They have done it to a trucker. They have done it to a chef. They have done it to mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, waitresses, entrepreneurs and even a radio personality. It was only a matter of time before fashion insiders Todd Ramos and Mario Romero turned their powers of fab and fashion on to one of their own.
Freelance photographer Debbie Porter had been happily snapping away during all the H Texas makeovers. She had witnessed the transformation each time and captured every before ?shame? and after ?fame? picture. She was doing her job and just minding her own business. That is, until Ramos and Romero decided to pluck her out from behind the camera and pop her in front of it for a change ? a real change.
Convincing her was not an easy task, but the duo was dying to make her over and relentless in their pursuit. Porter has been a self-employed freelance photographer for 20 years. She has been working with H Texas and Ramos for a few of those years and on the makeovers presented in the magazine recently. Over the years, she has snapped everything from sweaters for the Lands End catalog to the wedding of Houston Astro Jeff Bagwell and wife Ericka in the Hamptons. She even snapped a wedding at the foot of an erupting volcano in Mexico.
When she?s not immortalizing makeovers or dodging molten lava, she is raising two teenage boys. ?They are good boys,? she says, ?but they?re still teenagers ? gotta keep a grip on ?em.? And even Porter?s firm grip couldn?t keep one of them from totaling her car just a few days after she had paid it off. The same son had to be taken to the doctor the day of the photo shoot because he cracked two ribs in a dirt bike accident.
On that note, Porter is a self-described ?girl on the go,? confessing that she doesn?t spend a whole lot of her time primping and preening. She stresses that a ?real? makeover starts in the inside. ?I might make a good ?before? picture,? she admits, ?but I know how to clean up pretty darn well.? She confesses that her workout most of the time is not at the gym but rather lugging around her heavy camera equipment. What the guys might not have counted on was that this little ol? makeover talks back. The trio are friends, and friends don?t have to politely sit there while being coiffed, clipped and groomed. Although she agrees that during a makeover, ?Todd is the boss,? Porter is a lady with an opinion. She said that although she ?totally trusts Todd,? she wanted to make sure that she still looked like herself. She was not disappointed. As usual, the groundwork began at Romero?s Avant Garde Spa Hair and Makeup Studio. The first thing on the agenda was a hair color change. The team wanted to make Porter?s highlighted brown hair all one color.
?Her whole head was like a color wheel,? muses Romero. Ramos is less philosophical about it. ?It drove me crazy,? he says flatly. ?My mission was to get that head all one color.? Porter admits she was not sold on the idea but ?figured I could just go out the next day and get it highlighted again if I didn?t like it.? She confirms that they got it just right. ?I really like it. I am kinda surprised.?
Porter even hopped over to Dr. Franklin Rose?s office for a quick, yet substantial fix of Restylane. This in-office procedure helped Porter to reflect the youth and energy she feels.
With right-on hair, freshly-facialized face and newly tipped nails, it was time for new and improved duds to go with the new and improved self.
As the gal who is usually behind the camera, Porter gets to wear basically whatever the heck she wants. This usually consists of her tank top and jeans and her ever-present flip-flops. As a photographer, her job is physical, and she needs to dress to move.
Ramos decided to put Porter in touch with her inner girly-girl while maintaining a professional edge. Her new look did just that. Combining an Anne Klein pantsuit with a layered Armani dress shirt and an AZI T-shirt, all from Foley?s in the Galleria, Porter presents herself as the contemporary and artistic professional that she is. The pointy-toed Dolce & Gabbana pumps may not be flip-flops, but they do the trick.