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Julie Chen admits getting plastic surgery, says ‘Asian eyes’ hurt her career

Julie

Veteran Chinese-American journalist Julie Chen has opened up about having extensive plastic surgery to look more Caucasian.

In an emotional confession on Wednesday, the co-host of CBS’ The Talk daytime show told the cast she made the decision in her twenties as a rookie reporter at WDTN-TV in Dayton, Ohio.

“I asked my news director, I said if over the holidays anchors want to take vacations, could I fill in?’ And he said, ‘You will never be on this anchor desk, because you’re Chinese,” she recalled.

“He said, ‘Let’s face it, Julie, how relatable are you to our community? How big of an Asian community do we really have in Dayton? On top of that, because of your heritage, because of your Asian eyes, I’ve noticed that when you’re on camera, when you’re interviewing someone, you look disinterested and bored because your eyes are so heavy, they are so small.’”

Not long after, Chen said she made the controversial choice to surgically rearrange her face following a meeting with a sought-after agent who said, “I cannot represent you unless you get plastic surgery to make your eyes look bigger.”

The surgery, called Asian blepharoplasty or “double eyelid surgery,” reshapes the eyelid to have a crease. The cosmetic surgery took about a year to heal, said Chen. Though, she admits she has struggled with the decision she said since the procedure her career has taken off.

During the televised confession Chen showed her before-and-after news headshots and the audience gasped. “The eyes are bigger,” said Big Brother host Chen. “I look more alert, more expressive.”

Indeed, upon close examination of the photos, social media websites have been abuzz with speculation that Chen has also had surgery to narrow and straighten her old “ethnic” nose.

Her decision to go under the knife in a bid for professional success was welcomed by the other co-hosts.

Sheryl Underwood said, “You have made a choice that was good for you and you have represented your people. You have represented your race; you have represented women and your colleagues. Don’t look back.”

Sharon Osbourne applauded Chen for toning down her features. “Fabulous!” she said. “I think is was the right thing to do.”

By Kunbi Tinuoye | Originally published on September 13, 2013

Follow Kunbi Tinuoye on Twitter at @Kunbiti

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Kunbi Tinuoye
Kunbi Tinuoye
Kunbi Tinuoye is the founder and CEO of UrbanGeekz. Previously, she worked as a News Correspondent for NBC’s theGrio. Prior, she was a senior broadcast journalist for the BBC in London. Tinuoye currently sits on the SXSW Pitch Advisory Board and CES Conference Advisory Board. She is a key player in the Atlanta tech startup ecosystem and serves as a mentor for Comcast NBCUniversal’s The Farm Accelerator. Tinuoye has received several awards and accolades, including being honored with a Resolution from the Georgia Legislative.
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