Dr Paul Nassif looks just like his Instagram pictures, which is a relief. There’s nothing worse than arriving for an interview to talk about plastic surgery and not recognising the interviewee due to them spending a little too much time under the knife.
The international TV star – Dr Nassif co-hosts US reality show Botched, where he fixes surgeries that have gone wrong - only left Beverly Hills the night before our meeting, but he looks fresh faced (the Botox probably helps) and lively (the coffee in his hand probably helps).
He’s here in partnership with famed Dubai hotspot The Nova Clinic, and I’m at founder Dr Jaffer Khan’s rather nice villa in Emirates Hills to discuss the surgeries Paul's booked to perform for people across the GCC. But of course, I have plenty of other questions to grill the world-renowned plastic and reconstructive surgeon on. Are you paying attention? Good, because surgery just got serious.
What’s the comparison between the GCC and LA in terms of what patients ask for?
There’s not a big difference, because everyone I see here is very cosmopolitan [grins]. Younger Emiratis are changing their noses more, which leads to losing their ethnicity. But I’m Lebanese and I had a large hump up on my nose when I was growing up, and it’s not there anymore, so I don’t have a problem with this. Girls in the Middle East like to have their lips a bit bigger, too.
Talk us through the changing trends throughout your career…
That’s a big question. I’ve been a plastic surgeon for 20 years. When I first started out, everyone wanted to have something that didn’t look real, a little fake looking. Whether it was an out-of-proportion small nose or blown up lips. Today, younger people, especially Millennials, want to look more natural.
This sounds good to us…
It is, but the new problem we’re dealing with now is selfie dysmorphia – it’s on the rise and is only going to get worse.
What exactly is selfie dysmorphia?
It’s people using apps – like Facetune – to change and filter themselves. Patients used to bring me photos of celebrities they wanted to look like, now they bring me overly filtered photos of themselves, which are essentially distorted photos that are impossible to recreate.
Ok, so a young girl comes to you with a Facetuned picture of herself. Do you do it?
Ethics always come in to play. Let’s say it’s an edited nose, for example. If I think it will match their face I’ll say it may work and we can make a positive difference. Other times I try to explain to them that if they do what’s in the picture they’re going to ruin themselves. I turn down about 15 per cent of patients who come into my office and have unrealistic expectations or have an issue with dysmorphia.
Is the saying “You get what you pay for,” true?
[Immediately] yes. When you go for cheap plastic surgery, usually you get what you pay for. You have to be careful.
What was your inspiration to get into this career?
A six-year-old boy came to me after being attacked by a couple of Pit bulls. I spent a lot of time reconstructing that little boy’s face and it gave me so much pleasure and joy to help him. That’s what led me from Otolaryngology [head and neck surgery] into facial plastic surgery. Later, when I was in Beverly Hills, I started liking rhinoplasty, which is the hardest surgery in plastic surgery. I wanted to move into something that was extremely difficult and I did it. I love it.
What is the biggest misconception about you, as a plastic surgeon?
I’ve never been asked that before. Well, people think I do surgery on the body, and I only do the face. But other than that what you see on TV is exactly how I am.
Is there a patient request that really stays on your mind?
One of my patients was Rodrigo Alves, who goes by the nickname, ‘The Human Ken Doll.’ He destroyed himself with plastic surgery. Patients like that keep going and going. I think he’s finally realising enough is enough.
If you had a daughter, would you let her have plastic surgery?
Yes, but it depends on the situation. If she said she wants to look like her filtered pictures, absolutely not. But if she had a huge hump on her nose and she was teased, that’s a good reason for surgery.
What advice would give to Generation Z if they are considering plastic surgery?
Take care of your skin first. It’s very important. If you look good while you’re young, you’ll look good as you get older. One positive of the selfie dysmorphia epidemic is the generation are making their skin look great, so that means they will try and drink a little bit more water or use great skin care. They want to look better. So yes, take care of your skin, and decrease smoking - and use sunscreen! Don’t forget about the sunscreen.
To book a consultation with Dr. Paul Nassif at Nova Clinic please contact the team on firstname.lastname@example.org or call (+971) 4 384 5666