Science shows that looks matter in getting ahead – so some workers, including Tyra Banks, got work done to stay competitive.
Getting work done could help you get more work.
One in three Americans is considering undergoing a cosmetic treatment like Botox, cosmetic dental work or a tummy tuck over the next year, according to a report from cosmetic treatment marketplace RealSelf released Wednesday. And 26% of those surveyed said that this desire stemmed from “wanting to appear youthful at work” or “looking for or starting a new job.” Almost half (43%) said that their reasons for getting a surgical or non-surgical cosmetic procedure were to improve their self esteem or confidence.
Just ask supermodel Tyra Banks, who got candid about the nose job she had done early in her career with her new book, “Perfect is Boring,” which hits shelves last spring.
“I had bones in my nose that were growing and itching. I could breathe fine, but I added cosmetic surgery. I admit it!” writes the “America’s Next Top Model” host, 44, according to People’s early look at the book. “Fake hair, and I did my nose. I feel I have a responsibility to tell the truth.”
Banks added that, “If you like your natural self, don’t worry about it. But if you feel insecure about something … I have a magic bag of beauty tricks to make you who you want to be. Permanent or temporary, I do not judge that.”
Plus, putting your best face forward can boost your bottom line. Marie, a 27-year-old fashion and lifestyle blogger in Los Angeles [who declined to give her last name], saw her web traffic jump 40% in the year since she dropped $10,000 on a nose job and lip fillers to give her face, what she calls, a more flattering profile.
“I had such low confidence in myself, and I hated my features so much, that I didn’t want to do a lot of photo shoots. And I never did video,” she told Moneyish. Marie had broken her nose in high school, and said her first rhinoplasty was a hatchet job, so she visited Dr. Daniel Barrett in Beverly Hills for a second nose job to fix the first.
“Now I love being in front of the camera, and so my career is skyrocketing,” she said. “My readers love the videos. It’s been a life-changing confidence boost for me.”
Nancy DellaRocco, 54, an executive for Harvard Business School, suffered a similar crisis of confidence when she began losing her hair in her 30s. Her job requires a lot of public speaking, and pitching executives, so the last thing she needed to worry about was people staring at her receding hairline.
How getting nose jobs, hair plugs and other cosmetic surgery enhanced these workers’ careers https://t.co/gRMhdrBIum
— Moneyish (@Moneyish) October 25, 2017
“You’re used to seeing men with male pattern baldness, but there’s such a stigma when you’re a woman,” she told Moneyish. “I was going to meetings and leading presentations – and I needed my hair! It sounds like a vanity thing, but it’s really about restoring confidence.”
So she spent $5,000 on a hair transplant with Dr. Robert Leonard of Leonard Hair Transplant Associates, and today she’s working a full head of hair.
“I was really self-conscious before, and the surgery turned that around,” she said. “I’m running 120 programs a year with over 11,000 executives from around the world, and doing media online, and I’m feeling really good about myself and my job.”
While nothing will replace work experience, a strong resume, marketable skills and being courteous and prepared in your job interview, science shows that looks still factor into a candidate’s appeal.
A recent John Hopkins University study, for example, found that people with successful nose jobs appear more attractive, more successful and healthier to other people than they did before getting work done. “While we are not suggesting that [a nose job] is the only way to improve one’s appearance, improving our attractiveness and health as compared to others conveys a competitive advantage,” wrote study co-author and plastic surgeon Dr. Lisa Ishii.
Other studies have shown that obese candidates are less likely to be hired or promoted over people with “normal” body weights. Additional research finds a correlation between attractiveness and income, with prettier people collecting the better paychecks – 22% more, according to a recent sociological study – than those who are only of “average” attractiveness. Comelier colleagues are also hired sooner and get promoted faster.
Dr. Daniel Maman, of 740 Park Plastic Surgery in Manhattan, told Moneyish that professionals come to him for nose jobs, fillers and injections, face lifts and neck liposuction for work.
“It’s certainly the norm for people to get their hair cut, go to the dermatologist to have their skin improved, or buy new clothes to dress nicely for a job interview, and the same idea is true for the services we provide,” he said. “In a competitive work environment, looking good, refreshed and non-stressed are important parts of being successful at certain jobs, certainly in sales and fields where there’s a lot of face-to-face interaction, or you’re pushing products.”
His most popular treatments are Botox and fillers (running $600 to $1,500) to treat wrinkles in the forehead, lines around the mouth and crow’s feet in the corners of the eyes, to make workers look young and refreshed, rather than fatigued and stressed. And those looking for a more extreme change will drop $7,000 to $40,000 on neck liposuction, neck lifts and face lifts to reverse age and gravity.
Dr. Melissa Doft, who runs a Park Avenue plastic surgery practice in Manhattan, told Moneyish that she gets patients in their 50s and 60s who are sick of people asking them, “When are you going to retire?”
“They feel young, and they want to look young and like they’re still on their game – which they are,” Dr. Doft said, “particularly in real estate and in the tech industry, which is composed of a largely younger crowd.”
And one businessman told her that Botox actually made him more approachable at work because it smoothed out his intimidating frown lines. “What he found was in the boardroom, people responded to him better afterward,” Dr. Doft said. “They talked to him more and voiced their ideas more often, and he thought it was because they’re not as afraid of him.”
But not all of these nip/tuck procedures are done to make someone look younger or nicer. Malia, a 22-year-old marketer from Honolulu, told Moneyish that she got a breast reduction from Dr. Barrett a little more than two years ago because her size triple G breasts made her so uncomfortable in the office.
“Even when I dressed in shirts and dresses that completely covered me up to the neck, I would still look ‘too sexy’ and get inappropriate comments, or people would be staring at my chest and not looking me in the eye,” she said. “Finding bras or work clothes that fit was really challenging and expensive, and I was so worried about whether I looked professional that it distracted me from my work.
“It’s unfortunate that society makes it so that women feel like their bodies hinder them,” she added.
She opted to spend $12,000 getting her breasts reduced to a size 36D for her own self confidence – and also because they were hurting her back and her wallet.
“The surgery has paid for itself in how much better I feel,” she said. “I like the way I can go to the gym. I can wear whatever I want to work, and not stress about whether something looks ‘sexy’ that’s not supposed to. And that is important, because I do presentations with brands, and I want to be looked at as a professional.”
You can’t sell yourself to an employer or client if you’re not sold on yourself, too.
“Confident people are the people who excel in the world. It’s not just about the resume,” said Dr. Doft. “So if you are really sensitive about one physical part of your body, and you can change that and feel great about it, why not?”
This article was originally published in October 2017 and has been updated.
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