In 2004, MTV premiered I Want a Famous Face. Capitalizing in the public’s obsession with movie stars, models, and TV actors–as well as the success of plastic surgery reality programs The Swan and Extreme Makeover — MTV released what is, in my opinion, the creepiest show of all time.
The show’s premise was simple: take “average-looking” people, and transform them into a celebrity look-a-like through the magic of cosmetic surgery. There were the two brothers who desperately wanted to look like Brad Pitt. There was the woman who wanted Carmen Electra’s body, the aspiring actress who wanted Jessica Simpson’s chest, and the transgender porn star who wanted to more closely resemble Pamela Anderson.
The knife is a powerful tool, but it can only go so far. These contestants–I don’t even know if that’s quite the right word–never quite looked like their target early-aught celeb of choice. At best, they maybe resembled an average-looking distant relative. Still, in post-op interviews, the vast majority of the show’s participants said they were happy with the procedures they had done (albeit, these were in interviews for mtv.com, so I’m taking everything with a grain of salt).
Like these people, I am also interested in cosmetic surgery. Unlike these people (I have to wonder how the two “Brad Pitts” look a decade later), I’m not interested in “a famous face,” but rather, my own.
As you may know, I’m transgender. From age 12 to 26, a testosterone-heavy mix of hormones coursed through my body. In 2012, I began hormone replacement therapy in an effort to reverse as much of the testosterone-induced damage as possible. Sadly, while hormone therapy can have some wonderful effects, it cannot undo my pubescent past.
Last week, I met with a surgeon to discuss a few procedures I’ve been considering for some time. He asked what I was looking for, and my response was simple: I want the face I should have had all along. I want the face I could have had if I hadn’t been transgender, or at very least, the face I could have had if I would have started hormone replacement therapy in my teens. I want to undo the damage testosterone has had, giving me the face I should have been looking back at my whole life.
I won’t bore anyone with the gory details of procedures that would reshape my jaw, chin, and hairline. From a pop culture point of view, think of the movie Face/Off.
Sadly, the cost is beyond anything I could hope to save in the next several years, and it’s extremely unlikely that my insurance will cover me. Still, this is something I know at my core that I need in order to feel happy with who I am. I just want to look like the person I should have been all along, and so I’ll scrimp, save, and fundraise in order to get it.
So here I am, trying to decide how exactly I’ll ever get the tens of thousands of dollars needed for a surgery many may view as elective and cosmetic, but for me, is a key component of being happy with myself.
I started a GoFundMe page to run alongside my own saving efforts, and while I hate to ask for money, I’m putting it out there in the event that there’s anyone interested in donating. So far, I’ve been thrilled with the response. So here I am, yet again laying bare my most personal, torturous, secrets. I’ve always been one to “put myself out there,” and this is no exception. I see my flaws, and I recognize what I need to do in order to correct them.
For anyone interested, my personal GoFundMe campaign can be found here. I don’t expect anyone to donate, as I know there are causes much more dire, much more important than this. I’m trying to raise the necessary funds over the coming months, and should there be any interest, I’ll be writing detailed pieces about the experience if and when I’m able to have these procedures completed.