Bella Hadid’s Refreshing Transparency on Plastic Surgery


Bella Hadid admitted in a cover story for Vogue that she not only got a nose job at 14, but regrets her decision to undergo the procedure. (Courtesy of Flickr)

Recently, Bella Hadid came out in a cover story for Vogue about getting a nose job at 14, something she consistently denied for years. With Hadid’s nose being one of the most sought-after and requested noses, the revelation that hers was also the product of plastic surgery is significant. However, what is, perhaps, more important is her admitting that she regrets the procedure, as her confession now opens the door to a discussion about the pressure to conform to a certain standard of beauty. 

We live in a culture where there is pressure to conform to a specific appearance which is an incredibly narrow, eurocentric standard of beauty. This standard is present with Hadid’s choice as well. Bella Hadid, unlike her sister Gigi Hadid, more closely resembles her Palestinian heritage. In the Vogue article, Hadid said she felt insecure and like “the uglier sister” to Gigi. Even though the two look incredibly different, the constant comparisons led Hadid to get a nose job, a procedure that she now regrets. 

This feeling of erasure is familiar. There’s a long tradition of Hollywood actors changing their names and getting plastic surgery to erase parts of their heritage and appear more eurocentric to advance their careers. Many adolescents get plastic surgery to adhere to a standard of outdated and unfair beauty. In young girls, it goes further. Women feel constant pressure to change their appearances. It can be as simple as putting on makeup to look “presentable” or something more extreme like the choice to undergo plastic surgery as a minor. 

To be clear, there is nothing wrong or shameful about Hadid getting plastic surgery. It’s a universal experience to be insecure about certain aspects of our appearance. Although it ultimately contributed to her career as one of the highest-paid models, the important thing to consider is the fact that Hadid didn’t get the nose job to get ahead; she got it because she was insecure about her appearance, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The issue comes in when celebrities lie about their choice to get plastic surgery. 

There are countless examples of celebrities who  deny or hide their plastic surgery: Kylie Jenner initially denied getting lip fillers before she eventually confessed that she got them done. After years of denying getting any plastic surgery, Tyra Banks, a famous model, admitted to getting a secret nose job at the start of her career. Jenner and Banks are people who have recently admitted to going under the knife and that doesn’t even begin to touch on the countless celebrities under speculation for getting something done. 

Kim Kardashian, Madison Beer and Doja Cat are just some people speculated to have gotten plastic surgery but constantly deny it. When celebrities lie about plastic surgery, they continue to propagate a standard of beauty that is unattainable and damaging, particularly to young girls. 

People look up to celebrities and compare themselves to them, a practice that has been made easier by social media. Young people, especially young girls, are developing  negative body image and self-esteem issues because they feel inadequate and insecure about their appearance compared to these celebrities’ “natural” beauty. When stars lie about going under the knife, they’re constructing a standard of beauty that can never be achieved naturally, yet young girls feel pressured to attain it. 

The question has to be asked: Why is there such pressure for women to look a certain way in society, and why do we continue to strive towards something that has ultimately become unattainable?

The answer to this question is in no way simple and too complicated to even begin to figure out how to dismantle it. But as a solution, celebrities can start to be more transparent about their choices. If they were to be transparent about their choice, perhaps there would be more of an understanding that these are unmeetable standards. Or, at the very least, celebrities shouldn’t deny that they’ve gotten something done. 

After years of denial, Hadid coming clean about her choice to get a nose job feels like a step in the right direction for celebrity transparency and honesty about plastic surgery and the standard of beauty. With so few celebrities coming out and speaking about plastic surgery and even fewer speaking about how they regret getting plastic surgery, they could change the choice to get plastic surgery at a young age.

Yet, there is more to do before we can get to a place where there isn’t pressure to meet a eurocentric standard of beauty or conform to what society wants women to be. Let’s be honest and transparent. Let us work towards dismantling a standard of beauty that is rigged and unattainable.

Samantha Scott, FCRH ’24, is an international political economy major from Columbus, Ohio.