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Will Reality Television Affect Plastic Surgery Figures?



Some social commentators and trend forecasters speculate that the appetite for plastic surgery may be hitting a plateau, at least in countries where it is already popular, especially the United States for instance. Though it has not reached the same peaks in the UK as that of the US or other countries, some think the same is happening here – year-on-year figures show an increase in numbers, however at a slower pace than previous years.

What may start to have an impact on the popularity of such procedures however is the rise of reality television across both sides of the Atlantic, and what influence this will wield on the next generation of potential plastic surgery patients? Reality TV stars in both countries seem to share a similar passion – for cosmetic enhancements to approve appearance.

The TOWIE Factor

Shows such as The Only Way Is Essex (or TOWIE, as it is most commonly referred to) and The Geordie Shore in the UK, and The Hills and The Real Housewives of Beverley Hills in the US, show a constant stream of participants undertaking non-surgical treatments such as Botox, fillers and chemical peels whilst they also tend to open up on their surgical procedures such as breast implants and nose jobs.

Arguably, celebrities have always indirectly endorsed plastic surgery in this way. Several TV, film, and music stars bow to the pressure of constant scrutiny and so subscribe to the industry-normalized succession of continuous invasive and non-invasive procedures. The difference with reality stars however is that they are admitting to it, so in this way, it becomes part of the mainstream whilst becoming more acceptable and less of a taboo subject.

In this respect, reality stars are a refreshing change, though whether or not their honesty surrounding what treatments they get is based on moral adherence to truth is debatable. Reality TV stars, by their very job description, are laying their lives bare for TV audiences to observe, in which case that (usually) must include revealing everything they do, including plastic surgery. This can have a two-fold effect – they are sometimes lauded for their honesty but also ridiculed in the press over what they have had done.

Role models

Either way, it brings such treatments to the fore, and their huge popularity, particularly with younger people, will no doubt have an effect. Already the numbers of young people seeking Botox injections are rising, as endorsed by TOWIE’s young stars. Boob jobs, whilst always the most popular procedure in the UK and the US anyway, have seen a spike in popularity. UK-based plastic surgeon Adrian Richards comments:

“We can see the impact that reality TV has had in our clinics – predominantly younger females will request nose surgery or a breast enlargement along the lines of an X reality star.”

Whilst for this generation the popularity of plastic surgery may be nearing a plateau, for the next generation it could be an entirely different story.