During the sugar cookie-induced stupor that is the few days between Christmas and New Years Eve, I scrolled glaze-eyed through an Instagram account (@IGfamousbydana) that posts celebrities present and past. The side-by-side photos show how pop stars and models’ subtle surgeries have altered their appearance. 

The results are noses, hairlines, and jaws all a little firmer and fuller than they were in the years prior. The captions describe the “barely there” Botox, buttlifts, and boob jobs necessary to achieve the look. 

At times Dana, the account manager, divulges the insane costs of the procedures and their continued maintenance. 

These descriptions aren’t disparaging or moralistic. Dana is very complimentary about the procedures done to perfect the look, as well as the accomplishments of the starlet at hand. 

“[This] nose job is one of my absolute favorites. She kept true to her shape with just a little tweaking and without going too small,” reads one caption. Another caption regarding a small breast augmentation goes, “I love them, they really fit her frame.”

Two caveats before I go any further: the subjects of @IGfamousbydana and her conversations are overwhelmingly women. These women opt for the surgeries in no small part because their career and society demands they look a certain way. I fully agree, but that’s not my point.

(Although you’d be surprised by the number of male celebrities posted. Jeff Bezos might get Botox? Hair and chin fillers are a thing?) 

Second, I have no intention of discussing the morality of getting these surgeries. Like Dana, I just want to acknowledge that they’re there, along with a host of other expensive but less invasive interventions, and these “barely there” improvements are not the results of drinking water, eating healthy, and wearing sunscreen.

This account would have surprised me more five years ago. My older sister Anneke works in the beauty section of a women’s magazine and has shared the ins and outs of what it takes to be beautiful. First and foremost, one should have vast sums of money.

Every gorgeous face you see on screen is carefully curated, prodded and shaped to be that way. That takes an insane price tag. Plastic surgeries, although the most drastic, are just the tip of the iceberg. 

Red carpet hair requires extensions to look that thick. Celebrities regularly get fake tans, facials and eyelash extensions to achieve a glowy, poreless no-makeup look. All of this is applied by professionals who are the most talented and requested in their field. It takes a lot of effort to be effortless.

Not to mention, the makeup and skincare of the A List is not what’s on drugstore shelves. Their blush, contour, mascara, etc. costs hundreds of dollars. The price of their shampoo and conditioner routine might rival your rent. 

The New Year elicits hopes of looking better, and the form that takes on is inspired by those we see on the red carpet. But before February rolls around and you feel like you’ve let yourself down, know that what they’ve got has been bought. 

This isn’t to stigmatize or moralize at the professionally pretty; it’s just to acknowledge an oft-forgotten fact. You get what you pay for, and celebrities pay a lot more than the rest of us.


  1. Kayleigh Fongers

    Catching up on reading this month’s posts and I wanted to say I really appreciate the matter-of-fact nature of this piece. “It takes a lot of effort to be effortless.” – So true!

  2. Tom Eggebeen

    Thank you …


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