The rise in subtle surgeries has left a much bigger strain on beauty expectations; they have been heightened to an unobtainable and exhausting caliber, one where so many are left to aim for an aesthetic that does not naturally exist.
Unfortunately for young women everywhere, celebrities who refuse to own up to the various plastic surgeries they've used to achieve the perfect lips, eyes, or butt are seriously damaging the body images of millions of women. How on earth are we mere mortals expected to compete with women who are throwing down tens of thousands of dollars to take advantage of the latest eye-shape trend or perfect hip silhouette?
This facade that so many young celebrities have built up around their "natural beauty" only leaves normal young women devastated about how un-cool their normal, healthy bodies and faces look. Celebrities are paying more and more for oh-so-subtle surgeries that leave us wondering, did they really have something done? Unfortunately, the answer is probably yes. Here's a short list of some celebrities who aren't open about their use of plastic surgeries, but surgeons (and plastic surgery sleuths) are convinced have definitely had work done.
Did the Kardashians Usher in the Age of Plastic Surgery?
We weren’t going to have a conversation on plastic surgery without mention of the queens themselves. The Kardashian women are not shy when it comes to “going under the knife,” each one of them with fillers, pulled-back faces, breast enlargement, Botox, or butt lifts. The Kardashian women, though born quite naturally beautiful anyway, have glorified cosmetic procedures to a generation and have been the mainstream beauty standard for years.
Luckily, since their procedures are often so obvious and, sometimes, unnatural looking, we’re able to point out the unrealistic obtaining of such body and face types.
Kendall Jenner and Body Sculpting
So, here’s where it starts to get a little sneaky. Millions tuned in across the world to watch Kendall and Kylie Jenner grow up, and Kylie, especially, of all the Keeping Up with the Kardashians cast, has most certainly had one of the most drastic “glow ups” of our time. Now famous for her altered lips – an insecurity that later led to her growing a billion-dollar company – Kylie Jenner is one of the first people we think about when we think of “fillers” and “implants.” But where does this leave Kendall?
Kendall Jenner, the highest-paid model of our generation (who possesses the same large following and influence as her sisters), has long been labeled the “natural” sister of the Kardashian cohort – but this label is the most dangerous of them all. Because Kendall’s procedures aren’t as drastic and as noticeable as her sisters’, many remain oblivious to the work Kendall has had done. Many surgeons have piled onto this conversation to accuse Kendall of having breast augmentation, but her more obvious cosmetic procedures have been rhinoplasty and the new but ever-growing trend of the “brow lift,” a trend most famously seen and recognized in fellow supermodel and friend, Bella Hadid. (We'll get into that below.)
Dr. Dev Patel, director of Perfect Skin Solutions in Portsmouth, has examined photos of Kendall Jenner and believes she's had some kind of procedure to boost the fullness of her hips. "Now more than ever we are seeing younger female patients seeking body contouring treatments and procedures designed to give them a toned but curvy physique," he explains.
Dr. Nazarian, a Beverly Hills surgeon who stars in Netflix's Skin Decision, explains that her clinic uses Sculptra, a non-surgical procedure, which "encourages the body to produce collagen to round out the hips." Popular Instagrammer Dana Omari says that, like filler for your lips, Sculptra “fills by volume just like lip filler, but also builds collagen, which can also affect the size or the shape and it lasts about 3 years.” A hip-fill with Sculptra could cost you up to $15,000. When combined with liposuction, “it can actually smooth any dimpling in your thighs, your butt, your hips – anywhere.” Unfortunately, the effects aren't permanent, which means that you'll be revisiting the surgeon every few years to maintain the effect.
Bella Hadid and the Fox Eye Lift
While science says Bella Hadid has the most beautiful face in the world, it can also be argued that the Sistine Chapel is the most beautiful building in the world – and what do these two things have in common? You guessed it: years of sculpting and canvassing. Yes, Bella Hadid has very obviously had work done. Like Kendall Jenner, to the untrained eye, Hadid may look like a natural beauty – she has no obnoxiously large breasts or filler spilling from her lips – but if we were to compare a photo of her face to one from five years prior, we’re met with a completely different girl.
Hadid's most notable feature – and the one millions of Instagram users are using filters to replicate – is the uber-trendy "fox eye" treatment. Omari, who runs the account IGFamousByDana, tracks which celebrities she believes have had plastic surgery, whether they're willing to admit it or not. She describes the "fox eye lift," also known as canthoplasties, as surgery that "changes the tilt of your eye, it makes your eye a little bit bigger but when you pull it makes it a little bit more slanted." The surgery costs around $5,000, and when paired with a surgical brow lift (which can set you back anywhere between $3,000 to $8,000), it will make the eyes look wider and brighter.
Dr. Michael Keyes, a plastic surgery fellow who runs the account celebrityplastics, explains that surgery isn't the only way to create the popular, exaggerated eye shape. “A lot of the younger celebrities haven’t had too much work,” he says, and if they have, “it’s through non-invasive techniques, such as brow lifts with Botox and fillers.” Keyes also believes that Bella Hadid has had some kind of brow and eye work done to achieve her oh-so-chic look.
