Marielle Bobo of Ebony, Alexis Garrett Stodghill of, Rachel Jeantel, Jamilah Lemieux of, and Ericka N. Goodman of Ebony participated in the creation of the makeover. (Photo by Marie Francois)

Marielle Bobo of Ebony, Alexis Garrett Stodghill of, Rachel Jeantel, Jamilah Lemieux of, and Ericka N. Goodman of Ebony participated in the creation of the makeover. (Photo by Marie Francois)

Rachel Jeantel loves Manhattan, she told me during her latest trip. After a round of press last summer following her appearance during the George Zimmerman trial, Jeantel returned to New York recently — this time to be photographed for a timely makeover.

These glamour shots appear in the December/January Power 100 issue of Ebony magazine, and embody her blossoming identity of a teen becoming a young lady.


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Now preparing to embark on a new future, garnered in part by her bittersweet exposure to the limelight, theGrio partnered with Ebony to help Jeantel mature in her personal style.

Rachel takes New York

Rachel came for the beauty and fashion, but underneath it all was all business. She came off the plane from Miami to get her new look clutching a text book. Currently in counselling paid for by radio host Tom Joyner to help her cope with losing her friend Trayvon Martin, Rachel is handling the vacillations of life with a bold heart. And ignoring her critics.

“I don’t really care about that,” Rachel told theGrio of the cruel backlash she faced upon becoming well-known. “I can’t let them put me down. I was there to help a friend out,” she said of testifying when others might have chosen to remain anonymous.

(Continue Reading @ The Grio…)

  • SayWhat

    I have mixed feelings.
    1. There was never a reason for the make-over, she has always been a beautiful young lady and quite frankly I don’t see the difference and 2. Why does a make-over always involve a weave? It is the same thing that they did to Gabby Douglas, people made fun of her hair and she was quickly given a weave.

    I wish make-overs involved enhancing a woman’s natural beauty which includes celebrating the hair that they were born with (whether it has chemicals or not), because whether we want to admit it or not, getting a weave to ‘improve’ your look does send a subliminal message about what is ‘acceptable/beautiful’ in our society.

  • RJ

    I agree. Everytime I see a makeover on a black woman they are adding a weave to her hair. The women who did her hair maid some silly comment about hair being and accessory and everyone wants their hair to look nice.

    Sometimes the woman in question is holding on to scraggly hair to have long hair. All they really need to tod is shape the hair and the person would look great but they put a full weave in and they start looking like one of the Braxton’s or one of the females on Real Housewives of Atlanta.

    So many of us think we are in control but we are constantly singing someone else’s song.

  • Tina L

    Good for them and for her. I couldn’t imagine being thrown in the national spotlight w/ meager resources to control my message and appearance. The woman who testified from her bed via video had it even worse.

  • SMH

    There is nothing wrong with the way she looks. I think like many southern blacks she could benefit from a speech therapist. I’m from the south and yes people (regardless of race) do judge you based on how you speak. In her defense most of the people around her probably sound like she does so it’s normal to her. It doesn’t become evident that you speak differently than other people until you leave your environment and are around other black people who speak articulately (and I don’t mean sounding white). She doesn’t need to adopt the vernacular or speech patterns of white individuals to sound intelligent but a speech therapist to assist in enunciating her words and eliminating the lisp or thick tongued (I hate to say mush mouth) way she speaks would probably help boost her confidence in speaking. She doesn’t need any new make up, clothes, or weave so unless they are going to do something for her that will have lasting effects it’s all being done for their benefit instead of hers IMO.

  • Mystified

    this is insanity…makeover for what? Perhaps she should stop smoking marijuana and go watch the news as opposed to the weather. Oh and pick up a book now and again!

  • Not Enough

    The best makeover you can give an obese teen with poor communicational skills is 1. A Healthy eating coach 2. Yoga, Pilates, cardio trainer 3. Speach therapist 4. School tutor

    As i look at this list, I’m thinking the sad part is she is the average black teen. The black community is sending kids out into the world completely unprepared for life.

  • NirvanaSaidSo

    I am floored at some of these ignorant comments about her weight, speech and communication skills!! How many of you are able to speak 5 languages like this young lady? How many would have stood up and testified for their friend or do you live by the ghetto mentality of “snitched get stitches” and keep your mouth shut while observing your own community get destroyed by criminals??

