What Price Beauty?

by Kelly Boyce

About a month or so ago, I caught the last few minutes of the Oprah show where she had on a panel of past supermodels – Cheryl Tiegs, Stephanie Seymour, Beverley Johnson, etc. The first thing that struck me about the episode was the frightening amount of plastic surgery these women had had. The second thing that struck me was how sad that was. I mean, Cheryl Tiegs was a beautiful woman. In all likelihood she would have aged well. Would she have looked the way she did when she graced the covers of Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue? No. But she’s 60. No one looks 25 when they’re 60. It ain’t in the cards.

And yes, I get that Hollywood is ruled by youth, or so they claim, but tell me this – how many careers do you know of that have improved because the actor was nipped, tucked, injected or lipo-sucked? If anything, it’s been detrimental to their careers. I mean, has anyone seen Meg Ryan lately? I’m guessing it wasn’t age that knocked her off the A-list, I’m guessing it was the fact that you couldn’t look at her without seeing the super-puffy lips and a face that barely moved. And if you can’t see past that, then you can’t lose yourself in the character, and if you can’t lose yourself in the character, the actor has just failed miserably at their job.

And it isn’t just the women. Sylvester Stallone, Mickey Rourke (okay, his career resurrected somewhat, but damn, he’s hard to look at and I can’t get past all the plastic surgery when I do), Bruce Jenner. Granted, none of these guys were in line to do any serious roles, save perhaps for Mickey, but I’m just pointing out – plastic surgery isn’t just the providence of women. It seems to be a gender non-specific epidemic these days.

But what started me on this rant (well, okay, I rant about plastic surgery on a regular basis – but what started it this week…) was when I caught a show about a woman who was getting a face lift. At 39. She had a younger husband and wanted to keep looking young for him. The thing was, she didn’t end up looking younger. She ended up looking the same. She didn’t need the work done. It was all vanity and insecurity. I couldn’t help thinking she would have a better chance at keeping her husband interested if she developed her insides rather than spend all that money nipping and tucking her outsides. And if not, then the guy probably wasn’t worth hanging onto in the first place.

We’re vain creatures, I understand that. Who doesn’t like looking good? No one wants to see crow’s feet creeping up and expanding down our cheeks, or the wattle developing on our necks. It reminds us we’re mortal, that someday all this will come to an end and we’ll be nothing more than a fond memory or a stone marker in the ground. But geez, is that any reason to distort yourself?

I think it’s time for a new revolution. The one where we stop focusing on how tight our skin is and start focusing on how healthy our bodies are. Botox won’t do you a speck of good if your bones aren’t strong and your muscles have gone lax and your mind grows dull. I will take a bevy of wrinkles over that any day. My goal is to live even longer than my grandparents (both whom are in their 90s), and to maintain an active, vibrant lifestyle while I do. I'd also like to look as fabulous as Judi Dench while I do it.

That, to me, seems a way better alternative than wasting my time scrambling after lost youth and ending up looking as if I belong in a wax museum as a reward.

Here endeth my rant.

Kelly Boyce
THE OUTLAW BRIDE - April 18, 2011 (Carina Press)
Web: http://www.kellyboyce.com/
Facebook: Kelly Boyce, Author
Twitter: @KellyLBoyce


  1. Scary and very sad. I'm thinking aging is hard enough w/o fighting the process tooth and nail.

  2. Great post Kelly! I agree with everything you said, and yes indeed, let's celebrate Judi Dench, who looks her age and fabulous. Meryl Streep is another, who I don't think has had any work done. She's just aging naturally and looking very beautiful.

  3. And I still can't get over the fact that Kirsti Alley is 60. I thought I heard wrong the first time I heard that, or they were mistaken. You can't fight the aging process, but you can work with what you've got.

  4. I love Judi Dench, and I hate how Hollywood thinks that beauty is everything. Mickey Rourke used to be quite the stud...but now, oh dear.

  5. Really good post!
    I think that as an actor/actress you lose some of your relatability when you try to look like an ideal. It would now be more difficult for me to relate to the roles that Meg Ryan especially since she was kind of a plain jane in her previous roles, not the gorgeous starlet.
    Now she looks like her face is swollen.
    I really aspire to look like Judi Dench and especially Helen Miren! They are gorgeous and real and when you have a real face that can move and that shows experience of life I think it is a positive image. More importantly they can act better!


  6. I couldn't agree more, Kelly. Doesn't Judy Dench look amazing? Here's to being our authentic selves.

  7. Great post! I love Judi Dench and Helen Mirren. Both look terrific. You have to make peace with age. Once I heard a saying "time is a beautiful woman's worse enemy". Only if you believe it...

  8. So true, Kelly! The women of Hollywood who have aged gracefully and gorgeously seem to be the ones who have worked hard to take care of their skin rather than getting it stretched, cut, paralyzed and injected.

  9. Wonderful post Kelly! I agree with you - the extreme lengths that people/celebs go to look young is kind of scary. I don't have a problem with plastic surgery per se - i think that it can do a lot of good. But when celebs start looking like their waxed figures in Madame Tussaud's - that's a problem!

  10. Oh Kelly - you are so on with this. It's sad really. I didn't know about Cheryl Tiegs, but I've seen pictures of Rupert Everett http://gofugyourself.com/celebrity_plastic_surgery_terr-12-2009
    and Joan Van Ark that would make you cry. Honestly.

    I remember watching a documentary on the "Bond Girls" and the woman who played Octopussy said she never watched her old stuff - otherwise it would ruin her. Wise girl, and she is still gorgeous. My hero is Helen Mirren - her is gorgeous and her body in a bikini is something to behold - not pulled, not "done" just freakin' amazing for a 70 year old woman. Her and Judi Dench...

  11. Great post, Kelly.

    I'm jowly and have salt-and-pepper streaks in my hair and so be it. Helen Mirren, Judi Dench and Meryl Streep are the goddesses for me.

  12. I love Judi Dench! And I admired Jamie Lee Curtis when she made the photo spread looking natural. I think some insecure women do a disservice to themselves by putting their confidence outside themselves...by depending on the admiration of others to feel good. And in the process, they ruin, rather than improve, themselves. Great post.

  13. At least Mickey Rourke has an excuse. He quit acting to be a boxer, and his face got injured quite badly. His plastic surgery was reconstructive. Boxing was obviously not such a great choice for him!

    But I am happy to see the Hollywood ladies who have the confidence and grace to avoid the knife.


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