What if Your Agent or News Director Told you to get Cosmetic Surgery?

Even Today, News Director and consultants call female talent into the office and tell them they need to cut their hair.

It's like cutting hair is the magic bullet to higher ratings. 

I don't know of a single case of a male Reporter?Anchor being told to cut his hair.

Now, what would you do if your News Director told you to get a boob job, or fix your nose or eyes? 

That is exactly what happened to Julie Chen, who hosts The Talk on CBS. 

Chen has been very honest about the fact that her Agent and News Director suggested she would never make it in this business if she didn’t alter her appearance. They told her the shape of her monolid eyes often made her look "disinterested." More specifically, her News Director said, "You'll never make it on this anchor desk because you're Chinese ... Our audience can't relate to you because you're not like them."

Chen had the surgery, called blepharoplasty (a.k.a. double eyelid surgery), an extremely painful procedure done in two parts over a couple of years when she was 25. But, never spoke of it until her early 40s, when she revealed on The Talk that “it felt like a grown-up version of racism in the workplace.” Now, at 46, she tells Glamour about the reaction she's received since going public about her decision, whether she’d do anything differently today, and what she wants young women to know about their own beauty.

Since I first revealed my surgery on The Talk, the reaction from the Asian community—specifically from Asian women—has been tremendous. Many told me they finally felt free from feeling shamed. Others told me they wanted to get it done, but it felt like it was a dirty little secret people in the Asian community didn’t discuss, especially with non-Asians, and even with their own family. I had one sister and one aunt who thought it was denying my heritage. It was considered shameful. A disappointment. Then there were women in non-Asian communities who were flabbergasted that this was such a thing. It was very, no pun intended, eye-opening.

Having the surgery was not thought of again until an agent flat out said, "If you get this surgery, you’ll get into a top 10 market. If you don’t get the surgery, you won’t." I was in Dayton, Ohio then, which was market 52 at that point, I think. Today, people want to know why I didn’t go after that news director for telling me to physically alter my appearance. Well, I was 25, and I wasn’t going to stage a lawsuit against the corporation, especially at that time. You have to remember I was looking at someone who was an expert and a success in the field, who was giving me advice—not holding a gun to my head—and saying it’s your choice.

To this day, I have no regrets about the surgery. I don't live my life with regrets. I stand by my decisions and any bad ones I have made, I learn from them. The surgery doesn't define who I am; it's just a chapter in my life. It didn't change who I am or how I live. I don't look in the mirror and see a different person who I don't recognize. I'm just me—and I feel good about that.