Susan Boyle in Harper's Bazaar. You Gotta Smile; She Looks Absolutely Terrific!

In her wildest dreams, Susan Boyle never thought that she’d be sitting at Cliveden, the luxurious home of Waldorf Astor and his bride, Nancy Langhorne.

Nor did she believe that in July 2010 she would launch her own search for a duet partner for her next album. Susan has asked contestants to upload versions of contenders singing “Silent Night.”

“When I did ‘Britain’s Got Talent,’ I was given a chance by Simon Cowell to show what I could do,” said Boyle. “‘Susan’s Search’ is about giving other people an opportunity. It’s about letting them live the dream that they have always wanted to do.”

Susan Boyle’s “Susan Search”

A bit like Alice, Cliveden only existed for Susan Boyle, as a fantasy glimpse of life through the looking glass. It’s almost a year since Susan Boyle sat at Cliveden for Harper’s Bazaar, poised to launch her first album “I Have a Dream”. 

Boyle’s debut album shot to number one in more than 20 countries, and, with nine million copies sold worldwide, was one of last year’s biggest hits. What a difference a year makes. 

Let’s go back now, to one of our first glimpses of the “new” Susan Boyle, gracing the pages of August 2009 Harper’s. 

Cliveden, home to Susan Boyle’s Harper’s Bazaar photo shootNow Susan Boyle is center stage, appropriately enough, seated at Cliveden’s grand piano, for a feature article Unsung Hero for Harper’s Bazaar. Music was always Susan’s escape. Now, it’s her salvation.

Susan Boyle in Harper’s BazaarBoyle was born to a 47-year-old mother. Deprived of oxygen at birth, she suffered learning difficulties as a child. “As a kid, I was in my own wee world when I listened to records in my bedroom,” she says. “I didn’t mix with other kids much. I was frightened of people because of their reactions toward me.” Boyle hurries over what she is saying. “It’s complicated,” she says quietly. Then she brightens up. “But the best way I could express myself was in the bedroom, singing along and imagining I was entertaining people.” via Harper’s Bazaar

Susan Boyle in Harper’s BazaarIn her first major magazine interview, Susan Boyle, the plain Jane woman who who brought millions of tears to eyes around the world, goes through another transformation — one that will be discussed, debated, critiqued and applauded.

As most of us anticipated: Susan Boyle has had a makeover — we see one version of her in Harper’s Bazaar. Personally, I think Susan Boyle did a great job, maximizing the best of Susan. Anyone who works in fashion and media knows that comparatively small changes can make a big difference.

Susan Boyle for Harper’s Bazaar

Before the airbrushing debates and hater critiques for and against Susan’s ‘new look’, we see her comparatively natural, at ease, spontaneous and sincere in the video and her Harper’s Bazaar interview. She’s composed and focused after a collapse of sorts. We can only imagine the roller coaster ride that became Susan’s life.

“I think it was all boiling up,” Simon Cowell offered. “You’ve got to understand, this lady had lived alone with a cat for years and years and years, and she was really, literally, the most famous person on the planet.” via Seattle PI

It strikes me that as Susan Boyle prepares to set onto the world’s stage — with Simon Cowell at her professional size, she sounds like the Susan I met a few months back — the Blackburn woman who counted me among her astonished, tender-hearted fans.

Susan Boyle for Harper’s BazaarThe Smart Sensuality woman in me feels that Susan’s Harper’s Bazaar debut might inspire us all to reach for our dreams, even when they seems like poppycock hubris or the most incredible stupidity.

Simon assures the world that Susan’s Harper’s Bazaar isn’t the only makeover coming around the bend.

Boyle, who sifted through 350 to 400 possible tunes to include on her first November 2009 debut CD, “was blown away by some of the song choices,” Cowell said. “She’s going to surprise a lot of people with this record.” via Seattle PI

Today, let’s just enjoy the new old girl in town. Welcome to the big time, Susan Boyle. May you have an excellent, fruitful run. Anne

More from Anne:

To Hell with the Critics! Susan Boyle Has Captured America’s Heartstrings!

You Wanna Feel Good? Watch Susan Boyle Sing Her Heart Out!

New article on Dec. 2, 2009:Susan Boyle’s Smashing Debut Album

Susan Boyle’s Smashing World Debut Album