Kathie Lee and Hoda Dare To Go Bare

The 'Today' show anchors ditch their makeup for a day

Following in the unpedicured footsteps of Jessica Simpson, Britney Spears and a slew of other female celebs who have all recently released images of themselves in their natural state, Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford anchored today’s Today show without a stitch of makeup.



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"That's right people, don't adjust your television sets," Kathie Lee announced. Hoda admitted she felt "naked" and "self-conscious," and was itching for just a little lip gloss and mascara to feel better.

They then showed a sped-up version of the co-hosts being made up pre-show, a la the Dove evolution video. After being hit with foundation, concealer, eyelid base, cream blush, eye shadow, gel liner, eyebrow gel, upper- and lower-lid mascara, bronzer, lipliner, lipstick, lip gloss, powder and more, they’ve got their game faces on. But for the duration of the show, KL & H remained totally bare, even allowing close-ups of their faces, during which Kathie Lee dared viewers to spot any plastic surgery scars.

The surprising impetus behind the au naturel stunt: Rosie O'Donnell. A few weeks ago, she made a few comments on her radio show about Kathie Lee having had some "adjustments" made. In solidarity of today's efforts, and as a sort of mea culpa, Rosie joined Kathie Lee and Hoda via Skype, also makeup-free. Viewers were also treated to mini-interviews with a bare-faced Meredith Viera ("This is my face, like it or not."), Ann Curry ("Sometimes I feel like, on the show, I wear enough makeup to frost a cake.") and Natalie Morales ("I usually like to go au naturel. In fact, I was once told, by somebody who thought she was giving me a compliment, 'Oh, you look so pretty on TV.'")

Honestly, I was so pleased by today's experiment. I've appeared on the Today show a number of times myself, and every time, the makeup artists apply a practical kabuki mask of makeup –- more foundation than I wore at my fifth grade Madonna-themed dance recital (trust me, it was a lot), plus a tasteful application of eye makeup and lipstick. I'm not complaining -– it makes my skin look like porcelain on camera --  but up close, the base sinks into the few wrinkles I have and ages me about 10 years. After every episode I've shot, I've immediately returned to my hotel room to scrub the stuff off, which results in two white washcloths that look like they've been used to remove mud from the bottom of my Nikes after a four-hour hike through the desert. (To see pictures of me before and after my Today show makeup, click here.)

Whenever I've been at 30 Rock, I've marvelled at how much makeup the hosts themselves wear. Hoda, Kathie Lee, Natalie, Meredith and Ann are all gorgeous, striking women, but up close, they're wearing enough makeup to sink a battleship. Seeing them today, up close and all-natural, made them so much more relatable. They looked like we look when we run to Target or leave the gym after a workout: We all have undereye circles, blemishes, lips that aren't naturally the color of mulberry wine.

The first guest on Today was a fully made-up Sofia Vergara, star of Modern Family, which was just cruel. The woman is a sex bomb, consistently placing on Most Beautiful lists worldwide. Asked if she would go without makeup, she looked horrified and replied, "I'm Columbian –- we give birth in full makeup.”

A number of female Today show viewers submitted photos of their own makeup free faces. View them here.

What did you think of Kathie Lee and Hoda going bare today? Chime in below!

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