Medical Beauty Style & Culture

What Celebrities Know About Plastic Surgery That We Don’t

Good Celebrity Plastic Surgery

The Hollywood award season is firmly behind us and in its wake we’re left with a trail of glitter, spray tans, Spanx and viral speculation over just who’s had what done.

Why do we enjoy rubbernecking at Hollywood plastic surgery so much, especially when it’s obvious or goes wrong?  Do we secretly enjoy the celebrity “outing” because it somehow invalidates their good looks and knocks them down just far enough to level the genetic playing field for us mere mortals?


Schadenfreude aside, what’s the point?  That pretty people get help now and then and sometimes make mistakes?   Let’s flip this conversation around to spotlight what excellent celebrity plastic surgery looks like.

Because when it’s good….it’s really good.

You’ve probably noticed that once an actor evolves from starlet to mega watt status, there’s some sort of…evolution.  Most of this is the result of diet and exercise, coupled with a S.W.A.T. of stylists and image consultants from CAA to help them look their best.

But there are other subtleties you can’t put your finger on.  There’s speculation that even the most natural beauties have had a little cosmetic medical intervention along the way.  Everyone from Anne Hathaway, Blake Lively, Kate Hudson, Gwen Stefani, Mila Kunis, Beyoncé, Gisele, Jennifer Garner, Jennifer Connolly, Halle Berry, J. Lo, Angelina, Kate Beckinsale, Scarlett Johansson, Rachel McAdams, Christy Brinkley, Sandra Bullock and even Diane Sawyer.

We’ll never really know for sure, will we?

Good celebrity plastic surgery

But I’ll bet there’s something we can learn from Hollywood’s playbook on lookin’ good.   Maybe it will help us make better “beautification” choices.  At the very least we can get perspective, which is important because like it or not, celebrities are our societal beauty barometer.

To begin my quest, I picked the brilliant brain of noted Beverly Hills, board certified cosmetic plastic surgeon, *Dr. Brent Moelleken who schooled me on the reality of what it takes to be celebrity gorgeous.

Here’s what I learned:

1. Millimeters separate the beautiful from the merely attractive

In real life, we probably know a lot of people who have had a nose job.  There is a stark before and after.  But in Hollywood, it’s rare you see that much of a change aside from Jennifer Grey or Ashley Tisdale.

Instead, you see a lot of small procedures done over the long-term, such as nose shavings, hair-line revisions, chin/jaw-line liposuction, chin implants and often upper and lower eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) to open up the eyes.

Even Marilyn Monroe reportedly had a chin implant to help her translate better on film.


“If you look at all the most beautiful people in the world and just look back at their high school pictures, you’ll likely see a kind of average person with a potato on the end of their nose, and thin lips”. says Dr. Moelleken.

The smile makeover is another celebrity must have, one that we often overlook on ourselves unless we have obviously bad teeth.  Yellow or crooked teeth are the obvious fixes, but we’re talking about degrees of change, such as tooth contouring, lengthening teeth, and laser gum lifts so the smile is more toothy, less, well gummy.   Bonding, veneers and crowns can also enhance cheekbones and give your face a more chiseled bone structure.  “The first thing you do if you’re going to form a boy band is you send them to the dentist and get them all veneers,” says Dr. Moelleken.


2.  They proactively treat aging in small increments, over a long period

I know in about 10 years I’m going to being screaming Holy Jowl and begging for some type of procedure to get rid of them.  But if I were an actress, it would be done tomorrow according to Dr. Moelleken.

“They start at remarkably young ages, even the mid 20s.  They start to do fillers and Botox. And shortly after that, maybe the late twenties they start to do mild laser treatments.   It starts with surgeries in their 30s.  People are getting little eye bags taken care of.  They’re getting minimal eye lifts, minimal lateral brow lifts even in their 30s.   So now, in Beverly Hills, if you’re 40, you’ve probably had your first facelift.  Very conservative doctors would say ‘I can’t believe you’re operating on someone in their 30s’, but it’s a reality of Hollywood that 35 is not 20”.

