Reid Ewing From “Modern Family” Talks About Body Dysmorphic Disorder And His Plastic Surgery Nightmares
27-year-old Reid Ewing plays Haley’s stoner on-and-off-again boyfriend on Modern Family and in an essay for HuffPo, he writes that a year before he got the role he started a terrifying plastic surgery journey that jacked him up on the inside and the outside. Reid writes that when he first moved to L.A., he’d sit alone in his apartment and just analyze his face from every angle. Now, that may not seem that weird to you since 85% of the people with an Instagram account do that for hours while taking selfies. But when Reid looked in the mirror, he didn’t like what he saw.
When Reid was 19, he met with a plastic surgeon for the very first time and he was convinced that one surgery would solve all of his issues and he’d come out looking like an adonis. He told the plastic surgeon that he’s an actor and he felt like changing his face would help his career. The doctor agreed with him. The doctor told him he should get large chicken cutlet cheek implants installed and he went with it. Reid says that on the day of his surgery, his plastic surgeon was pretty cold with him and when he woke up, the pain made him scream and cry, which the staff thought was funny.
For two long weeks, he looked like the Phantom of the Damn Opera, because he had to wear a full face mask, something he says his plastic surgeon never told him about. Reid hid out for two weeks while his face healed and when it came time to take off the badges, he hated what he saw. He was a swollen mess. After the swelling went down, he says his cheek implants did the opposite of what they were supposed to do and he looked like a malnourished zombie. His family thought he had the sicks. Reid hated the way he looked even more so he stayed inside as much as possible. His plastic surgeon refused to operate on him for six months so he went to a different one:
The next one I found was even less qualified, but I didn’t care; I just wanted out of my situation. I told him my story, and he suggested I get a chin implant. I asked if it would repair my sunken-in face, and he said I would be so happy with my looks it wouldn’t matter to me. The same day he brought me into his back office and operated on me.
Like before, I went into hiding post-surgery. Only a few days passed when I noticed I could move the chin implant under my skin, easily moving it from one side of my face to another. I rushed back to the surgeon, and acknowledging he had made a mistake, he operated on me again.
Reid was only 20 when he got that wonky chin implant. He says that for the next few years, he got his face tucked, rotated, cinched and filled several times by two doctors. He paid for all of his procedures with his acting money and cash he borrowed from his family, but he says that plastic surgery isn’t as expensive as you’d think it is. He says that many back alley doctors keep prices low so they can get a whole lot of patients.
In 2012, four years after his face was touched with a plastic surgeon’s scalpel for the very first time, he decided that he was done with getting his mug worked on and vowed to never get plastic surgery again. Back then, he still hated the way he looked, but eventually he grew to be comfortable with his looks.
He side-eyes all the doctors who worked on him, because he suffered from eating disorders before and none of them asked him about his mental health history or said, “Trick, you need to see a psychiatrist.” He thinks that many of those shady surgeons don’t bring up BDD because it’s bad for business.
People with body dysmorphic disorder often become addicted to cosmetic surgery. Gambling with your looks, paired with all the pain meds doctors load you up on, make it a highly addictive experience. It’s a problem that is rarely taken seriously because of the public shaming of those who have had work done. The secrecy that surrounds cosmetic surgery keeps the unethical work practiced by many of these doctors from ever coming to light. I think people often choose cosmetic surgery in order to be accepted, but it usually leaves them feeling even more like an outsider. We don’t hear enough stories about cosmetic surgery from this perspective.
He ends his essay by saying that he’s okay with how he looks now and he doesn’t think plastic surgery is the work of the devil.
Plastic surgery is not always a bad thing. It often helps people who actually need it for serious cases, but it’s a horrible hobby, and it will eat away at you until you have lost all self-esteem and joy. 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.
And this is what Reid looked like before all the surgeries:
You can read his entire piece here and it’s even more sad and scary than an episode of Botched. Reid’s piece is insightful, but while reading it, I realized how obsessed I am with eyebrows. I thought about how magnificent his are and if I found out that a doctor recommended that he should get his brows trimmed, I’d report that bitch to the proper authorities!
Pics: ABC/Getty, Johnny Olson/HuffPo