Celebrities, millennials, and even baby boomers are guilty of reaching for their smartphones to snap a quick photo of themselves — the selfie craze. With social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram perpetuating the selfie and creating a virtual tie between one’s online and real-life presence, the quest for a better selfie has led some to download nip-tuck apps and others to opt for the real nip-tuck. For 38-year-old Triana Lavey, the answer to the perfect selfie was $15,000 worth of plastic surgery.
"I now have the face that I always thought that I had," the Los Angeles woman told ABC’s Nightline. "I look like myself, but Photoshopped." The LA talent manager for uFluencer Group, a public relations firm that develops online talent, knows the power of perception — not to mention the money-making potential social media has. “Your social media presence is just as important as your real-life presence. It’s a legitimate form of promoting yourself,” Lavey said.
The selfie-obsessed woman underwent $15,000 two-hour surgery two years ago. Her primary concern was her “weak chin," so she under the knife for chin and nose jobs, plus fat grafting. Since her original procedure, she has had more fat grafts and another corrective nose job, which has led her to finally appear satisfied (at least for now) with her custom-made face. Lavey is also a fan of Botox, receiving regular injections to make sure she always looks her best. “Botox to me is a necessity,” she said. “It's kind of like in my bills like rent, food, gasoline, medical insurance . . . [then] Botox.”
Lavey admits her transformation to look better online was radical, but she knew dieting and exercise wouldn’t help her attain the results she was after. The woman’s extreme selfie procedures were all performed by her good friend, Dr. Richard Ellenbogen, who gave Lavey a discount. The 38-year-old woman also acknowledged the power of Facebook and Instagram and confessed she didn’t care about the way she looked before the rise of social media. "Your selfie is your headshot,” she said, The Huffington Post reported.
Selfies are making an impact in the amount of plastic surgery procedures performed each year. According to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, of 2,700 surgeons surveyed, one in three reported an increase in requests for procedures due an increase in the selfie trend in social media. Among the popular procedures last year were nose jobs, hair transplants, and eyelid surgery.
For those who do not have $15K lying around for plastic surgery, nip and tuck selfie apps like Perfect 365 can help touch up your photos. With good selfies becoming a lucrative business leading to “Insta-Lebrities” on Instagram, YouTube, and other social media, perhaps the selfie-obsessed are merely entrepreneurs. “Not everyone is born beautiful,” Lavey said, “and if you can get a little help from an app or a nip-tuck then more power to you.”