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8 Cosmetic Surgeries in 8 Years…‘Modern Family’ Actor Reid Ewing on his Addiction to Plastic Surgery

Adesola Ade-Unuigbe



Modern Family actor Reid Ewing (plays the role of Dylan) got his very first surgery at 19 because he was convinced that one procedure could make him look like Brad Pitt.

He soon discovered that he had Body Dysmorphic Disorder – a mental illness in which a person obsesses over the way he or she looks.

Reid Ewing Before the Surgeries

Reid Ewing Before the Surgeries

Reid Ewing in 2015

Reid Ewing in 2015

The 27-year-old actor wrote an open letter to his fans through Huffington Post where he admits that he has had countless number of surgeries because there was always something to correct after each new surgery.

Read his letter below.

Body dysmorphic disorder is a mental illness in which a person obsesses over the way he or she looks. In my case, my looks were the only thing that mattered to me. I had just moved to LA to become an actor and had very few, if any, friends. I’d sit alone in my apartment and take pictures of myself from every angle, analyzing every feature.

After a few years of doing this, one day I decided I had to get cosmetic surgery. “No one is allowed to be this ugly,” I thought. “It’s unacceptable.”

In 2008, when I was 19 years old, I made my first appointment to meet with a cosmetic surgeon. I genuinely believed if I had one procedure I would suddenly look like Brad Pitt.

I told the doctor why I felt my face needed cosmetic surgery and told him I was an actor. He agreed that for my career it would be necessary to get cosmetic surgery. He quickly determined that large cheek implants would address the issues I had with my face, and a few weeks later I was on the operating table. He spoke with me before I went under, but he wasn’t the same empathetic person I met with during the consultation. He was curt and uninterested in my worries, making small talk with his staff as I lost consciousness.

I woke up screaming my head off from pain, with tears streaming down my face. The doctor kept telling me to calm down, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t do anything but scream, while he and his staff tried seemingly to hold back their laughter.

Something I was not told ahead of time was that I would have to wear a full facial mask for two weeks. Afraid someone would find out I had work done, I took my dog and some supplies, left Los Angeles, and headed to Joshua Tree. I got lost on the way and stopped at a gas station in the middle of the night. It was closed, but I saw someone inside. Knowing I looked strange, I gently knocked on the store window trying to look as unthreatening as possible. When the man saw me, he drew back in terror. He immediately grabbed the phone to call the police (at least that’s what I assumed). I ran back to my car and drove off.

For the next two weeks, I stayed at a hotel doped up on hydrocodone. When the time came to take off the bandages, it was nothing like I had expected. My face was so impossibly swollen, there was no way I could make any excuse for it. So I planned to hide out in my apartment in LA for another week until the swelling was less dramatic.

On the way home, a cop pulled me over for a broken tail light. When she came to the window, we stared at one another in bewilderment. She asked what happened to my face, and I said I had been in a car accident. She went back to her car and got a Polaroid camera and took a picture of me. She let me off without saying much else, but I couldn’t help imagining she would show the picture off back at the station, and that one day it would surface and ruin me.

After all the swelling finally went down, the results were horrendous. The lower half of my cheeks were as hollow as a corpse’s, which, I know, is the opposite of what you’d expect, as they are called cheek implants. They would be more aptly called cheekbone implants.

I went back to the doctor several times in a frenzy, but he kept refusing to operate on me for another six months, saying I would eventually get used to the change. I couldn’t let anyone see me like this, so I stayed in complete isolation. When I went out, people on the street would stare at me, and when I visited my parents they thought I had contracted some illness.

Unable to take this state of living, I began to seek out another doctor. 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. After the surgery, he waited with me while the anesthesia wore off so I could drive home. We had a heart-to-heart conversation, and he shared that it had been difficult to keep his practice open with the two lawsuits he was currently fighting.

At this point I was 20 years old. For the next couple of years, I would get several more procedures with two other doctors. Each procedure would cause a new problem that I would have to fix with another procedure. Anyone who has had a run-in with bad cosmetic surgery knows this is true. In terms of where I got the money to fund my procedures, it may not be as expensive as you would think. The new business model for cosmetic surgeons is to charge less and get more people in and out. I used the money I saved from acting and then borrowed from my parents and grandmother when I was most desperate.

Much of this was going on during the same time period I was shooting “Modern Family.” Most of the times I was on camera were when I’d had the numerous implants removed and was experimenting with less-noticeable changes to my face, like injectable fillers and fat transfers. None of them last very long or are worth the money.

At the beginning of 2012, all the isolation, secrecy, depression, and self-hate became too much to bear. I vowed I would never get cosmetic surgery again even though I was still deeply insecure about my looks. It took me about six months before I was comfortable with people even looking at me.

Of the four doctors who worked on me, not one had mental health screenings in place for their patients, except for asking if I had a history of depression, which I said I did, and that was that. My history with eating disorders and the cases of obsessive compulsive disorder in my family never came up. None of the doctors suggested I consult a psychologist for what was clearly a psychological issue rather than a cosmetic one or warn me about the potential for addiction.

