Are celebrities finally being transparent about cosmetic procedures?

Ariana Grande has just joined Kylie Jenner in opening up about the work she’s had done to alter her appearance. This poses the question: are we in a new era of A-lister authenticity?

Thred Media
3 min readSep 17, 2023

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As social media continues to wreak havoc on our self-esteem, it can be immensely frustrating to recognise that we’re being lied to by our favourite celebrities about how they’ve altered their appearances.

Take the Kardashians, for example. Despite the fact they’ve been in the public eye for well over a decade now — and have, as a result, openly invited us to bear witness to their ceaseless physical transformations — the sisters have, time and time again, assured the world that they are indeed ‘au naturale.’

Preserving the falsehood that their manicured-to-perfection faces, hair, and bodies aren’t the product of hours under the knife or, as is common with social media influencers, a few retouches on photoshop, they’ve repeatedly succeeded in upholding toxic beauty standards.

‘It’s important to remember that celebrities who rely on their physical appearance for profit have an overwhelming incentive to deny that their coveted aesthetic is sculpted by a doctor, and not a result of the products or the image of themselves that they are selling you,’ writes Jessica Rogers, offering us an explanation for the reason behind such evidently damaging marketing tactics.

This, as I’m sure you’re aware, has had a concerning effect on how young girls in particular perceive themselves and acted as the catalyst for recently introduced regulations on TikTok and Instagram that aim to nip misleading image-based claims in the bud.

It seems as though change may finally be afoot from the top, however, with the youngest of the 5 Ks to surprisingly thank for a burgeoning pivot towards more transparency.

In July, Kylie Jenner, who is notorious for stanchly denying that her widely sought-after look is anything but good genes, decided to ever-so-bravely disclose that she’s had plastic surgery.

This appeared to inspire Ariana Grande who, just last week, revealed in a make-up tutorial for Vogue that she’d used Botox and lip filler during her career.

‘For a long time, beauty was about hiding for me,’ she says, welling up, ‘and now I feel like maybe it’s not.’

While applying eyeliner, Grande speaks candidly and emotionally about the pressures she was under to get cosmetic procedures as a woman in the spotlight.

‘Being exposed to so many voices at a young age, especially when people have things to say about your appearance at a young age, it’s really hard to know what’s worth hearing or not,’ she adds.

‘I would use make-up as a disguise or as something to hide behind. But as I get older, I don’t love that being the intention behind it anymore.’

These admissions, from two A-listers with a combined following of 750 plus million, points to a turn in the tide when it comes to famous females being authentic about the work they’ve had done.

The topic has traditionally been taboo, with smaller waists, bigger breasts, and sculpted jawlines often attributed to diets, vigorous skincare routines, and hydration.

But knowing what we know about the repercussions of this blatant deception, I’d say Jenner’s and Grande’s sudden honesty is long overdue.

Here’s hoping it sticks and we see more people who wield huge power and platforms contemplating their impact on others and the idealistic messages they’re passing onto their fans.

Originally written by Sofia Phillips for Thred.

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