"Members Of My Family Wanted To Disown Me": Julie Chen Had To Have An Eyelid Surgery To Help Her Career, And It Offended Her Family

Date September 24, 2018

Julie Chen is back in the spotlight after her decision to leave the popular CBS's show The Talk. Chen was on the show for nine years, and she will stay on Big Brother, another CBS show she’s been part of.

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Something that propelled Julie Chen’s career on TV

Chen went a long way from a correspondent at a local news station in Dayton, Ohio, to a host of two popular shows on one of the largest national TV networks. And there was something that helped Chen advance her career on TV: She had an eyelid surgery back in the mid-90s to make her eyes look bigger.


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The decision to go ahead with the surgery wasn’t an easy one. In one episode of The Talk, Chen spoke at length about what made her go under the knife.

Back in the 1990s, Chen was a correspondent at WDTN-TV, but what she really wanted was to be an anchor. She brought it up with her boss, who rejected the idea because of Chen’s appearance. She recalled:

He said, 'You will never be on this anchor desk because you are Chinese'. And he said, 'Let’s face it, Julie, how relatable are you to our community? How big of an Asian community do we really have here in Dayton? Our audience can’t relate to you because you are not like them'.


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Her boss went on, adding more insult to injury:

And he said on top of that, 'Because of your heritage, because of your Asian eyes, sometimes when you are on camera and you are interviewing someone, you look disinterested. You look bored because your eyes are so heavy, they are so small'.


#tbt to when I was rocking fanny packs and trying to cut my own bangs 😩😆

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Chen was hurt by his blatant racism, but it made her think: What would it take to become an anchor? She contacted a 'big time' agent, who told her a double eyelid surgery to make her eyes look bigger would benefit her career.


#FBF #RedCarpet #Oscars #DateNight

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Chen was hesitant. She mentioned the surgery to her parents, who were not too happy, but ultimately, decided to support her. But her extended family felt offended. Chen said:

Members of my family wanted to disown me if I got it done.


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After securing her parents’ approval, Chen went ahead with the surgery and thus, began her ascent up the career ladder. She said:

After I had that done, the ball did roll for me.


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Chen is not proud of her decision, but she doesn’t have any regrets either. She did what she had to do:

I don’t like to live with regrets. I did it. I moved on. No one is more proud of being Chinese than I am, and I have to live with the decision I have made.


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A word on double eyelid surgery

Double eyelid surgery, also known as Asian blepharoplasty, has become the most popular cosmetic procedure in East Asia. The surgery has been common in Japan and South Korea, and it seems China has picked up the trend. The procedure is also popular among Asian Americans.

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The surgery is performed to add creases to single eyelids (also called 'monolids') that about half the people in East Asia are born with. Double eyelid surgery gives the eyes a bigger, 'more Western' look.


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The procedure was largely criticized in the past as for many people it looks like giving up your heritage. But as South China Morning Post reports, even teens and pre-teens are getting it now.

Do you think having this surgery is the right thing to do if it can help your career? Share your opinion in the comments!

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