I've never been able to nail the whole "looking polished" thing. My clothes always have holes, or paint on them, my hair never behaves and I wear the same pair of misshapen brown brogues every day.

So, when my boss asked me to get styled by the Real Housewives of Auckland star Angela Stone for a story about finding my more glamorous inner-self, I was a little hesitant.

Stone walks into our styling session like the chalk to my cheese. She's glossy and polished and exuding womanly confidence. I'm frizzy, scruffy and a bit shy.

Angela Stone, one of the Real House Wives of Auckland helps New Zealand Herald reporter Sarah Harris during her make over. Photo / Greg Bowker
Angela Stone, one of the Real House Wives of Auckland helps New Zealand Herald reporter Sarah Harris during her make over. Photo / Greg Bowker

But Stone graciously looks past my tattered hems, holey skirt and home-sewn singlet. She's all eye contact, smiles and compliments while she tells me about the "journey" of style.


"Fashion for me has always been a vehicle into other people's lives," she says.

"I've always found it to be like my car, it takes me into places but once you get in there it's a whole other world."

On RHOAKL Stone is depicted as the super nice, though rather fluffy, Christchurch woman that some of the other housewives struggle to relate to. She naively causes her share of the drama, like when she insults the others by gifting them her styling book on their first meeting.

Showing New Zealand Herald readers her real self is the main reason Stone wanted to make me over. Perhaps a reaction to starring on a show carefully designed by a team of meticulous producers.

Stone, who's signed a three-year contract, didn't expect the amount of conflict or selective editing seen on the show. She admits it's all real but parts can easily be taken out of context when eight hours of talking is whittled down to two minutes.

"They [producers] really know what they're doing ... Everything is real, but it gets magnified," she tells me.

"I'm very different from everyone on it. I'm the real housewife. I mow lawns, I do the gardens, I cook for my children."

Stone appears to be the ultimate woman - beautiful, clever, a sassy entrepreneur with a brood of kids. And she knows her stuff. She shares a constant stream of fashion tips - the higher the neckline the bigger your bust looks, everyone should wear super-supportive underwear, nude shoes elongate the leg and dark lipstick makes lips look smaller.

Stone is more businesswoman than stylist. By 21 she had hundreds of people working for her after founding the Portfolio Model Agency. Now 44, she runs one of the country's biggest styling agencies, has written two books and released a clothing line.

The first thing Stone does is work out which colour pallete best suits me; summer, autumn, winter or spring. It turns out I'm a winter, the same as Stone, which means big bold colours with a blue undertone suit me best.

Stone briefs the makeup artist to do me up looking "clean, fresh and modern". When I look in the mirror I'm taken aback. I'm sure some people would consider it an improvement but for someone who rarely wears makeup my face looks all clogged up. I look older, and more boring. I don't feel real.

But not one to let the team down I plunge ahead into deeper makeover territory.

We head off in Stone's diamond-printed car to Glamour Boutique in Newmarket. In store lie racks of ballgowns and cocktail dresses I never have the occasion to wear. Stone expertly picks out a few in the winter pallete, although I put my foot down when she suggests a hot pink turtleneck dress - sorry it's just not my jam.

And what she picked was surprisingly flattering. I would never think to wear those dresses but they looked good, and polished even. The first structured purple, pencil-skirted number made me feel like a news presenter. I would have looked professional if I had known how to walk in those too-high heels.

After the styling session finishes I get to relax with Stone. She admits that while the show has been hard, she doesn't regret it.

"I'm not used to conflict. I'm used to working with people who really appreciate what you do. Not people who personally attack you about your body.

"But if it doesn't kill you, it makes you stronger.

"[Life] is about being real, about being authentic, it's about being really honest."

With that in mind I head home, wash the make-up off my face and head out the door to play basketball with my boyfriend. I'm not as glamorous as I was a few hours ago, but I'm a hell of a lot more real.