Homeless Veteran Video Makeover Goes Viral

Tuesday, 12 Nov 2013 01:44 PM

By Clyde Hughes

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The time-lapse transformation of a Michigan homeless Army veteran getting a haircut and changing clothes has garnered an eye-popping 12 million views on YouTube since Nov. 6.

The video, which shows of the physical transformation of Jim Wolf, of Grand Rapids, Mich., seems to have created an emotional pull for viewers. 

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"The homeless are people we ignore every day," video producer Rob Bliss told The Blaze last week. "(If) they can look like they're meant for the cover of GQ — they have that potential too. For me, personally, I’ve been trying to get more into doing things for a better purpose." 

Bliss said that he was inspired by the Dove personal care video in which a woman was transformed with hair, makeup, and Photoshop into a model. Bliss said that he wanted to show the transformation can reveal who they can be.

That's when hair stylist Anna Walt and Wolf came into the picture for a September makeover and shoot.

"I love people and I love helping people," Walt told the Grand Rapids Press. "That's my heart and my passion." 

Walt said she met Wolf for the first time the day before the makeover. Wolf talked about the Detroit Lions, Detroit Tigers, and shared memories of his mother.

"I expected him to be a little quiet and a little shy," Walt said. "He just had story after story."

That all changed once the makeover began and the transformation starting taking shape.

"He was a huge talker," Bliss said. "But I was amazed that he was silent through the process."

Wolf could only say "wow" when he saw his transformation for the first time in a full-length mirror, Bliss told The Blaze.

"We all have an image of ourselves," Marge Palmerlee, executive director of Degage, a nonprofit that caters to veterans, including Wolf, in the Grand Rapids-area said. "When he saw the difference, he just … felt very enlightened and uplifted. I could just tell the difference in Jim."

Palmerlee said since the makeover, Wolf moved into his own apartment and has been attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. She said she hopes the video will help change the stereotypes surrounding veterans and the homeless.

"Everyone is worthy of being treated with dignity and respect," Palmerlee told The Blaze.

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