Ariana Grande and the Ponytail Facelift
Vocal princess of a generation and beauty inspiration to many through her famous ponytails and cat-eye makeup, Ariana Grande is arguably one of the most influential and distinctive faces of modern pop-culture. Though also done subtly, when compared with past photos, Ariana’s face has gone through immense change.
Like other celebs, Ariana has very clearly had work done, but a lot of her controversy over time has surrounded her potentially “blackfishing,” and more recently “Asianfishing.” Over the past few years, Ariana has basked herself in tan. While doing so, she took up a different musical sound, and even speaking voice, during her Thank U, Next era, which sparked controversy and offense from some. She has newly been accused of “Asianfishing" due to recent photos of her and her clear appearance change while judging on the American singing show The Voice.
It’s very clear Ariana has had her eyes done; this can be seen in a drastic change throughout the years. Ariana began her career with much rounder-looking eyes than she has now. Today, they’re more almond-like, and even a little stretched back, giving Ariana a pulled-back look and a prominent, surgically-enhanced “cat-eye” effect.
The ponytail facelift, which Instagrammer Omari believes Grande has undergone, pulls the face up and back, like a tight ponytail. “The reason it’s called that is it pulls really high up on the temples, that can give you that lifted look,” Omari explains, and can cost up to $100,000. We probably think of facelifts as being for old women with sagging skin, but as Omai explains, “when you do it on someone whose tissue has not moved yet because they’re in their 20s, it pulls it beyond where their natural starting point is and it gives it that fox-eye look.”
Some have argued that Ariana’s new look emulates K-Pop, which has raised concerns due to how recently Ariana was criticized for her song “7 Rings,” for which she was accused of ripping off black culture. Even her ex-fiancé SNL star Pete Davidson joked about mimicking her by “spray-painting” himself brown and “hopping on the cover of Vogue Magazine,” stating “Can you imagine if I did that? My career would be over tomorrow.”
Today, Ariana’s face looks extremely tight, her skin is lighter, her jawline is sharper than ever, her cheeks are raised higher, and the asymmetry of her face (rumored to be the result of a past brow lift) has now disappeared. But Grande and her team continue to deny rumors of plastic surgery.
Jennifer Aniston and Natural(ish) Aging
The shining star of the ‘90s, Jennifer Aniston starred as Rachel Green, one of the protagonists on the hit sitcom Friends. While Aniston has been a style icon for years, she spent a lot of her career admired for her bright and natural-looking face, which only intensified when co-star Courteney Cox began to get obvious Botox procedures, leaving Aniston to be admired for allowing herself to age more gracefully.
However, in the recent Friends reunion, many spotted that Aniston, too, had recently had filler added to her face. With both Aniston and Cox having had this procedure (though Cox has had a lot of it removed in recent years), Lisa Kudrow seemed to be the only female in the cast who had allowed herself to age naturally – something unfortunate when the cast was made up of such bright and beautiful women.
Lady Gaga and Fillers
Lady Gaga has, in the past, admitted to facial injections. In a deep interview with Howard Stern in 2013, Gaga opened up about how “obsessed” she became with facial injections, even to the extent where a photographer friend told her, “Gaga, I love you, but if you don’t stop injecting s**t in your face, I’m just going to kill you.”
Despite her past body positivity and self-acceptance rhetoric, many surgeons have still accused Gaga of tinkering with her face. Since Gaga has had such a strong history of calling out plastic surgery for “promoting insecurity,” it’s sad to see the drastic change that has recently appeared on her face. (A celebrity practicing something they don’t preach, who would’ve thought!)
Olivia Rodrigo and the Small Boob Job
While the exaggerated Playboy Bunny breast implants phase may have passed us by, that doesn't mean breast implants are by any means a thing of the past. Now, more and more young women are getting subtler implants. In fact, 2020 was a record year for breast implants, with nearly 400,000 procedures being performed in 2020 alone according to The American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
Omari believes Olivia Rodrigo "appears to have gotten breast implants to fill out the small breasts she had before." Subtle boob jobs aren't only to boost your cup size but to give you that perfect shape even when you're not wearing a bra. Rodrigo, who is only 18, seems pretty young for a surgery that has a slew of associated health risks.
Celebrities are people in the limelight who continuously have cameras on them, so for them to be just as insecure, if not more, than the average person is completely understandable. But these are still people with large platforms who, whether they like it or not, create this generation’s standard of beauty.
We must teach young women that these sneaky surgeries exist, not as encouragement, but to reinforce that the image they see on screens are usually not as they seem. Whether altered to the extent of obvious work or tiny tweaks, I don’t think it would hurt celebrities to sometimes come out and be open about it. There is almost always someone who can tell, so making the effort to shut down rumors seems ineffective in the grand scheme. Many celebs would like to peddle that they’re natural beauties, but most women do not fit this standard that has been created – so it’s important we remind them how much work it actually takes to reach this standard, and why so many are better off embracing their natural beauty.
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