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Tammy Faye Puts on Brave New Face

July 20, 1987|BETTIJANE LEVINE | Times Fashion Editor

Tammy Faye Bakker has had the last lash.

Never mind the jokes she has doubtless heard about herself ("If they scraped off all her makeup, they'd find Judge Crater"). Never mind the song lyric that has her "baptized in Maybelline." Never mind that Time magazine likened her to Miss Piggy, and Newsweek called her hair a mop.

Despite the dozens of slurs on her appearance, Tammy Faye's amazing face is a gold mine for the media--a bigger draw than Fawn Hall, Donna Rice and Jessica Hahn combined if the media splash on her visit to a beauty salon last week was any marker.

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Not one of those younger, slimmer, scandal-clad women could have made up-front news from such a visit. But when Tammy Faye announced her cosmetic makeover, she managed to make the pages of most papers in the country.

What's more, all this hullabaloo and hallelujah was accomplished with barely the bat of a glued-on lash. In fact, Bakker's "new look" is strikingly similar to her old one, a point that befuddled many viewers as they watched the conversion coverage on TV.

And Tammy Faye, it turns out, didn't even have to pay the make-over artists for their trouble and time.

"We knew the publicity we would likely get out of doing Tammy Faye's hair and face," said cosmetic designer Coreen Cordova of San Francisco's toney 77 Maiden Lane salon, "so we offered to stay after closing hour and asked her to be our guest."

The evening must have been a blast.

"Did you ever have a sleepover when you were a kid, the kind where everyone brings out their make-up and sets their hair and talks about nothing but primping and preening and things like that? Well, that's what this evening with Jim and Tammy Faye was like," Cordova said. "No politics, no problems. We sent out for Chinese food and from 7 p.m. till midnight we had the best time."

Bakker, who accompanied his wife, had his hair trimmed. Tammy Faye had hers shaped and tinted bamboo-brown with blonde highlights, after which a make-up base, three shades of blush and three shades of eye shadow were applied. "We tried to get her away from all those frosted colors," Cordova confided.

'She Adores Make-Up'

But what about those awning-fringed eyes? "She wants to look glamorous, she adores make-up, and I was very sensitive to her trademark look--especially her eyes," Cordova said.

"She's a woman with eyelashes. That's who she is and who she wants to be. She glues them on, one by one, to her own natural lashes. She wears them day and night until they fall off. I have to respect that about her."

Tammy Faye didn't want her husband to see her until she was all done, the cosmetics expert added. "But he kept knocking at the door, as if he couldn't wait." When his wife emerged, Bakker was so delighted that he blessed her with a chaste kiss on the cheek.

A fortuitous photographer must have been lurking among the shadows. The kiss which Cordova so poignantly described was immortalized in the press the next day.

The singing evangelist whose lavish shopping sprees have been likened to those of Imelda Marcos, and whose 50-foot-deep clothes closet was lit by a cut-crystal chandelier, told Cordova that until last week she had always done her own hair and makeup.

In fact, she added, she had never even been in a beauty shop before.

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