Saturday, 31 December 2011

My (First) Twenty-Five Years of Cosmetic Surgery, Part 3

Part 3. The Media - Then and Now

New Year - new look! 

Back in 1987 it never occurred to me that having cosmetic surgery could make anyone famous. My friends and family knew about my surgery but I never intended to tell anybody else. At that time, using cosmetic surgery to totally reinvent yourself was completely unheard of, and few people admitted to so much as a mole removal. I remember this time well, because this lack of disclosure made it impossible to get information and surgeons were "deferred to" whereas nowadays they are "shopped for."

My "fame" all started the summer of 1989 when I ran into a Sun newspaper reporter in London who had often written about my band in his music column. He was visibly shocked by how I had changed and asked what I'd done. When I recounted my relatively small list of procedures, he begged me to sell my story to the his paper. I said no, this was private. After a series of  telephone calls from the Sun offering higher and higher bids, I finally agreed to the interview and photo session. Nobody I knew read the Sun, I reasoned, and the extra money would help pay for more surgery, since I was still some way off my goals and running out of funds. (I had been left a small inheritance that I used for my first few procedures.) I revealed in detail exactly what I had done and how much it cost, and the Sun ran it as a double page spread, below.

The Sun newspaper article that started it all. July 13, 1989
The Sun syndicated my story globally, which I had not counted on. It was bought by newspapers, magazines and TV shows the world over. There was no internet then or it would have been sold online too. With a long-term view of what I wanted to achieve surgically, I negotiated fees for interviews with the media, which took me around the world and funded not only my passion for travel, but the rest of my surgery.

Soon I became sufficiently famous for the UK press, who notoriously "build you up then tear you down," to try just that. When the Observer newspaper ran a spiteful, made-up article about me on their news page, i began libel proceedings and easily won an out of court settlement. That is how I bought my London home. I furnished it with the proceeds of another out of court settlement from the Daily Mail.

The old days of checkbook journalism and massive libel payouts are long gone, and sadly so is what we used to call "news."  Instead, so many papers and TV shows today trade on cheap entertainment and titillation, fuelled by an endless supply of those willing to appear in the media for little or or no payment in return for what often amounts to ritual humiliation. This is particularly true when it comes to cosmetic surgery. These days I decline more interviews than I accept, favouring the more serious ones I believe will be seen by those genuinely interested in the subject. Still, people comment on how guarded I appear on camera compared to earlier years. There's a good reason for that: you never really know what's coming next!

Out of curiosity I sometimes check out the interviews I've turned down. They all tend to follow the same "freak show" formula: Subjects who have had overly done faces/lips/breasts/etc often declaring they're addicted to surgery and claiming to have spent vast sums that don't add up. If it's a newspaper or magazine interview also available online, the posted comments from readers are scathing. If it's on TV, they are ridiculed on the show -  and again on the show's website - and yet again on the show on YouTube. (With no repeat fees!)

I wish the media would feature more down-to-earth people who've had successful, natural looking cosmetic surgery.(Although perhaps their stories do not qualify due to lack of shock value.) While many of my clients who have achieved their surgical goals would be ideal, they always tell me they don't want to be famous, even for 15 minutes. Nor do they wish to attract the sort of criticism I sometimes receive, or to endure made-up stories about them in the media -  both of which go with the territory. (As does being stalked!) And my clients who are already famous don't want their careers upstaged by their plastic surgery, which so often happens when someone in the public eye admits to having anything done. So one thing has not changed in 25 years - most cosmetic surgery patients are private as ever, as I had once planned to remain before the Sun newspaper article.

As the old clich√© goes, fame is a double edged sword. But I have no regrets whatsoever. Had I not sold my story to the Sun back in 1989, I would never have been in a position to get all the inside information from the tens of thousands of other patients all over the world who got in touch after seeing me in the media during the past quarter of a century. Through sharing their private case histories and personal firsthand experiences with me, I got to know about all the very best (and worst!) procedures and surgeons. Without that crucial inside information, there is no way I would look like I do today, which may not be perfect or to everyone's taste, but it's how I want to look. And that's the real benefit my little bit of fame has brought me, which in turn enables me to help others achieve their goals. My long-established communication network with other patients and top medical professionals continues to bypass all the misleading hype, silly sensationalism and seductive advertising so often associated with cosmetic surgery.



  1. Stunning picture Cindy, it's still hard to believe that you look convincingly younger than decades ago. Look forward to your latest projects/videos for 2012

  2. The media can be really very mean, but I think you did a great job- the people regognized with your appearance that plastic surgeries and cosmetic enhancements can also look very natural and increase the quality of life.

    Before, everyone was like: "Oh, look how horrible artificial they all look" etc., because the media just showed horrible examples for shocking value. Moreover, you have showed in your interviews that you are highly intelligent, this will also help to struggle against the stereotype, I guess.

    I wish you a happy new year and good luck and further success in all your walks of life! :)

    Keep the good work! Never give up, you are great!

    Best wishes

  3. By the way: I'm really angry that this woman called Sarah Burge always mentions in interviews that she brokes your record, which is of course a lie.
    I don't want to judge anyone I don't know personally, but she seems very superficial, selfish, narcisstic and vain to me, or maybe she suffers from Body Dysmorphic Disorder? I don't know, if so, I feel really sorry for her...

    But anyway: I saw her on the tv show "Beauty and the Beast: The Ugly Face of Prejudice", and was shocked by her ignorant and unkind attitude towards Susan Campbell Duncan, but as I wrote, I don't want to judge, I don't know her... I just think she should stop telling lies and should'nt claim that she is the new record holder. It's not true, and I also think the cosmetic surgery she has undergone isn't the best, to be honest...

    Well, but I guess, whe just shouldn't care. Maybe she just wants attention? Maybe her parents didn't love her... I don't know. But she acts and looks really strange somehow...

    Best regards

  4. Rob you're so right. The thing is plenty of people "claim" to have broken world records according the Guinness but they are either 1) fishing for attention 2) don't have proof. Cindy has kept a consistent track record and started years before it was "popular," I highly doubt anyone has truthfully broken it.

  5. Thank you! Yes, indeed, or they lie and say they haven't any cosmetic procedures, even if they had actually a lot. (Many Hollywood stars seem to deny it...)

    Yes, I think so too! :-)

  6. You are very lucky, seems you had excellent professionals doing the surgeries. Congrats. (it could have been also a disaster. Lucky Lucky)

  7. Can't wait to see you today on austrain TV. ;-)