A Rather Private Person Changing Rather Publicly!

A.K.A My Ottawa Makeover Project Journey: In Cathy’s Words!


Ta da! Cathy Whitney 2.0 has arrived and I am delighted!

Ottawa Makeover Project 2016 Reveal


On Wednesday, October 28, 2015 just before noon, I went to Dr. Andrea Stevens’ office expecting to meet with three of the Ottawa Makeover Project business owners as one of three finalists. Shock and surprise, that was a clever ploy to get me into the office and tell me I was the winner! Nicely played, Andrea, nicely played! (Throwback: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dk0Tem36zNM )

And, nothing will ever compare!

I’m not an expert at anything other than being ME! So, everything you have seen, read, heard or watched me do is me being me, just so you know.

Do I walk around my house with a microphone clipped to my shirt? No. Rehearse the video posts 100 times before they go up? Not so much. What was asked of me in the course of this journey is that I keep it real and that’s what I did.

I started performing stand-up comedy in 1995, but haven’t been on stage for years. So, when I’ve been in front of the camera, it was much easier for me than most, but part of that comfort was because of Stayci Keetch of Eyes on Ottawa – she is a great director!

Would I do this again? You bet! And I would put the same energy, passion and humour into the experience, start to finish!

In the course of the makeover, the OMP realm watched me experience so many things for the first time. Pretty much every single experience with the partners required me to step out of my comfort zone. A few examples…

Working out was brutal at first; it hurt quite a bit, but over time, it was easier. When I started in the gym, I could not do squats and refused to do some of the exercises Kyle wanted me to do. Sweat is just your body crying! But, by my final workout, I was rockin’ through multiple repetitions of so many exercises and banging through a 30 minute walk circuit in my neighbourhood in 20 minutes! Delightful bonus… so many of the workouts I did with Kyle, I can do at home!

Going to the dentist is tough for a lot of people for many reasons. For me, it was not in my meagre budget over the years; my kids came first and even they didn’t see a dentist regularly. Putting myself in the very capable and caring hands of Dr. Andrea Stevens & her team meant swallowing my pride and hoping I would not be judged for anything that was wrong in my mouth.That sounds so insecure and irrational, but that’s the truth. I didn’t track closely, but I would say about 75% of the time was spent on my Gum Tissue Therapy program. That was mortifying for me, but after 30 years of no professional dental maintenance, there was a lot to do. Having all 8 of my 40+ year old fillings removed and replaced was amazing. Now, I have a 100% healthy mouth – it is a game changer! So very much a smile makeover!

C L U T T E R!! That was a fire that took up residence in my home over the years, fuelled by my overwhelm, my depression, and the all but consuming grief of losing my Mom in 2009. This fire was well-fed for 20 years until December 17th, 2015, when the battle began. That fire was extinguished in grand fashion thanks to Pierrette Raymond and her team who will forever have a special place in my heart!

Sharing the scope of my clutter was hands down, the toughest part of the makeover and I know that having the Before & After happen so quickly made it easier for me. But, it was still a monumental source of shame.

My house is not perfect, I have boxes to get through and old habits to break, but the foundation has been laid for a clutter-free home and that is one of the greatest gifts in the world to me!

All the partners were equally wonderful to me and they were all part of the entire life-changing experience for me.

You probably already know that I’ve been a single parent for 22 years. What you might not know if that my EX is a total deadbeat and thanks to the Ottawa Makeover Project, my DIVORCE will be finalized in the weeks ahead.

I have taken better care of myself since 2012 after surgery. The Ottawa Makeover Project enabled me to take further steps in self-care thanks to partners like SupperWorks and Eating Well Ottawa through whom I’ve enjoyed healthy, home made meals and an incredible array of organic produce and groceries!

Live Well and Dr. Sabrina Bercovitch, gave me food for thought with the Live Well for Life program. I had a pretty decent knowledge of the concepts, but holey moley, there was a TON of valuable information and lifestyle modifications to make Cathy Whitney 2.0 a truly better version of herself!

My financial picture is pretty simple – I have no extra; I have just enough to live on, but that will change thanks to the guidance and support of the incomparable Colleen O’Connell-Campbell. Her quiet confidence is a strength I truly admire. I knew of this wonderful lady for years and admire her commitment to educating, enlightening and empowering women in transition – that certainly describes my experience and situation!

Now that you’ve SEEN Cathy Whitney 2.0, you have the visual proof of the incredible talents of Fiorella of Rinaldo and the ladies of Twiss & Weber! When I walk my daughter down the aisle TOMORROW (yes!) I will do so knowing that I look my very, very best! The fact that these wonderful women are so gracious and delightful is pure bliss!

When I was selected as the 2015-2016 Ottawa Makeover Project winner, FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY 30+ YEARS OF DRIVING, I HAD A BRAND-NEW CAR – the first person to drive it! That was total vehicular heaven-on-earth! Thanks to MYERS Kanata GM, this sweet ride enabled me to honour my commitments to the OMP partners and I logged about 10,000 km in this journey. Yes, some of that was ‘personal’, but it was a total blast to have such a sweet ride!

The tremendously talented team at True Dot Design are the technical and social media wizards behind a great deal of what you see related to the OMP. They have been such a wonderful team with whom to work on my journey and I am so grateful to them!

Last but not least, my family and friends have been so incredibly supportive during my transformation and this journey would not have been the success or amazing experience it has been without them!

A heartfelt shout-out to my daughter, Rebecca Stanley, who was my unofficial Manager, Roadie, Photographer, and all-round sanity-saving superstar! My son, Austin, was very patient with my wild and crazy schedule in terms of us having time together! I love my kids more than words could say and they are my greatest source of inspiration and a huge part of the reason that I immersed myself in this journey to be the best version of me.

I am Cathy Whitney 2.0 and I am ready for the next phase of my life. So, LIFE, are you ready for me?


Stay tuned!