The Swan (found FOX reality television show; 2004)

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The Swan.jpg

Logo for the show

Status: Found

Date found: 26 Apr 2023

Found by: GrigioGuy

The Swan is an reality television show aired on FOX on April 7th, 2004 to December 20th, 2004 with a total of 18 episodes. The series was hosted by Irish television presenter, Amanda Bryam. The show follows two "ugly ducklings" who go through an extreme makeover in the course of three months with a therapist, personal trainer, surgeon, and dentist. These extreme makeovers were chosen by surgeons rather than the contestants. After the three months ended, one of the two women will be chosen who is more attractive to move forward to compete in a beauty pageant at the end of the season. Following the pageant, whoever received the most votes with the greatest transformation will be titled "The Swan."

Controversy and Criticism

While The Swan premiered to high ratings and averaged over 9 million viewers for its first season, it was universally panned from critics, focusing on the negative body images and its harsh elements. One of its criticism was the contestants being isolated from their family and friends, only having brief phone calls each week. The contestants were also not allowed to look at mirrors for three months until the end when the final transformation is revealed with the team behind them.[1] The show was completely controversial, with USA Today calling it;

“Hurtful and repellent even by reality's constantly plummeting standards, The Swan is proof that the genre's hucksters have no built-in boundaries. They will plumb ever lower depths until the market, or the courts, stops them.”[2]

It was very harsh as the women had extensive plastic surgery in a short time and had to do excerises for two hours a day, six days a week. If they didn't keep up, the show's creator and the "life coach" will berate them, one of the contestants being berated for ordering cream cheese, telling her that "she’d be a tub if she were to continue eating a tub of cream cheese".

Another controversy was in 2005, when one of the writers came out and admitted that the staff manufactured the dialogue and situations. The writer claimed that at one point, she made Rachel Love-Fraser's husband appeared unhappily married to her, quote;

"In a pre-interview, I led her husband to say Rachel looks average, but he thought she looked beautiful. I cut it down to him saying she looks average, so he sounded like a mean, horrible a–hole. He was furious when he saw the show"[3]

One of the surgeons, Randal Halworth also came out saying that they were encouraged to not say certain things, sometimes being told to say the same thing to different contestants, eliminating nuance and differences from the patients.[4][5]

Contestant's Response and Lorrie Arias

The show's contestants had no emotional support and were sabotaged of their self-esteem. While there was a therapist on the show to help them, it didn't went well. According to articles and reports, Lynn Lani never had the credential, and instead had her PHD on an online institution, being California Coast University[6] With some surprise, a lot of contestants experience serious problems and disorders after the show, and after the show was cancelled, contestants came out on how bad their experience was on the show while others defended the show for bringing their self-esteem up. One of these contestant that came out with their experience was Lorrie Arias from season 2, about how bad the experience did to her over the years.

In 2004, Lorrie Arias auditioned for the show for a tummy tuck. Arias was mad that he had worked so hard to get healthy, losing 150 pounds in 1995, and still had so much extra skin. As a result of her story, she was selected to be a contestant on The Swan. Once Arias gotten on set, doctors and surgeons decided to give Arias more procedures than expected, making Arias the contestant to have the most procedures. The procedures she was given were;

  • Tummy Tuck
  • Buttock Lift
  • Inner Thigh lift
  • Dual Facelift
  • Upper lip Lift
  • Upper and Lower Eye Lift
  • Endoscopic Brow Lift
  • Rhinoplasty
  • Breast Augmentation
  • Breast Lift

What is considered the most unnerving reaction was Aria herself when she saw what she looked like after the three months ended. Aria only saw a small glimpse of herself, but when the three months ended and was given access to the mirror, she had a quiet surprise on air and lost it once the cameras turned off quote;

"I was screaming for the executive producer," she said. "I was screaming, 'I want my face back!' That's how freaked out I was. Intelligently, I knew that was impossible. But it was so weird. It was like looking at somebody else, but it was you."[7]

After appearing as a contestant, her friends and family gave her lots of negative reactions, lots were jealous and other were uncertain about who she had become. The lattest group being her two sons, who said at the time "she doesn't look that much like my mom anymore."[7]


The Swan was then cancelled in the same year it aired due to backlash and low ratings. In 2013, FOX said they're bringing back the series as a two-hour television special called 'Celebrity Swan, but in 2018, it was cancelled and is no longer in development. Only clips of the show were online, with no full episodes resurfacing for 13 years.

On April 26th, 2023, Lost Media Wiki user, GrigioGuy uploaded all the episodes from season 1 and season 2 on the Internet Archive, being the first time the episodes have seen the light of day since their original broadcast.[8]

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