It’s official: Smooth, taut skin and bee-stung lips are out — crow’s feet and bags are in.
According to a story published Wednesday in the New York Times, seasoned women hoping to advance their careers (or at least stay in the corporate game) are turning their backs on Botox and fillers in favor of procedures that enhance a “middle-aged look.”
They’re attaining career nirvana in the posh offices of Park Avenue dermatologist Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas, whose office performs procedures ranging from peels to laser therapy.
"I don’t do a lot of arm candy," Alexiades-Armenakas said in a recent interview, quoted in the Times. "My patients aren’t in here because they’re trying to hold on to their husbands. If they’re trying to hang on to anything, it’s their jobs." To that end, the doctor aims for the "cosmetic sweet spot" — women look old enough to be taken seriously but fresh enough to still score a promotion. "If you leave a few wrinkles, it looks more authentic," she said.
Does this mean we’re actually moving closer toward age acceptance? Not really. The number of cosmetic procedures women underwent increased 208 percent. from 1997 to 2011according to a report published by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. For men, the increase was 212 percent. And procedures in teens aged 18 and under, spiked from 14,000 to 219,000 between 1996 and 2010.
But those undergoing the procedures may just be getting savvier about it. According to the Times, this high-powered set is seeking a look that’s more attractive overall, rather than one that emphasizes sex appeal through lip injections and breast implants. Seeming too plastic can signal vanity and even lead to workplace disrespect.
Even Hollywood is starting to catch on. According to a 2010 story published in the New York Times, studios began moving away from the collagen-injected, frozen look, casting many women outside the United States who didn’t fall victim to the “freakishly young-looking crowd that shows up for auditions,” as the author put it. “Ten years ago, actresses had the feeling that they had to get plastic surgery to get the part," Shawn Leby, the director and producer of “Date Night” starring Tina Fey and Carell told the Times. "Now I think it works against them. To walk into a casting session looking false hurts one’s chances.”
It’s no surprise then that lately we’ve seen a revival of supermodels from the 1990s, an era before heroin-chic — when models looked healthy, smiley, and age-appropriate. In June, 47-year-old Cindy Crawford appeared on the cover of Spanish Harper’s Bazaar; Helena Christensen, 44, recently posed in lingerie for Future Claw magazine (the story got so many views that it crashed the website); and 50-year-old Elle Macpherson posed topless for the August issue of Harper’s Bazaar Australia. Even Christie Brinkley, at age 59, slipped on a bathing suit to pose proudly for the May issue of Social Life.
Setting a new beauty standard for the younger set? Very cool. Now, if only Courtney Stodden would take note.
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