Bella Hadid speaks out about the perils of plastic surgery in teenagers

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Bella means beautiful, but Bella Hadid didn’t think she was when she was a teenager. 

Supermodel Bella Hadid is finally coming clean about having plastic surgery, but she is speaking out on her regret of having it done when she was 14, according to a Vogue report last week.  

“I was the uglier sister. I was the brunette. I wasn’t as cool as [my sister] Gigi, not as outgoing,” the twenty-five-year-old said. 

Bella Hadid shows off her killer model body as she’s seen out with Anwar Hadid at The Nice Guy in Hollywood.

Bella Hadid shows off her killer model body as she’s seen out with Anwar Hadid at The Nice Guy in Hollywood.
(BACKGRID)

“That’s really what people said about me. And unfortunately when you get told things so many times, you do just believe it.” 

Hadid, who was born at Georgetown Hospital in Washington, D.C., but grew up in California, regrets having the cosmetic procedure done on her nose when she was so young, admitting, “I think I would have grown into it.” 

Approximately 229,000 cosmetic surgeries were performed on teenagers between the ages of 13 to 19 in 2017, with teenagers accounting for approximately four percent of all cosmetic procedures, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons

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But the plastic surgery experts caution that rhinoplasty, otherwise known as a “nose job,” is not recommended until the growth of the nose is completed, which is typically around ages 15 to 16 in females and ages 16 to 18 in males, although in certain situations, such as a child with cleft lip, the procedure may be performed earlier. 

“Some teens are more psychologically mature than others, but it’s important to note that their brain development is not at a point where they can really think through long term implications and they aren’t able to fully appreciate what the consequences might be,” said Dr. Diana Zuckerman president of the National Center for Health Research. 

Recent research by Drs. Rod J. Rohrich and Min-Jeong Cho, board certified plastic surgeons, found few guidelines that ensure teen plastic surgeries are performed appropriately

“While a rhinoplasty or ear surgery can be performed safely by a board-certified surgeon and are, in many cases, appropriate for an adolescent, other cosmetic procedures such as breast augmentation, liposuction or injectables are typically not recommended for minors for several reasons, including lack of research,” said Dr. Rohrich

He is also concerned of the surge in young people asking for injectables to achieve augmented cheeks and lips despite the lack of evidence they are safe for adolescents.  

“Girls nowadays live in a culture with so much pressure to change their appearances, whether it’s putting on makeup or something more extreme like cosmetic surgery,” said Leora Tanenbaum, feminist author of ”I Am Not a Slut.”  

“But rather than judging or shaming individuals [like Hadid], we need to think more collectively about the pressures young women face to look a certain way.” 

Bella Hadid attends the "Tre Piani (Three Floors)" screening during the 74th annual Cannes Film Festival on July 11, 2021, in Cannes, France.

Bella Hadid attends the “Tre Piani (Three Floors)” screening during the 74th annual Cannes Film Festival on July 11, 2021, in Cannes, France.
(Samir Hussein/WireImage)

Cosmetic procedures improve confidence by providing more of a psychological boost in teenagers rather than the actual physical changes, especially those who are bullied or have poor self-esteem,  according to Dr. Steven Pearlman, a board-certified facial plastic surgeon. 

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Even though it’s legal for plastic surgeons to perform procedures on anyone less than 18 with parental or guardian consent, Pearlman notes it’s important that teenagers have the emotional maturity to appreciate the risks of having procedures, such as infection, bleeding and scarring for a rhinoplasty, according to  the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. 

Bella Hadid walks the runway during the Michael Kors FW20 Runway Show on February 12, 2020, in New York City.

Bella Hadid walks the runway during the Michael Kors FW20 Runway Show on February 12, 2020, in New York City.
(Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Michael Kors)

Given teenagers bodies are still developing, other experts blame the “surveillance culture” where the outsiders constantly critique the physical appearance of women, where those who appear different from the societal standard are pressured to change — especially those of color who don’t meet the mold of the “Eurocentric feminine ideal,” according to USA Today. 

“It speaks to the fact that women exist in this impossible space where we have to be real but not too real. We have to enhance our appearance but if we enhance it ‘too much,’ then we’re not authentic,” said Tanenbaum. 

Zuckerman argues in an ideal world surgeons would use more discretion to delay certain surgeries in teens, while parents would work with their children to delay decisions of cosmetic procedures ” … until a teenager is of age, like at least 18.” 

“I wish I had kept the nose of my ancestors,” Hadid said.  

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She told Vogue: “So now everything that I do in my personal life is literally to make sure that my mental state stays above water. Fashion can make you or break you. And if it makes you, you have to make a conscious effort every day for it not to break you.”

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