The difference, Dr. Moelleken goes on to explain, is that these procedures are so small, because they’re more frequent so “you don’t see these things happening”.

hallebefore after

3. They train like Olympians and know how to use liposuction

What most people underestimate is how incredibly hard celebrities work to stay in shape.  It’s not a little Weight Watchers and Zumba once a week.  Every glass of wine is counted as an indulgence and cardio with strength training three to five times a week is de rigor.   Whether or not you regularly sport bikinis or do nude scenes, the camera adds weight, which is compounded if you’re shorter.

“That means people have to watch what they eat more so than normal people.  So if you’re 5’5” and 130 lbs and a celebrity, people are calling you fat.   So celebs have to do more, they have to go that extra mile with their diet, with their physical fitness.  And that’s just what’s expected of them,” says Dr. Moelleken.

Also, most of us don’t realize you can’t lipo your way to a great body unless you’re close to your ideal weight.  It’s doesn’t replace diet and exercise.  What it can do though, is reshape your shape.  As um, perhaps relocating some of that belly fat to the booty, or carving out a nipped waist, especially after a baby or two.


4. They allow themselves time to heal

Apparently, most of us who live our lives off camera tend to be a little more careless about the healing process.  For instance, after chip liposuction, you often have to wear a sling around your head, but most of us commoners ditch it too soon resulting in an even saggier chin and neck area.  Another common mistake is going into the sun too quickly after a chemical peel or laser treatment (guilty as charged over here).  This list goes on an on, but the point being that celebrities, because their looks and work is on the line, take the time to let the body heal properly.

5. They have the motivation and the $$$$

“Most celebrities have a lot of money so they can go see their plastic surgeon and get things done often.  Most normal people don’t have that kind of money, and they don’t have that kind of pressure even if they do have that kind of money to look the way they want.” says Dr. Moelleken.  Production companies and studios often fund nips and tucks for their marquis starlets, especially if they’re positioned as a bombshell.

The bottom line is, if your income depended on what you looked like, your butt would be moving faster than you could say Insanity.   And I can personally attest to the powerful motivation that only a TV producer can give when yelling at you to lose 20 pounds.

“So for celebrities, it’s literally you don’t work if you don’t look good.  It’s that harsh,” says Dr. Moelleken.  “They’re really held up to a different standard than most people”.

And if that isn’t enough pressure, imagine the kick in the pants you get from finding yourself featured on the wrong side of Star Magazine’s “Best and Worst Beach Bodies” issue.


While I won’t be signing up for a chin implant or hairline revision in this lifetime, this has made me rethink my “preservation” strategy.   Maybe it would be smarter for me to reallocate my Botox budget into a personal trainer.  Or perhaps a blepharoplasty next year instead defaulting to fillers until the end of time.  And maybe my smile could use more than just Crest White Strips.

Either way, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s exhausting and expensive to look celebrity gorgeous, so I’m happily settling for cute enough and thankful I don’t live my life in the Hollywood petri dish.

*The use of any celebrity image in this post should not imply any of them have been seen or treated as patients by Dr. Moelleken. 

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  • Reply
    April 14, 2015 at 12:00 AM

    Great post! Would love to see more articles like this! I may just make an appointment with my dentist now too!

  • Reply
    June 7, 2016 at 1:42 AM

    Your job is stupid

  • Reply
    Suzanne Lesley
    July 16, 2016 at 5:33 PM

    What does celebrity mean nowadays? It’s usually some over hyped, talentless attention seeker, who pay promoters to force themselves in our faces with fake stories for idiots to believe. None of us even wanted to see Kardashian naked, but it was hard to avoid as even when trying to read real news she was on the sidebar, forcing her naked body on us, then they kept saying she broke the internet.

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