What It Takes to Look Like a Celeb
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What It Takes to Look Like a Celeb

We asked pros who push, poke, and prod the rich and famous: What does it really take to get a red-carpet-worthy body? It turns out achieving perfection is a full-time job that takes time and money. But there are things you can do right now to improve what you've got.

Incredible Abs

What Some Stars Do

To get the slender waist and washboard definition of a Victoria's Secret model, you'll need to banish belly fat, and that probably means watching every single bite you put in your mouth. Yes, a few lucky stars are blessed with a calorie-torching metabolism, but most stay super-slim by sticking "full-time, full-out" to a diet of lean protein and healthy whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, says celebrity nutritionist Oz Garcia. No junk food. Ever.

Add to that a minimum of 30 to 45 minutes of cardio, plus half an hour of abdominal exercises, six days a week. The Biggest Loser trainer Jillian Michaels says a flat belly requires much more than crunches, according to her new book Slim for Life: My Insider Secrets to Simple, Fast, and Lasting Weight Loss. To get a really toned middle you have to do it all: the no-excuses diet, the cardio, and a bunch of different abs workouts, including sit-ups and bicycle crunches -- even leg lifts.

If the dress code calls for a bare belly, spray-tanner-to-the-stars Jimmy Coco visually fakes defined abs by creating strategic shadows down the center and sides of the body.

It's a not-so-well-kept secret that socialites, celebrities, and models often fast or do so-called cleanses. They may live (dangerously, say some experts) on concoctions of lemon juice, water, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup, plus laxatives, for three days or longer to drop a size or two before award shows or other big events.

Liposuction, anyone? Quite a few stars seek expensive surgery to suck away stubborn bulges -- sometimes with multiple procedures, which can increase risks.

What Crazy Folks Do

Los Angeles wardrobe stylist Lindsay Albanese had one red-carpet client who cinched her middle with an Ace bandage, wrapped tightly under her clothes, corset-style. "It did define her waist a little more, but it was ridiculous," she says.

Real-Person Plan

Super-restrictive diets aren't doable -- or healthy -- in the long run. But you can melt belly fat by avoiding sugar and other processed foods.

Interval training may banish belly fat more quickly than steady cardio, says a study. Try 20 minutes of interval sprints, three days a week.

If you're very pale, a light, natural-looking overall faux tan or bronzing product can make you look thinner.

Shapewear does help. Even celebs say they love their Spanx.

Amazing Arms

What Some Stars Do

Celebrities are beauty icons for a reason -- they usually start out blessed to begin with. This is particularly true when it comes to star-quality triceps, cut biceps, and sculpted shoulders: The best way to get them is (sigh) to be born with them. "Some people are just genetically predisposed," says Eileen Daspin, author of The Manhattan Diet: Lose Weight While Living a Fabulous Life.

After having clients do at least half an hour of near-daily cardio, celebrity fitness trainer Tracy Anderson gets them to strap on wrist weights for 15 additional minutes of arm-toning moves.

It also helps to be young: The skin and connective tissue of the upper arms can sag with age, leading to dreaded batwings.

What Crazy Folks Do

Brachioplasty (or arm-lift) can permanently remove fat and excess skin from the upper arms. But you'll pay a minimum of $3,000 to $4,000 and, as with all surgery, it poses risks, including nerve damage and uneven results.

Real-Person Plan

Diet and exercise can reduce the arm fat that hides muscle definition. Choose activities that tone the upper body, such as rowing, swimming, and dancing, over legs-only activities like cycling.

Wear sleeves. It sounds like a no-brainer, but sleeveless tops aren't flattering on everyone. Stylist Albanese steers even her firmest-limbed clients toward sleeves when they'll be gesturing or applauding: "I know how it's going to look on a talk show when they're waving their arms around."

Gorgeous Hair

What Some Stars Do

When it comes to full, shiny hair, you get what you pay for. A-list manes look gorgeous thanks to super-elite hairdressers who charge hundreds of dollars for cuts and color and aren't available to just anyone. In fact, many celebrities have personal hair stylists who travel with them, which can cost several thousand dollars a day, says Hollywood stylist Frank Galasso.

Professional styling is a must for public appearances. (You didn't think those ladies did their own 'dos, did you?)

