Hollywood: the land of the eternally youthful. If you can’t keep up with the totally reasonable requirement of never aging, you’re quickly replaced with someone more fresh-faced. It’s no wonder that aging celebrities, once sought after for their dashing good looks, often turn to cosmetic procedures like botox and face lifts to try to capture that youthful appearance. Sometimes, it’s subtle and does the job of refreshing a celeb’s look without going overboard. But when it goes wrong, it happens in an intensely public way. 

Will Smith – Is It Really??

Will Smith

’90’s superstar rapper and actor Will Smith recently shocked the world. On an appearance of The One Show, Smith smiled before the camera with a nearly unrecognizable visage. Smith was there to discuss upcoming biopic King Richard which details the life of Serena and Venus Williams

The star looked sharp in a tweed suit, but it wasn’t the movie or the style that caught people’s attention – it was Smith’s weirdly smooth face. The star was known for his dashing good looks and charmingly large ears in the ’90’s, but “completely without wrinkles” was never a part of his look before. Smith’s eyebrows were notably lifted and his face overall looked completely without flaw – eerily so. His smile was stiff and suggested perhaps a recent cosmetic treatment with Botox. 

Unfortunately for Smith, no one warned the star that Botox treatments can take some time to settle into a more natural look, and the unfortunate result was a robotic appearance. What’s even more unfortunate is that Smith’s charm and good looks have only increased as he’s gotten older – we want the wrinkles back, Will!  

Other Celebs Who Became Unrecognizable

Megan Fox

But Smith wouldn’t be the first celebrity to make a bit of a faux pas with cosmetic surgery. At least in Smith’s case, it’s possible the effect is temporary and will abate as the Botox absorbs over time – the treatments need to be maintained, after all. These celebrities have had brushes with cosmetic surgery that have left fans feeling a little befuddled:

  • Meg RyanThe adorable blonde, Ryan’s charm was always in her apple cheeks and sunny smile. In order to keep that look as she aged, Ryan seems to have turned to cosmetics. But in her case, it’s too much of a good thing. Ryan now looks unrecognizable from the bubbly charmer of her youth and an overabundance of cheek fillers have stolen her sparkly-eyed look.
  • Rene Zellweger: Zellweger is another actress who was known for stunningly unique looks, with her dreamy bedroom eyes and high cheekbones. Unfortunately, in an attempt to hold onto that unique vibe, Zellweger has gotten plastic surgery that’s changed her look completely. She may still be able to bat her eyelashes and knock out a sultry look – but it doesn’t look like her anymore.
  • Michael JacksonThe late King of Pop was well-known for his obsessive plastic surgery, including taking it too far and ending up with a collapsed-looking nose. Although Jackson may have suffered from a skin condition that lightened his skin naturally – the lip fillers, cheek fillers, and nose were all a product of excessive plastic surgery. If you hold a picture up of Jackson as a strapping young Jackson 5 lead and the man he was before his death – you wouldn’t even think they’re the same person. The pop star who died of a drug overdose in 2009 may have had vitiligo – but he certainly didn’t have naturally-occurring face surgery. 
  • Megan Fox: The teen star turned acting superstar and girlfriend of Machine Gun Kelly is another star who only vaguely resembles the beauty she once was. In the case of Fox, she’s still young enough that the cosmetic changes she’s gone through still look good – if not entirely natural. But as she ages, Fox will have to decide to keep chasing youth and perfection, or let herself age gracefully.

The Pressure to Stay Perfect

But aging gracefully in Hollywood can mean a career death sentence. Recently, Sex and the City‘s Sarah Jessica Parker spoke out against the double standards that women face as they age in Hollywood. While men are often rebranded as debonair, “salt and pepper,” or “mature” as they age, women can face horrible criticisms. Parker was recently interviewed about the Sex and the City sequel, And Just Like That.

FN reports, “In the interview, Parker highlights the double standard on women’s aging compared to men’s, specifically addressing if Carrie Bradshaw’s hair will be gray in the 2020s. ‘There’s so much misogynist chatter in response to us that would never. Happen. About. A. Man,’ Parker tells [the interviewer]. ‘Gray hair gray hair gray hair. Does she have gray hair?’ I’m sitting with Andy Cohen,’ the star continued in the piece, ‘and he has a full head of gray hair, and he’s exquisite. Why is it okay for him? I don’t know what to tell you people! Especially on social media.'”

Parker adds, “Everyone has something to say. ‘She has too many wrinkles, she doesn’t have enough wrinkles.’ It almost feels as if people don’t want us to be perfectly okay with where we are, as if they almost enjoy us being pained by who we are today, whether we choose to age naturally and not look perfect, or whether you do something if that makes you feel better. I know what I look like. I have no choice. What am I going to do about it? Stop aging? Disappear?” 

“Saggy,” “haggard,” and “wrinkly” are just three of many words used to describe aging Hollywood women. So is it any wonder that they sometimes turn to cosmetic procedures to try to capture some of the youth they apparently need to survive? We understand the drive to survive – we just wish people would stop making it necessary. Stars – like normal people – should be able to choose cosmetic surgery only if they want it, not because they feel they have to have it.