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Rome teacher gets a makeover on the Today Show

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As if going to the city that never sleeps to sing with your favorite artist during a concert isn’t enough, try adding a free makeover and a television appearance into the mix.

That happened Thursday to Heather Willis of Cave Spring, a sixth-grade teacher at Southeast Elementary School.

She and her friend Jennifer Rogers of South Carolina went to New York City on a package tour for fans of singer-songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman. In addition to a Carnegie Hall concert Saturday, it includes the opportunity to meet him, rehearse with him and sing with him.

“We arrived in New York the night before at 10 p.m., and we just walked around looking at all the lights and just enjoying the city,” Willis said. “Then we went back to the hotel and decided to sleep for maybe three hours and get up so we could go to the Today Show and wait outside.”

Willis said they never expected what happened next. “We were out there, waiting, thinking maybe we’d wave and get on camera, and then the makeover crew came around asking if we would be willing to do a makeover and be on the show,” she said. “We could not believe it!”

Willis and Rogers were taken inside to a room full of designer clothing, and they picked out outfits. They were given haircuts and styling and had their makeup done.

“I mean, these are people who do Susan Sarandon’s hair, and they are doing our hair,” said Willis. “It was amazing.”

Willis had no fear about the makeover, she said.

“They asked me, ‘Can we cut your hair, do you mind going shorter?’ and I said ‘Of course, do what you want,’” she laughed. “I mean, it is hair; it will grow.”

After the two friends were made over, they were taken on set and were on air with Kathie Lee and Hoda.

“That made it even better because I love Kathie Lee,” said Willis. “We walked out, and it was a little scary, because you have the cameras on and you are in high heels and trying not to be nervous. But it was so much fun.”

“Remember, also, we had not slept much,” she added. “We had thought, oh, yeah, hang out at the Today Show and get on camera maybe then go back and sleep a bit, but that didn’t happen. We were out for 10 hours. We were exhausted, but it was worth it.”

After they were finished, Willis called her family to let them know about her star moment.

“After they found out, my seven year old son was able to have his second grade class watch the broadcast, so they all saw us get the makeover,” Willis said. “My two year old son watched it at home and they told me he said, ‘Momma’ when he saw me. That made me feel great.”

Willis is looking forward to surprising her own class with her new look and her TV debut.

“They don’t know yet,” she said, talking about her sixth grade class at Southeast Elementary. “They are going to be so excited. I can’t wait to get back and replay the show for them..”