  • alexisgarrettstodghill

    Hello, she is being tutored, with monies provided by Tom Joyner. She actually has a huge entourage of mentors helping her in school and life. -Alexis Garrett Stodghill

  • geenababe

    Don’t be too surprise it’s the internet. We had an article with triplets who all three graduated from college with high honors and you want to know what some people focus on the names of the women.

  • Aria Wilson

    She looks nice, but I agree with others about the hair though…It would have been awesome of those Black women to teach her how to style and take care of HER own hair instead of slapping in some weave she probably won’t be able to afford to have maintained. I am glad they did this for her though, especially after the ton of shade being thrown at her.

    Has she started school? I mean, she DID accept his scholarship, right?

    Please say she did…..

  • Winnie

    What are the five languages she speaks?

  • Not Enough


    Your attitude towards self improvement is as bad as that stop snitching nonsense. It’s sad that you don’t realize they’re the same.

    Yes, she testified and she did a horrible job as a witness testifying because she has poor communicational skills, and is poorly educated to the point that she didn’t realize her attitude has an effect on being believable and persuasive to the courtroom jury. What good is 5 languages if you can’t fluently speak the language of the country you’ve been in the last 15+ years? Enough with the excuses! A 5 year old knows how and when they can have an attitude and how to act and be persuasive when they WANT something.

  • Winnie

    Is this thing on? WHAT FIVE LANGUAGES?

  • J

    I think thats lovely, but what touched me most was the counselling paid for by tom joyner ( maybe i’m late to the party), I think its easily overlooked how traumatic something like that can be for those still her and young adulthood are already such a confusing time as it is

  • Pats

    this is PERVERSE. the witness in a criminal case gets a make-over? welcome to america where the answer to all your problems is a make-over. no wonder i don’t read lame ebony!

  • Genr

    she can’t speak 5 languages given that she can’t even speak english properly. heaven forbid, we hear her speak spanish the way she speaks english. she was terrible! but we have low expectations for her so we are supposed to think she was wonderful. smdh at black folks.

  • Passing here

    There are no five languages. She has been in the states since she was what 5? She can’t speak English properly. A person who is truly multilingual would speak the language they speak most often with better ease. Based on her english skills, it is clear she just puts words together here and there. There is no way in heaven this woman speaks those other 5 languages. Kerry Washington speaks 6 languages and based on her english skills and her Georgetown degree, I believe her. This woman is 19, still in high school and can’t put a sentence together to support her best friend who was murdered. Come on now.

  • Des

    Not just a speech therapist but a grammar coach. Our kids need to know they need to speak an English that will get them through an interview. Right now, she couldn’t get through an interview at McDonald’s. Keeping it real.

  • Let’s be honest

    All of you who say she speaks wonderfully well, if you were the CEO of a top company and your company was hiring a first year Analyst, would you hire her? Thank you.

  • Sandy248

    The problem wasn’t how she looked. It was that she came off like she had an attitude. She made it sound like she didn’t care what happened to her friend while he was getting killed just as long it didn’t bother her. No amount of makeup and hairstyling can cover a callous attitude.

  • Stop judging

    She has a speech impediment. Its an underbite that requires surgery. That is largely the reason for her poor speaking. The surgery will fix that, and a speech coach will do the rest. She speaks French Creole, Spanish, and English. Her parents are from Haiti and The Dominican Republic. It is good that people are helping this young woman with her education and her presentation. I hope someone helps her pay for that surgery to help her speak better.

  • Ms. Vee


  • NirvanaSaidSo

    I stand corrected, she speak 3 languages: Creole, Spanish, and English!

  • Margaret Opine

    RACHEL J.: I LOVED YOU THEN, I LOVE YOU NOW; YOU DON’T NEED TO DO A THING AT EIGHTEEN BUT BE YOURSELF… BUT IF YOU WANT INTO THE MEDIA-GLAMOUR WORLD AS A LIFE-EXPERIENCE THEN GO FOR IT AND EVEN WRITE YOUR BOOK. But you don’t have to change anything about yourself for me because I don’t need you to “look a certain way” or “sound a certain way” for me to find a killer guilty of a murder he admits he did…if I was on the jury. I got sense enough to know that I don’t look any better or worse than you in most people’s eyes. We all look good over here and we all look bad over there. So then, why do you have to look a certain way for some nil-brain woman to find a killer guilty when he says he did the crime? (Enjoy the experience but remember YOU’RE GREAT just as you are.)–MO

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