Melanie Vallejo hosts the new TV series Formal Wars.
Melanie Vallejo hosts the new TV series Formal Wars. Contributed by Channel 7

Pressure to have perfect Year 12 formal heats up

MELANIE Vallejo sympathises with today's high school students.

The Winners & Losers star says there's more pressure on girls to go all out for their Year 12 formals.

"I think I have maybe five photos from the whole night (of my formal)," she told The Guide.

"In hindsight, I felt like pressure was off after we posed for photos in the lounge room.

"These days everything is so recorded. Photos are splashed all over Facebook and those photos don't go away."

Vallejo hosts Seven's Formal Wars, which gives high school students $2000 towards the cost of their school formal if they agree to let their parents make all the decisions.

Formal Wars - Seven - Thursday at 9pm

"Whilst working on the show I came to realise how big an industry it is now," Vallejo said.

"I think I bought my dress the week before; I was very relaxed.

"Now people get their makeup professionally done. A lot of places where you get wedding dresses made get a big influx of customers during formal season. There's a lot of pressure for parents as well. They don't want their child to miss out."

But looking beyond the dress, make-up and shoes, the Year 12 formal marks a turning point in the life of a teen.

"The formal is important because it marks their next step onwards to adulthood," she said.

"It ends up being this very symbolic night."

The Formal Wars challenge tests family bonds as parents must choose everything from the dress to the mode of transport and the date.

"A lot of the kids were worried not that their parents weren't going to try very hard, but that their parents might not know them as well as they think they do," Vallejo said.

"But I think the parents understand that having an unhappy teenager in the house isn't fun for anybody, and they might never be forgiven."

As host, Vallejo also got the inside tip on the hottest formal trends.

"The latest thing is everybody wants a stretch pink hummer," she said.

"That made me feel very old (laughs).

"What's wrong with just a classy old black limo?"

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