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Paula Jones Works on Her Court Appearance

January 15, 1998

Every political event spawns its conspiracy theories. Those who maintain that Paula Jones, the Arkansas woman who is suing President Clinton claiming sexual harassment, is a pawn of the political right, might be interested in the make-over she's undergone--and the reasons behind it. Any woman suddenly in the glare of TV cameras and news photographers would want to look her best. But in this case, the more attractive Jones looks, the more credible her claim that a public figure would have been willing to risk the kingdom, so to speak, to dally with her. And when she presents herself as an attractive, sophisticated woman instead of a ditzy Southern babe, she has a better chance of being taken seriously.

When she first went public four years ago, Jones wore unflattering polka-dot dresses and bows in her long, cruelly permed dark brown hair. Her eyebrows were plucked into obscurity, her makeup was harsh.

By October (middle two photos) she'd learned to blow-dry the frizzies out, had soft, straight bangs cut, filled in her eyebrows with dark pencil and adopted a more muted shade of lipstick. Then she went to work on her wardrobe, substituting dark, business-like suits for those corn-pone dresses.

At a press conference last week in Long Beach, she was looking sophisticated yet soft for what many hope will be the final chapter in her campaign for respect and compensation. In the photograph at far right, taken last week, her hair is subtly highlighted, her makeup is a tawny rhapsody, and her tailored, chocolate brown outfit is positively chic.

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