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In the Hot Seat: The Ugly Duckling Turned Swan

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In the Hot Seat: The Ugly Duckling Turned Swan

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder–at least that’s what we’re told. Many of us agree that personality and intelligence are far more important than physical appearance. A person’s attractiveness should be a superficial concern.

All of this sounds great, but science tells us that attractive people have an easier time in life than less attractive individuals.[1] How does it feel to be an average-looking person who doesn’t meet beauty standards?

Some people turn to plastic surgery to improve their appearance and end insults and bullying. Plastic surgery has its risks, and it can be dangerous. We’ve all heard of plastic surgeries gone wrong or seen the person who is addicted to having more work done. For some of us, though, becoming more attractive is well worth the risk.

Today in the hot seat, we’ll talk to Jackie, a young woman who underwent an elective rhinoplasty (nose job). We’ll explore how she felt before and after her surgery. We’ll also chat about how her family and boyfriend felt about her decision to get surgery.

Changing faces

Lifehack: Why did you get plastic surgery?

Jackie: I always had a really big nose. It wasn’t just big–it was crooked. Kids were pretty harsh to me in school. They called me “the goblin,” beat me up, and mocked me mercilessly.

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Even as an adult, I could tell people were staring at my nose when they talked to me. I know that it affected me socially because people didn’t want to be associated with me when we went out. My nose made me look ugly.

I knew that as soon as I could save up enough money, I wanted to get a nose job.

Lifehack: What have you learned from the experience?

Jackie: I learned that surgery doesn’t fix poor self-esteem. The recovery for my nose job took a long time. When I got out of surgery, I looked like I had been in a bar fight. The swelling didn’t totally disappear for almost a year.

Even though my surgeon talked to me about the recovery timeline, I was still shocked when I saw my face without the bandages for the first time. The surgery helped with my self-esteem, but I also had to learn to love myself.

Lifehack: Does your family know you went under the knife?

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Jackie: They were very supportive of my decision, and they helped a lot during recovery. They saw this surgery as a chance for me to take control of my appearance like never before.

Lifehack: Would you recommend plastic surgery to others?

Jackie: It depends. A surgery to repair an injury or help with breathing problems is definitely a good choice.

If there’s no medical reason to make the change, do lots of research first. My surgeon did a great job, but the changes she made were permanent. I had to adapt to a new face. My smile looks so different now. It took me a while to feel good about my choice.

Lifehack: Will you have more work done in the future?

Jackie: No. I think I’m going to be happy with myself just the way I am. I’d only do it if an accident or illness caused me to need reconstructive surgery.

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Lifehack: Did you have any stories of getting back at your bullies after they see your new face?

Jackie: A guy that used to harass me in school tried to pick me up in a bar when my boyfriend stepped away to get us a round of drinks. The guy didn’t recognize me, but I knew who he was. I said, “My memory must be better than yours. Since you didn’t want anything to do with me when I was a goblin, I don’t want anything to do with you now.”

His jaw dropped. Then, my very attractive boyfriend returned with my drink.

Lifehack: How does your boyfriend feel about you now that you are different?

Jackie: He’s my husband now! He loved me before, and he still does. He says that if I’m happy with the way I look, that’s all that matters to him.

Lifehack: Are you happier now?

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Jackie: I am. It wasn’t the overnight miracle I thought it was going to be, but through time I’ve built confidence and learned to love myself.

Lifehack: Do you believe that beauty is more important than brains?

Jackie: No way. Substance beats style every time. Beauty is fleeting, but you’ll always have your mind and your sense of humor.

You have to change more than your face

Getting plastic surgery is a big decision that can have life-altering effects. Even though Jackie’s experience was positive, she had to do a lot of inner-work before she felt good about her new nose.

Reference

More by this author

Anna Y.T. Chui

Anna is the Editor-in-Chief of Lifehack. She is also a communication expert and shares tips on happiness and relationships.

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