A common misconception is that women are the only ones standing in front of the mirror obsessing over everything they’d change if they could. But men can also suffer from body dysmorphia, a chronic mental illness that keeps you preoccupied with the flaws in your appearance. And actor Reid Ewing, who has a recurring guest role as Dylan on Modern Family, just penned a brave and honest essay on The Huffington Post about his heartbreaking struggle with body dysmorphia, where he also reveals his plastic-surgery regrets.
Ewing says when he first moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting, he’d often sit in front of his mirror and take pictures of his body at every angle, criticizing every feature. After thinking to himself, “no one is allowed to be this ugly,” he booked his first cosmetic-surgery appointment at age 19. “I genuinely believed if I had one procedure I would suddenly look like Brad Pitt,” says Ewing, highlighting how powerful body dysmorphia can be.
So he went to a plastic surgeon who quickly informed him that he “needed” cheek implants. After the surgery, Ewing “woke up screaming my head off from pain, with tears streaming down my face.” When he took the bandages off and the swelling went down, he says he looked worse than before. “The results were horrendous,” says Ewing. “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.”
He quickly spiraled down an unhealthy plastic-surgery hole as he desperately tried to find any doctor who would fix his previous botched operation—and that often meant he was filming Modern Family in between surgeries or minor procedures like injectable fillers or fat transfers. The 27-year-old emphasizes in the essay that plastic-surgery addiction is one that’s hardly addressed: “People with body dysmorphic disorder often become addicted to cosmetic surgery,” he says. “It’s a problem that’s rarely taken seriously because of the public shaming of those who’ve 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.”
Just last week Jack Falahee, who stars in How to Get Away With Murder, told Allure that he suffers from body image issues as well, further proving that men aren’t immune to the disorder. “I don’t go to the gym,” the 26-year-old says. “I do a lot of swimming and biking. I work out at home, and I hike a lot. I was pretty heavyset growing up and have always struggled with putting on weight and the things I eat, all the normal stuff that people go through. I go to the gym, and I’m constantly comparing myself to Charlie Weber and Billy Brown [the other men on How to Get Away With Murder].”
Read Ewing’s entire essay on The Huffington Post.
Additional reporting by Jeffrey Slonim
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