In light of an annual report by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery that found that 57% of people get plastic surgery to stay competitive at work, we asked Raleigh Seldon, a 26-year-old marketing coordinator in L.A., to explain, in her own words, how rhinoplasty boosted her self confidence — and her career. The following story was told to Kelsey Castañon and edited for length and clarity.
Growing up in Toronto, Canada, plastic surgery, or anything else that altered your natural state, was super hush-hush and taboo — I knew nothing about it. The only real introduction I got was from reality shows like the Real Housewives, and even then they only talked about Botox. So I always knew I hated photos of myself, but I never knew what could be done. It wasn't until last year, when I was working as a style editor at E! News, that I started to consider getting a nose job.
These days, everyone in media is becoming the face of their own personal "brand." I had all these editors around me who would include selfies of themselves in their articles or go on camera, and I just couldn't do it. I never wanted to shoot anything live because I was so worried about what my profile looked like. That absolutely hindered the path I could have taken my career on. When I wrote first-person pieces, I would either opt out of including a photo of myself, or I would reluctantly take one and my boss wouldn't be happy with the imagery.
I never directly said anything about my appearance to my boss, but I had a personal relationship with her, so she knew my nose was something that bothered me. Whenever I got photos back, I'd be so picky and push it back to the retoucher. She observed that behaviour and was like, "Okay, I see what's going on here."
A good friend of mine was the beauty editor at the time, and so she was discovering all these crazy procedures that celebrities I admired were doing. I was like, "Wait, people get lip injections and undereye filler?" There was just so much I'd never heard of, and everyone who I thought was natural turned out not to be.
Once I opened that door and started looking into it, I couldn't shut it. My nose was on my mind at all times. I started analysing past behaviours and realising every photo of me from high school on showed me covering my face, drinking something to cover my nose, or hiding behind someone else in a group. It's crazy to go back and realise how much it was affecting me throughout my life.
So I started saving up my money and researching plastic surgeons, and I found Dr. Deepak Dugar in Beverly Hills. He's originally from a town in Canada that's just outside where I grew up, and we bonded immediately. I felt completely comfortable with him. Obviously, I was also itching to get it done, so after the consultation I was like, "When can you get me in?" and we booked the procedure for a month later.
After the rhinoplasty, I was so much more confident about the way I looked. Things at work just started happening. I was suddenly eager to get in front of the camera, and became way more involved with my own photoshoots. I just started making bolder choices with my career.
Since moving to L.A. seven years ago, I've been really great at networking. One night, I was at a birthday dinner and one of my mentors in a completely different field was there. She introduced me to a celebrity's manager, who was looking for a marketing coordinator. Because of my newfound confidence, I wasn't shying away from going after any opportunity and I ended up getting the job!
In the end, getting plastic surgery is a personal decision. If you're going to do it, figure it out within yourself first. Don't ask other people what they think. They will say you're fine, or that you don't need it, which is true — no one needs it. But personally, it helped me become a better advocate for myself. Not just to get ahead in my career, but even in the smallest ways, like on social media. My personal brand is more well-rounded than it was before because I'm not afraid to show my face. As long as you are okay with your decision, that's all that matters.