A lot of importance is placed on the way you look in Hollywood, so it’s no surprise that such superficial hang-ups can cause real issues among actors on both the big and small screen.
Even so, Modern Family actor Reid Ewing’s searingly honest essay about his struggles with plastic surgery and body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) has given a real insight into issues of male body image in the industry.
The 27-year-old – who plays Dylan on the smash-hit U.S. sitcom – has been lauded for his revelations in the Huffington Post article.
In the candid essay, Ewing revealed that he first went under the knife at just 19, soon after he moved to Hollywood in 2008.
Body dysmorphic disorder is a mental illness in which a person obsesses over the way he or she looks. In my case, my looks were the only thing that mattered to me. I had just moved to LA to become an actor and had very few, if any, friends. I’d sit alone in my apartment and take pictures of myself from every angle, analysing every feature.
He made an appointment with a plastic surgeon, who agreed that for his acting career, he should get cosmetic surgery, with Ewing adding: “I genuinely believed if I had one procedure I would suddenly look like Brad Pitt”.
The youngster got large cheek implants but said he woke up in severe pain and, later, the results horrified him. He visited another “even less qualified” doctor to fix the problem and was advised to get a chin implant, which was also botched and he was forced to go under the knife again.
Over the next few years, Ewing continued to scrape money together for more and more procedures, also trying injectable fillers and fat transfers, but each brought more issues. More worryingly, he points out that none of the plastic surgeons actually screened him for any potential mental health issues.
All in all, Ewing paints quite the horrific picture of plastic surgery and exploitative doctors performing the procedures, not to mention the industry’s complete lack of understanding about BDD.
Ewing’s powerful piece has sparked conversation on social media and other platforms about male body image, and many have thanked him for opening up about his struggles to accept the way he looks.
Ewing is now attending college in Utah and says he regrets his decision to undergo numerous surgeries at such a young age.
People with body dysmorphic disorder often become addicted to cosmetic surgery. It’s a problem that is rarely taken seriously because of the public shaming of those who have had work done. I wish I could go back and undo all the surgeries. Now I can see that I was fine to begin with and didn’t need the surgeries after all.
You can check out Ewing’s full essay here.