- In an interview with Vogue, Bella Hadid said she regretted getting a nose job at the age of 14.
- The interview sparked a conversation about Eurocentric beauty standards and cosmetic surgeries targeted at teenagers.
- With the rise of interest in nose jobs has also come the rise of “ethnic rhinoplasty,” a term that refers to rhinoplasty guidelines created specifically for people of color.
In an interview with Vogue, Bella Hadid admitted she regretted getting a nose job at the age of 14, saying, “I wish I had kept the nose of my ancestors. I think I would have grown into it.”
The now 25-year-old supermodel, who is of both Dutch and Palestinian descent, had dodged rumors of a rhinoplasty for years. She also spoke about battling constant comparisons to her sister, fellow supermodel Gigi Hadid: “I was the uglier sister. I was the brunette … and when you get told things so many times, you do just believe it.”
Comparisons between the two sisters often came directly from their mother, Yolanda Hadid. On the Bravo show “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” Yolanda refers to Bella and Gigi as “the black swan and the white swan.” She continues, “When somebody’s looking for a brunette with blue eyes, Gigi’s not going to get the job. If they’re looking for an all-American girl, they’re not going to hire Bella.”
The interview with Vogue sparked a conversation among readers about value placed onto Eurocentric beauty standards. On Twitter, user @miramargiela wrote“bella hadid saying she wished she kept the nose of her ancestors makes me really sad. we’re out here being conditioned from the dawn of colonization to think that eurocentric features are the pinnacle of beauty.”
In recent years, rhinoplasties have become the dominant form of plastic surgery. According to reports from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, rhinoplasties were the top cosmetic surgical procedures performed in 2020 and 2019, surpassing breast augmentation, which held the top spot through 2018. The overwhelming trend in rhinoplasty tends toward smaller, upward turned noses over hooked “Roman” ones.
With the rise of interest in nose jobs has also come the rise of “ethnic rhinoplasty,” a term coined by some surgeons to refer to rhinoplasty guidelines created specifically for people of color. These procedures claim to preserve each patient’s cultural identity with their noses rather than prescribing a ski-slope style usually suited for traditionally Caucasian features. However, these procedures still largely straighten and minimize the appearance of the nose.
Dr. Kofi Boahene, a professor at Johns Hopkins University and an expert in the field of ethnic rhinoplasty, explains ethnic rhinoplasty as being sensitive to facial features that are ethnically congruent. “Traditional rhinoplasty has often used analytical measures based on a typical Caucasian face,” Dr. Boahene told Insider. “As more diversity has been realized among plastic surgeons, sensitivity to ethnic features in plastic surgery has come into sharper focus.”
“We’ve seen [the trend] evolve from a scooped up, turned up, pinched in look to a straighter profile and more refined tip area,” Dr. Alan Matarasso of the board of directors of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons told Insider.
The complexities of giving a teenager a nose job
According to Dr. Stanford Broumand, a plastic surgeon since 1993, young women and teenage patients have always been interested in rhinoplasty. But the advent of social media has made that interest more apparent.
“It’s heightened to a degree because of Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat and the morphing they can do,” Broumand told Insider. “They come in with a little more material, sort of trying to describe what they want done, or showing pictures.”
More photo inspiration doesn’t mean a teenage patient is ready for a nose job though, according to Broumand. He says he has an hour-long consultation with a teen and their parents, and refuses nose jobs for those younger than 16, since that’s when a young woman’s face typically stops maturing.
“There’s both physical maturity and emotional maturity,” said Dr. Matarasso. “Just because a 14 year old can have a surgery doesn’t mean they should. This is why meeting and speaking with them on multiple occasions is important.
If a young patient’s parents disregard what their child wants, or a teenager requests a nose job that would require their entire nose to be restructured, Broumand says he denies the request, or asks to meet again in six months to a year.
The rise of the TikTok nose job
The rise of interest in the procedure is only heightened by the media’s portrayal of rhinoplasty, especially toward teenagers. The hashtag #nosejobcheck on TikTok has become a viral trend with over 1 billion views, showcasing young people counting down the days to their surgery, only to end the video with a small, ski-slope nose. The hashtag #ethnicrhinoplasty alone has over 56 million views, showing young patients foregoing their usually, traditionally Middle Eastern noses for straighter, upward-turned ones.
These videos are often posted by plastic surgeons themselves, showing before-and-afters to help promote their own practices. Instagram and TikTok filters have also come under fire for lightening skin tones and thinning the bridge of the nose, devaluing beauty standards common among people of color.
In 2020, one of TikTok’s biggest stars Charli D’Amelio shared her own nose job journey after receiving reconstructive surgery for what she deemed as “breathing problems” stemming from a broken nose.
“The pressure that these young people are under because they think everyone else looks great and has a perfect life is intense,” said Dr. Matarasso. “You’ll see doctors putting stuff [on social media] glamorizing the procedure. It is a real operation. Social media has changed the dynamics of this a lot.”
But while TikTok is full of videos of rhinoplasties, it has also become a space for people to celebrate their “ethnic” noses. Users have posted celebrating the diversity of their noses — each will turn their heads, with captions like “arabs/desis/persians, use this sound to show off your BEAUTIFUL ethnic side profile.” Users are showing off their Eastern European noses, their Nigerian noses, their Mexican noses. A mother and son joined forces to show off their Arab noses. In the age of Facetune and filters where the pursuit of perfection seems to be homogenized, some are still using the internet as a space to celebrate the diversity of beauty around the world.