Stories of Teenage Plastic Surgery | Harper's BAZAAR
Is Teenage Plastic Surgery a Feminist Act?
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Dr. Simon Ourian told me that if I were to see his old clay sculptures, they resembled the Kardashians so closely that injecting and sculpting the family itself “was almost destiny.” The Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, who rocketed to fame after the entire family admitted to working with him, is at least partly responsible for helping to engineer the signature Kardashian look—an Egyptian-statue-face style that has spread like wildfire across social media.
Ourian himself actually resembles a Kardashian. Whether he was born that way or did it himself is up for debate. But sitting across from him, I felt like I was staring at Kim’s male twin.
“Altering your appearance used to be a sin because it was impossible,” he said. “Like wanting to grow wings, it was madness.”
Ourian admitted that, in general, the Kardashian’s combined Instagram presence helps drive most of his business, and has informed some of his most popular procedures: lip enhancements, facial contouring, brow lifting and Brazilian butt lifts.
“Once we accomplished the lips,” Ourian said, of Kylie Jenner’s transformation, “all of a sudden I noticed that there was a surge in the number of younger people who wanted to get their lips done. A lot of the people from all over the world would come here.” Ourian estimated that 10 years ago around one percent of his patients were in “the younger category” (by which he meant 18-19 year olds), whereas now, that age group has grown to comprise about 10 percent of his patient population. His younger patients bring in photos and announce unselfconsciously, “I want to look like this,” whereas older patients—“and by older, I mean 30s and 40s,” he clarified, staring at me—can’t find the words for what they want. They arrive at his office clutching timeworn photos, wanting to look like themselves, only younger. But 18 to 19 year olds come to him wanting to look “different”—like “someone else,” Ourian said.
“They bring pictures of themselves that they’ve done on Facetune, or another app.”
Ourian hastened to add that, personally, he doesn’t see patients who are under 18. “For many reasons,” he explained, “but I think number one is having been on the other side.” Ourian wanted a nose job when he was only 15 years old, but “had to painfully wait” until he was 18—and waiting was good, he told me, because during those formidable years, what a young person wants changes every day.
I was so distracted by Ourian’s beautiful description of adolescence—“formidable years” spent waiting “painfully”—that it took me a second to fact check him.
Wait, I thought, after a beat—Ourian just said he didn’t treat underage clients, but he had famously worked on Kylie Jenner when she was only seventeen.
“I know the family,” he said, “and I understand that she’s a very mature person.”
When I sat down with Dr. Ourian, I was hugely pregnant with a little girl and didn’t love the idea of my fetus being born healthy (fingers crossed) only to develop a deeply unhealthy relationship with technology that one day drove her toward butt injections.
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