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.

Not long after I had decided to stop getting surgeries, I saw the first doctor I met with on a talk show and then in a magazine article, giving tips on getting cosmetic surgery. Well, this is written to counter his influence. Before seeking to change your face, you should question whether it is your mind that needs fixing.

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.

Source: Huffington Post

Adesola is the BellaNaija Head of Content and Digital Ventures. She is a BN stan.. Yes, things are that serious for her when it comes to She's a lover of gist, novels, music, and food. She's constantly trying not to take life for granted. She spends most of her time either keeping up with the world on the Internet or sharing some acquired knowledge about digital media. She is passionate about using her voice to speak against injustice, especially towards women. To communicate with her directly, you can hit her up on: Instagram - Twitter - @Adesola_AU


  1. C_ogochukwu

    November 21, 2015 at 9:04 pm

    There’s no different between the first and second pic

    • dora glasberg

      November 22, 2015 at 8:25 am

      You’re not very perceptive.
      His chin is twice as large.

  2. Marie Antoinette

    November 21, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    “Now I can see that I was fine to begin with and didn’t need the surgeries after all.”
    Absolutely!!!!! Only if he realised it earlier. Disorder or no disorder, people should stop trying to recreate, alter or mend themselves. There’s only one creator, GOD!

  3. Corolla

    November 21, 2015 at 10:04 pm

    What part of the word “disorder” don’t you get? If he was of sound mind, would he have had multiple surgeries ni…

    • Damilola

      November 23, 2015 at 3:43 am

      Americans, Stop naming everything disorder. Y’all ike to give excuses. It’s all about self control and self acceptance. Most of these celebrities do surgeries, especially since they are in the limelight. The comparison, insecurity skyrockets. Damn it, if I see myself on TV, being as critical as I am. And. If I have the money, and not being so afraid of needles. I’ll fix things I don’t like. I won’t go overboard with it.

  4. Bekee

    November 21, 2015 at 10:59 pm

    1st world problems…We have the inventor of the mirror to blame for all of this.

  5. Madam small bumbum

    November 22, 2015 at 1:15 am

    My person no be first world problem oh. In fact earlier today I was busy writing names of prospective butt surgeons I would be going to in a couple of months. My little as in extremely empty behind is not very much adored by our men, maybe I should find me an oyinbo man ***sigh***Anyway this article was very helpful because I’m actually reconsidering not having the surgery

    • eyong

      November 22, 2015 at 4:29 am

      One thing I always used to tell an ex of mine every time she complained that she felt her butt wasn’t big enough was that she should remember who I told her was the most beautiful woman in the world. AALIYAH! Well, accroding to me, sha. Lol. She was a tomboy, even, but there was something about her that was so genuinely endearing that it was hard not to notice her. I guess what I’m trying to say is, beauty is so much more than how big your butt is. Infact, you can still do the surgery, but what next? What if you meet a great guy that likes big boobs, will you do those too? What if he says you should have lighter skin, will you bleach too? If you cannot value yourself as you are, no one else will ooo. And even if you meet one of the very very few who can, you wouldn’t know how to handle it, because you can’t see for yourself what he sees in you.

  6. Barbs

    November 22, 2015 at 1:18 am

    Wow very insightful piece. Im happy he found the light at the end of his tunnel. Speaking on his situation will ensure its not in vain even if it only draws one person from making what could eventually turn out to be a bad decision. Mental health is not a joke, moreover its disgusting that health professionals are allowed to operate like this. Taking advantage of young people knowing full well what the outcome will be they are no different from crack peddler preying on the weak.

  7. l

    November 22, 2015 at 5:56 am

    eyah, sorry oh but the after pic is worse than the before!!! anyways hope u get better!!

  8. lape

    November 22, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    Body dysmorphic disorder? Really? So now its a thing?

  9. niyoola

    November 22, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    I’m struggling with him being classifed as having Body Dismorphia Disorder. Seems to me he didn’t like his looks, got surgey, didn’t like the results and kept going back to try to fix it.
    Just like having breast implants, maybe you wanted to be a 34D, Doc gave u 34DD, too small. Did another surgery (add a lil’ bit of weigth gain) and you end up with 36C, which is a very similar breast size to 34D, but not exactly what you want, so you go for another surgery ….. keep going till you have the ‘perfect size”. That’s not dysmorphia boo.
    Abi what will we call Nicki Minaj, Kim K, Michelle, Michael Jackson and his nose n chin??

    These people just like to overhype things abeg, seeking for attention, notice me i quench.

    • niyoola

      November 22, 2015 at 8:16 pm

      *34DD too big

  10. A.M. Yenikomshian

    December 7, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    Even though many people consider a few plastic surgery procedures to be safe for use but being addicted to can lead to serious health risks. If you attempt to completely reconstruct your appearance using plastic surgery, the result might be very regretful.

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