When you see a star on the red carpet, chances are her natural hair has been amped up with a hairpiece, extensions, or a wig. "Even if I'm doing an updo, the amount of extra hair that goes into giving someone the bun she wants is far more than what humans actually have," says Galasso.

What Crazy Folks Do

For truly superhuman manes, many stars wear hair extensions 24/7, says Galasso. A full head of premium human-hair extensions starts at $3,000 to $4,000 and needs to be redone every three to four months.

Real-Person Plan

Get the best cut you can afford. Experiment with stylists until you find one who makes you look and feel your best.

Schedule regular salon visits every four to eight weeks to keep your look consistent.

Ditto haircolor. Color done by a pro usually looks richer and more natural than DIY dye.

Hot-styling tools can damage strands, as can too much coloring, perming, or straightening. Condition hair well and process it as little as possible.

To get star-quality style, try a salon blowout (about $50 and up) for special occasions.

Starting at around $100, you can buy temporary, reusable human-hair extensions that clip in near the scalp -- a great "accessory" for parties. (A salon can even dye the extensions to match your hair).

Stunning Smile

What Some Stars Do

Famous smiles are often tweaked with expensive cosmetic intervention -- and plenty of it. Some budding stars (and even some established ones) get braces. And many smile icons get resin bonding, crowns, and other cosmetic dental work to achieve that evenly spaced perfection. In the film Les MisÚrables, many of the actors had to wear plastic molds over their gleaming, straight teeth to make them look more realistic for the 19th-century setting.

Standard whitening won't do for A-listers, who order up custom-made porcelain veneers to permanently brighten their smiles -- at up to $3,000 a tooth. "Most of them want very white teeth, and veneers can come in fantastically bright colors," says New York cosmetic dentist Irwin Smigel, DDS. Though ultra-dazzling teeth are nice on camera, in person they can look a little freakish. A recent grinning photo that Snookie tweeted of herself looks like she was wearing a mouthful of Chiclets.

What Crazy Folks Do

Believe it or not, a cosmetic dentist can perform a "nonsurgical facelift," building up certain teeth with veneers or crowns to add support to a sagging lower face. At an average of $30,000 to $36,000, this one's for the rich and famous only.

Real-Person Plan

Daily brushing and flossing, plus twice-a-year cleanings (no excuses) can really make a difference. You also may want to consider adult orthodontics to align your teeth once and for all.

Drugstore whitening strips can brighten teeth a shade or two. A professional treatment at the dentist's office will do it more quickly. You'll need to avoid foods and drinks that stain to keep up the look.

Sexy Butt

What Some Stars Do

The ideal tush today is toned, round, high, and perched, of course, on firm, slender, cellulite-free thighs. On top of being born with the raw material, many celebs with great rear views work hard on their assets, eating clean diets and doing tons of focused exercises -- lunges, leg lifts, squats -- on top of booty-boosting cardio such as dancing and jogging and overall toners such as yoga and Pilates. Kim Kardashian hits the gym at least four or five days a week, and she's no stranger to 6 a.m. workouts to keep herself in A-list shape, says her trainer, Gunnar Peterson.

Though nobody's admitting to wearing them, foam pads aren't unheard of in Hollywood -- at least if you believe photos of a few supposedly naturally gifted stars sporting telltale lumps and bulges. Frederick's of Hollywood, for example, sells an Invisible Fanny Panty with removable foam padding for $26.

A subtly shaded spray tan can visually slenderize the thighs, making the derriere look higher and curvier by comparison. "I visually shave down the saddlebag area by making it a bit darker down the side of the leg," says tanner Coco.

What Crazy Folks Do

Some less-endowed celebs boost their curves with surgery: liposuction, fat grafting, implants, or a combination of procedures known as a Brazilian Butt Lift. The name is cute but the potential hazards aren't: In 2009 a former Miss Argentina died as a result of complications from a gluteoplasty.

Real-Person Plan

A healthy diet and regular exercise can make a major difference. For a higher, rounder, firmer bottom, try cardio that also firms the thighs and glutes, such as stair-climbing or walking up hills.

The wrong undergarments can add thigh and booty bulges that aren't actually there. Stay smooth with a thong, boyshorts, or that perennial red-carpet go-to: Spanx.