WATCH: Hoda And Kathy Lee Go Makeup Free On Today Show

Hoda Kotb and Kathy Lee Gifford took one for females (and female newscasters!) everywhere today by agreeing to spend the 4th hour of the Today Show sans a stitch of makeup. And lest anyone start asking why this is a big deal, let’s start by pointing out one thing: HD.

Anyway, about a month ago, Rosie O’Donnell made a couple quips about Kathy Lee and some alleged plastic surgery on her radio show, so the good-sport ladies of the Today Show challenged Rosie to a no makeup duel, sort of. We spoke to Hoda on the phone yesterday about the impetus for “The No Makeup Hour.” She explained:

Here’s how the whole thing started. Rosie has a show on Sirius, and during the show she apparently was watching our programme and she goes, “Oh my God, look at Kathy Lee! What has she done to her face?” So we heard about that and the next day and invited Rosie to the show to check and look for scars. Neither of us had anything to hide. And Rosie responded on her show and apologized and agreed to come and do the show with no makeup. So, it was game on!”

And then came the hiccup. Apparently, as recently as yesterday, Kotb and Gifford and the peeps at NBC hadn’t heard, well, a peep from Rosie but, as Kotb put it, “We were already committed.”

But when we tuned in this morning, O’Donnell had gamely joined the ladies via Skype, so: crisis averted!

And it’s a nice idea, if you ask us. We’ve long championed the case for no makeup and love the fact that two very prominent and non-model females would dare to bare their foundation-free faces. (And just to hammer home the point, trust us, nobody does better makeup than those TV makeup ladies. You can walk in there looking like something the cat dragged in, and out like the airbrushed page of a magazine.) Anyway, Kotb agreed that the idea grew on them. “We started thinking about it and said, ‘This is sort of a cool concept. So many of us are worried about what we looked like, and our hair and our make up and this that and the other.'”

And so, the full hour-long, no makeup zone was born, but not without a few jitters. Kotb gamely admitted she was terrified. “It’s HD for god’s sake! Oh my god. They tell you when there’s a weird stray hair. And now I have to wear no makeup? They’re going to be like, ‘There’s something wrong with your face!”

So we can’t blame the ladies for sipping a Bloody Mary or two (around minute 7.)


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Finally, our favorite part of all this might be 4th Hour guest Sofia Vergara’s refusal to go makeup-free. Her explanation, “I’m Columbian! We wear makeup to give birth!” At least she owns it.

Photos of Hoda, Kathy Lee, Meredith Viera, Natalie Moralis and Rosie O’ Donnell:

PS. I’d like to take this opportunity to point out that though Kotb and Gifford are certainly the most high profile TV talking heads to go bare, they’re not the first. Our dear friend Poppy Harlow let the folks over at CNN Money film her coming out of the subway at 6AM. (Skip to 0:25.)

PPS. Not to be outdone, GMA weighed in with their own makeup segment, “How Dirty Is Your Makeup?”

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