reid ewing, modern family, body dismorphia, plastic surgery

Reid Ewing Comes Out As Having Body Dysmorphia (And He’s Gay Too, NBD)

Reid Ewing of the hit TV show Modern Family just showed everyone how you come out. In the wake of attention he’d received for an editorial for the Huffington Post about his body dysmorphia, this Twitter exchange happened:

reid ewing, modern family, body dismorphia, plastic surgery
Reid Ewing before plastic surgery. (Photo: Johnny Olson)

How cool is that? But since Ewing’s more concerned with his editorial than coming out, let’s take a look at his excellent piece. In it he describes how at 19 he took his first trip under the knife because he felt “No one is allowed to be this ugly. It’s unacceptable.” When he first saw the doctor, Ewing told him he was an actor and desired plastic surgery to improve his looks — despite there nothing wrong with Ewing’s face to begin with, the surgeon immediately recommended large cheek implants.

When he woke up from surgery, Ewing kept screaming in pain. Tet, the medical staff and the surgeon just told him to calm down while trying “seemingly to hold back their laughter”.

Even worse, after the surgery, he looked worse than before — sunken, hollow cheeks making him look as gaunt as a corpse. Ewing tells this story of being pulled over nearly a month after surgery by a police officer: “She asked what happened to my face, and I said I had been in a car accident. She went back to her car and got a Polaroid camera and took a picture of me. She let me off without saying much else, but I couldn’t help imagining she would show the picture off back at the station, and that one day it would surface and ruin me.”

He went back to the surgeon for help, only to be refused for at least six months — the surgeon assured Ewing he’d get used to it. But he didn’t get used to it — strangers would stare and his own parents even asked if he’d gotten ill. Ewing did find another surgeon who suggested a chin implant, but that didn’t go so smoothly either. The doctor made a mistake the first time and the implant was loose and easily moved under the skin.

This pattern of getting a new surgery, then getting another surgery to fix the results of the previous one continued. Ewing eventually had all the various implants removed and — while shooting Modern Family, experimented with fillers and fat transfers. These provided more subtle changes to Ewing’s face, but none of them lasted long, so in 2012, Ewing vowed never again to get cosmetic surgery.

His dysmorphia never went away, however, and it took him six months after his vow to even be comfortable to be looked at — and none of the four doctors who worked on Ewing ever thought to address the mental issues making him feel this way about his looks. Thankfully, Ewing got therapy to help him, and he realizes he’s a handsome young man who doesn’t need any help to stay attractive.

Body dysmorphia is related to obsessive-compulsive disorder, and it is believed one in 200 people suffer from it. Those with body dysmorphia cannot be cured with plastic surgery — as Ewing’s situation implies, the results are never perfect, and usually people get multiple plastic surgeries — which is damaging to the body and, perversely, can often make someone look worse than a person who had only one operation.

If you think you’ve got body dysmorphia, please see a therapist who can help you, rather than a plastic surgeon who won’t.

(Featured image via Alloy Entertainment)