Redefining natural beauty

Dr Anh's patients celebrate their natural beauty

A leading Australian plastic surgeon has organised a photoshoot of 40 of her patients to redefine beauty – and help challenge the stigma associated with cosmetic procedures.

Dr Anh Nguyen brought together the patients, aged between 18 and 70, to “show that women’s beauty comes in all shapes and sizes regardless of cosmetic surgery procedures that have been undertaken”.

The body positive advocate said the photoshoot, which featured women in the nude as well as women painted with body paint or dressed in lingerie, active wear or other casual clothing, had been on her bucket list for a long time.

She hopes it will help change the commonly held view that plastic surgery is often vain and unnecessary to a recognition that it is “a tool that is empowering and life changing in helping people feel comfortable in their own skin”.

Photographer Anja McDonald at work during the photoshoot

“I resent the misconception and misrepresentation of plastic surgery and plastic surgeons as promoting vanity and superficiality and how mean people are to criticise and shame and put down those who choose to have plastic surgery to address a concern that affects their life,” she said.

“If only these naysayers and haters showed some empathy and compassion for problems everyday men and women face about their self-confidence regarding an aspect of their appearance, maybe people wouldn’t need to pin their ears back, have their crooked nose straightened, have their disproportionately large breasts reduced etc to deal with the bullying and trolling or negative comments.

“It takes courage to do something that bothers oneself and it annoys me that it is OK to invest in an area of self-improvement like higher learning, personal training, sports coaching, teeth straightening but plastic surgery is viewed as a lesser form of self-improvement.

Dr Anh (wearing black dress) and her patients during the photoshoot

“I want my patients to own their journeys and their self-worth and show the naysayers and critics and knockers that they value their self-worth and self-confidence more than the negative opinions of others and they are happy, stronger and better because of their journeys””.

Dr Anh said the vast majority of patients she asked to take part in the shoot were extremely eager.

“The remainder were a bit reluctant at first but as soon as they arrived on the set they were 100 percent committed,” she said.

Dr Anh plans to share some of the photos with the participants to “keep inspiring them” and will use some “for marketing purposes”.

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