Michael St. Amand: Slave to Vanity
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Saving Face in Hollywood
| Jenny Higgons

The night before the 1990 French Open, Andre Agassi was in a frenzy. But his mood wasn

't brought on by nerves about his match the next day. Instead, it was because he had no bobby pins. At age 20, the tennis great was going bald, and the hairpiece he used to hide his secret was coming undone. Of course I could play without my hairpiece, he wrote in his autobiography, Open. But I was too self-conscious. Poor Andre succumbed to America's unwavering emphasis on beauty.

And then there are the high-profile celebritiesespecially actors, whose livelihoods heavily depend on their lookswho choose to go under the knife to improve their looks. With their appearances constantly scrutinized in glossy magazines, the tabloids and anyone else who cares to hurl a barb, who can blame them? Popular TV actress Patricia Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond, In the Middle) readily admitted why she got abdominoplasty and breast augmentation after having four children: Vanity,she said. I mean it: vanity

So what happens after their new and improved selves are unveiled? Some stars bodywork doesn't scream surgical route. For others, Helen Keller could have noticed it. In fact, Jennifer Grey's (Dirty Dancing, Ferris Bueller's Day Off) rising career was permanently derailed after her early-1990s nose job, which, in some people's opinions, left her less attractive, as well as unrecognizable even to her friends. Perpetual party girl Tara Reid (American Pie), at a mere 34, looks wretched in a bathing suit after her botched boob job and stomach lipo.

Other celebsthe list is too long to complete Douglas, LaToya Jackson and Joan Rivers. Olympic star Bruce Jenner looked fine until his face work of at least 20 years ago made him look like he was going the way of Ren'e Richards. On the other hand, Jennifer Aniston, Halle Berry, Britney Spears and Zac Efron's rhinoplasties did them no harm, and Demi Moore's plastic surgeon(s) do first-class work.

A less invasive cosmetic procedure involves injecting dermal filler products into lips to make them fuller and allegedly more alluring. Victims of obviously overblown kissers include Lisa Rinna, Anna Faris and Jessica Simpson.

And, lest we forget, hair and teeth. Ted Danson spent many seasons on TV's Cheers hiding his bald spot with a toupee; it was, however, a good toupee. But God only knows what kind of furry animals have lived on Burt Reynolds noggin for at least the past two decades. As for the women, hair colorists are run ragged trying to keep up with starlets hair color of the week. At one point, singer Courtney Love's top teeth were white with veneers and her bottom teeth remained au natural: yellow as corn. Blech! Let's hope she's fixed that debacle since then. Others with bad cosmetic dentistry outcomes: Gary Busey, Kelly McGillis, Faye Dunaway and Hilary Duff. Mel Gibson seems to be the only star who's kept his natural teeth, which are fine. Oh, but that Morgan Freeman! His gnarly chompers beg for a dentist's attention.

I get giddy with schadenfreudewhen the celeb tabloids Star and National Enquirer do their stars without makeup photo spreads. Without the ministrations of professional makeup artists and hairstylists, most of those gals, from Katherine Heigel to Kate Hudson, look like the rest of us normal folk.

Without question, the reigning king and queen of bizarre plastic surgeries are Michael Jackson (yeah, yeahdont speak ill of the dead) and Manhattan socialite Jocelyn Wildenstein, who is rumored to have spent around $4 million in an effort to make herself into a Catwoman.

The constant pressure for celebrities to achieve outward perfection is the main reason I want to be rich but not famous.

Jenny Higgons




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