Sunday, November 29, 2015

Julie Chen addresses her 'haters' after eye surgery backlash

Nearly a week after divulging on "The Talk" that years ago she went under the knife for secret eye surgery, Julie Chen is now clarifying her initial statements.

Julie Chen addresses her 'haters' after eye surgery backlash

Julie Chen arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar party on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012, in West Hollywood, Calif. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)
Julie Chen arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar party on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012, in West Hollywood, Calif. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)

Nearly a week after divulging on The Talk that years ago she went under the knife for secret eye surgery, Julie Chen is now clarifying her initial statements.

The journalist says she wasn't trying to look "less Chinese" but simply wanted to make her eyes bigger by undergoing the procedure.

Chen, who was unaware of the surmounting backlash she would receive over disclosing her surgical past, said the following on Monday's segment of The Talk:

"I wasn't surprised that there would be haters judging me for what I did. What was hurtful was that the hateful comments that I read where people were judging me were people within my own community. It was comments like, ‘Way to give in to the Western standards of beauty.' ‘You're denying your heritage. You're trying to look less Asian.' Guess what? I don't look less Chinese! I'm not fooling anybody here. That's number one.

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Number two: half of us Asians are born with the double-eyelid. My mother was born with it. My father has one lid that was creased, one lid that didn't get its crease until he hit his late teens. I have one sister born with the creases, one sister born without it, so it wasn't denying my heritage.

It's kind of like if someone gets a nose job and gets the bump taken out, and some people say that's an ethnic bump. Are you denying whatever your heritage is? No."

Chen shared last week her personally journey to getting on camera. She said a news director told her while she was 25-years-old and working as a local reporter in Dayton, Ohio that because of her "Asian eyes," she looked "disinterested and bored" on camera.

Subsequently, a big-name agent also shared similar sentiments: "He said, 'I cannot represent you unless you get plastic surgery to make your eyes look better.'"

This prompted the aspiring TV personality to undergo surgery that trimmed down excess skin above her lids, she told her co-hosts. "I did it; I moved on. No one's more proud of being Chinese than I am," she said. "After I had that done, the ball did roll for me," she continued on her burgeoning career.

Chen told People over the weekend, "The goal was to simply have bigger eyes so the camera didn't make me look sleepy, bored, angry or disinterested in my interviews. The goal was to look, in my opinion, more alert and more interested on camera for my work/career."

During the interview portion of Sunday's Miss America pageant, the crowned winner Nina Davuluri was the recipient of the question regarding Chen's decision to have surgery to help boost her career.

As part of her eloquent response, Davuluri shared, "I've always viewed a Miss America as the girl next door, and the girl next door is evolving as the diversity in America evolves. She's not who she was 10 years ago, and she's not going to be the same come 10 years down the road. So I wouldn't want to change someone's looks or appearance, but definitely be confident in who you are."

The secret Chen shared of her undergoing surgery was initially received by viewers as this: Chen went under the knife in an attempt to make herself look "less Chinese." I must say that her personal story, however, has overarching implications.

Women, especially those who work in the public eye, face crippling pressures to adhere to what we project as "beautiful."

Though I'm not in Chen's position, I was appalled by a number of comments left under the original post. We should be asking ourselves: Is her story "race"-related or more of an issue of conforming to society's projections of beauty?

It's definitely not the former.

As for Chen, her choice worked in her favor. At least for her career.
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