 or 37—give him a nice V-shape.
3. Laurent De Louya
Hairstylist, La Boite a Coupe Salon, NYC
Such a big, rounded face! In order to not be so rounded, I would have him grow his sideburns—not too long, just to the middle of the ear. Also, his white hair with his white skin and white glasses makes him look washed out. I would minimize it with a rinse, but still keep it gray, like, salt and pepper. Just minimize. And the part on the top has to go. Get rid of it! Off! For the cut, I’d do close and shorter—a very French style.
4. Dr. Marc Lowenberg
Cosmetic dentist, NYC
As you get older, your top teeth become worn down and your lips begin to droop. His lower teeth are crooked and discolored. He would probably knock ten years off his age by redoing them. I’d put porcelain veneers on his upper teeth to elongate them and on his lower teeth to make them look straight. People are better perceived when they have a warm and engaging smile. When someone doesn’t have one, he tends not to show his teeth, which can signal a lack of openness, engagement, and honesty.
5. Annie Brumbaugh
Personal wardrobe consultant, AB Wardrobe Works, NYC
He needs more distinction. For the suit, I’d go with a three-button in charcoal gray—an American designer, very important—with a double-beaded stripe. He’s five-ten, and the stripes would make him look taller. To add a little flair, an hombre-striped white shirt and a red tie with an orange dot pattern. His eyeglasses are the real missed opportunity. A darker frame would draw more attention to his eyes. I would choose a very simple, graphic shape—square but not too angular. They could be his signature. I’m not talking I. M. Pei, but you’d see them, and you’d think: Cheney.