On the heels of everyone talking about actress Renee Zellweger’s “new” appearance, a former contestant on the 2004 reality competition “The Swan” has opened up about her less than thrilling experience with her plastic surgery operations on the show.
In case you don’t remember, the series set on transforming the appearances of women who were deemed “ugly ducklings.” During each weekly hour-long episode, viewers learned of their sad stories and watched them blossom into — you guessed it — beautiful swans. One woman was then eliminated from the show and the other female went on to compete in a pageant in the show’s finale.
Ten years later, widower Lorrie Arias — who lost her husband in 2002 and auditioned for the show after she shed 150 pounds in 1995 — says it negatively impacted her life.
Arias, who initially tried out in hopes of just a tummy tuck, ended up getting the most procedures of any contestant on the show. She had a tummy tuck, butt lift, inner thigh lift, dual facelift, upper lip lift, upper and lower eye lift, endoscopic brow lift, rhinoplasty, breast augmentation and breast lift.
In a new interview, the woman says she is now depressed, bipolar, agoraphobic and suffers from body dysmorphia. She regained all of the weight she lost (she weighed 155 on the show and is now 248 pounds) and only leaves her home when she visits her therapist.
After a two-months long transformation and appearing on the show that only lasted for two seasons, Arias says the negative reactions started flowing in.
“You get a lot of crap,” she said, adding that her oldest son said at the time, “she doesn’t look that much like my mom anymore.”
When she saw her new appearance for the first time onstage, she reacted quietly. However, once backstage, she lost it. “I was screaming for the executive producer,” she recalled. “I was screaming, ‘I want my face back!’ That’s how freaked out I was. Intelligently, I knew that was impossible. But it was so weird. It was like looking at somebody else, but it was you.”
Despite these strong feelings, Arias said she’d be willing to appear on the show again. “Crazily enough, I would do it again,” she said. “Knowing what I know now, knowing I would gain weight again, and knowing I wouldn’t have that other face. At least I could be a big and pretty person. I can’t imagine myself any differently.”
Arias spoke with The Huffington Post.