by Sophia Panych
Getty ImagesVictoria's Secret's annual runway show may not air until December 10th, but we all know from our Instagram accounts that the whole sparkle-filled shebang was filmed last night right here in New York City. From the images we've seen so far, the flesh on display was as taut and toned as ever. These women work out. A lot. But I recently learned that it may be more than lunges (and genetic good fortune) that lets the Angels wear those Cheekinis with pride. Many of them also visit aesthetician Ildi Pekar a day or two before the show for her butt-firming treatment. (They shall remain nameless, though--Pekar is tight-lipped about the butts she has treated.) So does it really work? Is it painful? Could it make me look like an Angel (at least from behind)? There was only one way to find out: Try it for myself.
Pekar started off by, in her words, "liquefying the fat cells" in my butt and thighs with a radiofrequency machine. The wand felt warm, but not hot, and only hurt when she ran it over a tight glute muscle. Next up was the B.E.A.M. portion of the process. An acronym for Bio Electric Acceleration Management, it's basically a fancy way to describe a machine that mechanically contracts and relaxes muscles using electrodes (if you've ever had physical therapy you may have seen one). "This machine gets very, very deep into the muscles, so prepare to be a bit sore tomorrow," Pekar said as she stuck about 25 electrode pads all over my bare backside. The contractions felt funny at first, not painful... then I found out I was at the lowest setting. "Some of the models ask me to crank the machine up so high that their legs jump up off the table," said Pekar. "They want to see results fast, so they put up with the discomfort." Feeling competitive, I asked her to see how high I could go. I didn't make it to Mexican jumping bean level, but I did go intense enough that I was clenching my Tempur-Pedic pillow with white knuckles. After 20 minutes of muscle contractions, it was, mercifully, time for the grand finale: a layer of Pekar's "crazy cream." This stuff, which she imports from Europe, heats up and keeps your body temperature raised so that you--supposedly--continue to burn off fat after you leave the spa. The cream kept me comfortably warm in the 35-degree weather, but once I was inside, the heat definitely stung for at least a half-hour.
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So did I wake up the next day to the butt of an Angel? Not quite. My butt feels a little firmer and I'm pretty sure there's less cellulite than before, but it's definitely not ready for prime time (or even late-night cable). Further confirmation that nothing competes with a good diet and regular exercise when it comes to getting transformative results--unless perhaps you're a Victoria's Secret model.