Like millions of Americans, Triana Lavey loves taking selfies. But the 37-year-old television producer from Los Angeles didn’t really like herself in her Facebook photos or during Skype chats. So in 2012, she decided to get plastic surgery to achieve the perfect selfie look. Triana spent a whopping $15,000 to change the shape of her face. And that’s just the discounted price because her plastic surgeon is a family friend.
Triana believes in presenting the best of herself online. “Your social media presence is just as important as your real life presence,” she said. But she was not always happy with the selfie pictures she took. She would use popular iPhone apps with filters that gave her the perfect airbrushed look. But over time, she began to notice flaws in her face that she felt needed more permanent fixing. Changing camera angles didn’t work anymore, so she decided to go under the knife for a nose job and a chin implant.
“Ten years ago, I don’t think I even noticed that I have a weak chin,” Triana had said before her surgery. “That darned chin bugs the living daylights out of me. It’s kind of the first thing I look for in the photos – ‘how does my chin look?’ – which is really weird.” So she had an implant inserted into her chin at Dr. Richard Ellenbogen’s clinic in Beverly Hills. The doctor didn’t stop with the chin, though. He suggested a few other changes like fat grafting and a nose job. Triana was convinced she needed them too and ended up spending $15,000 on her face.
Changing your face just to look good in pictures might sound extreme, but Triana doesn’t think so. She’s really happy with the way her face turned out. “I now have the face that I always thought I had,” she said. “I look like myself, but Photoshopped.” And she believes that plastic surgery isn’t just about getting an ego-boost. She thinks it’s actually a necessity in today’s world.
Triana works as a senior talent manager at a firm that specializes in finding the next big online star. She manages the careers of several internet ‘stars’ like makeup guru Nicole Guerriero. Her job has made her realize that you need to look good online in order to be successful. “Today this business is moving at the speed of the internet,” she said. “Your selfie is your head shot so you can reinvent yourself every day with your iPhone. It’s a legitimate form of promoting yourself.”
Almost 90 percent of American teenagers are obsessed with uploading picture-perfect selfies. It seems that all they do day and night is click pictures of themselves. And they have thousands of apps at their disposal to make themselves look great. If they feel they look too fat, they have Skinee Pix that makes them slimmer. For dull skin and blemishes there’s always Facetune. And even if the photograph is a total disaster, that can be fixed too. Pefect365 is an app that allows users to airbrush selfie photos and achieve cover girl perfection.
In spite of so many apps, it’s surprising that Triana would still want to modify her face through surgery. But she said that using these apps didn’t make her feel good about the way she looked in real life. “I think using these apps and filtering all of it, skews our perception of how we should look. I think it’s making us hold ourselves to a higher unrealistic standard,” she said. “When you do see a picture of yourself hanging out, your instinct is, ‘oh I wish I were tanner or not wrinkled’ and this is a natural response due to the culture we are gearing towards.”
“To me, plastic surgery should be a last-ditch effort,” she added. “After you have worked out, after you’ve good discipline in your diet and exercise then you go to surgery.” Triana thinks there is nothing wrong with a little plastic surgery to make you look your best. “Not everyone is born beautiful and if you can get a little help from an app or a nip-tuck then more power to you.”