Started seeing the headlines about Julie Chen's big reveal on The Talk: "I've Had Plastic Surgery," and I thought big friggin' deal! That ain't no secret! I remember seeing this post on the blog Good Plastic Surgery many, many years ago and thinking, damn, that is some plastic surgery. But if you read the article (or watch the segment), the revelation is really about her "coming clean" about grappling with her racial identity.
It's been a week of Secrets Revealed! on CBS' The Talk, and Wednesday was co-host Julie Chen's turn to drop the bombshell admission that she had indeed gotten plastic surgery -- yup, double eyelid surgery -- as a young newswoman in an effort to look "less Asian" and to advance her career.
"My secret dates back to - my heart is racing - it dates back to when I was 25 years old and I was working as a local news reporter in Dayton, Ohio," Julie began.At the urging of a "big-time agent," who told her he wouldn't represent her unless she got plastic surgery [I just need to interject and say that agent was a racist dickhead], Chen got the procedure -- a decision that divided her family and left her wondering if she had turned her back on her heritage. Because, for real, her career really did get going after she got that surgery.
She then set the scene by showing a clip of what a young Julie Chen looked like as a reporter at one of her first jobs and explaining how it was her dream to be a network news anchor some day.
"So, I asked my news director... over the holidays if anchors want to take vacations, could I fill in? And he said, 'You will never be on this anchor desk, because you're Chinese.' He said 'Let's face it Julie, how relatable are you to our community? How big of an Asian community do we have in Dayton? On top of that because of your Asian eyes, I've noticed that when you're on camera, you look disinterested and bored.'
"So, what am I supposed to say to my boss? I wanted to cry right then and there. It felt like a dagger in my heart, because all of my life I wanted to be a network anchor," she continued.
Chen says she wondered, "Did I give into The Man?" Yes, Julie. You kind of did. But I appreciate the opportunity for a frank conversation about the things we give up and how we deny our identities, to feel more accepted. It sucks that you did that, but it sucks even more that we live in a world that practically cheered it on.
Of course, I imagine there are probably a lot of people in South Korea who will look at this and say, "So what?"
More here: Julie Chen's Eyelid Surgery Sure Did Help Her Career.