A midwife who was so horrified by the size of her nose in a selfie taken eight years ago that she saved for a £9,000 cosmetic operation says the result has “changed her life” and made her feel “unstoppable.”
Despite coming from a family with “long noses” and being playfully teased as a child for having “the longest” mum Karolina Ahmed, 30, says she only became self-conscious when she started taking selfies in her twenties.
Karolina, who lives in Walthamstow, east London, with her husband Steve, 51, who runs a dry cleaning business, and their two-year-old daughter Amaya said:
“I still remember the day when I realised that there was something wrong with my nose and that it troubled me.”
She added: “I remember coming home after having my eyebrows done. I was taking a selfie and I still have that picture.
“I was looking at it thinking, ‘My nose looks awful.’ That was that. I remember that moment so clearly.
“Once you have seen something like that, you can’t un-see it. After that, it was the way I saw myself every day.”
She added: “I hated the way my nose looked in photos and I would try to take pictures from a certain angle so that you couldn’t tell how long my nose was.
“With other flaws people might be able to hide them with clothes or accessories, but when your biggest insecurity is something as prominent as your nose, there’s no hiding that.”
Yet, for years, Karolina had no problem with the way she looked and she was never bullied for the size of her nose.
She said: “I was well liked and popular at school. No one ever commented on my nose.
“My family all have long noses and they used to joke that mine was the longest, but it was never in a mean way.
“As I got older, though, I started to look at my nose differently.”
With an explosion of selfies everywhere and seeing how models on social media looked when she hit her twenties, Karolina started wishing her nose was smaller.
She said: “I think social media really affected me, as there were suddenly so many pictures of perfect looking people everywhere all the time.”
In the end, Karolina decided taking drastic action was the only way she would restore her confidence in her looks and last year began to investigate rhinoplasty procedures.
She said: “My husband was very supportive of me, because he knew how much I wanted a new nose.
“I didn’t tell my parents about it until four days before the operation, because I was worried about what they would say.
“I didn’t want them to be upset or worried but, surprisingly, they took it really well.”
She added: “They hadn’t realised just how much my nose was affecting my confidence and they were really supportive of me going ahead with the procedure.”
On September 25 2021, Karolina had an hour-long operation at the Karidis Clinic in north west London to narrow her nasal bridge, shorten the tip of her nose and downsize her nostrils.
She said: “When I woke up I was so eager to see the results, but I had to wait seven days for the cast to be removed. I was lucky because I had no bruising and only minor swelling.”
She added: “As unbelievable as it sounds, I didn’t have any fear of what my nose would look like after the op. I hated my old nose so much that I just thought anything had to be better than that.
“Once I had my cast removed, I was asked to take a look in the mirror and that’s when it hit me, I thought, ‘Oh my God, I’ve done this, it’s happening and I’m just going to take a look at a new me.’
“I had to take a moment before I could go up to the mirror and when I looked, I broke down in tears. I was surprised at how good my nose looked immediately afterwards, considering it was only one week after surgery.”
She added: “It can take up to a year for the nose to completely heal and in that time I was told to expect changes. I notice them all the time, little changes as my new nose settles, but I love the results.”
Filled with newfound confidence, Karolina now feels unstoppable and says the stigma around having cosmetic surgery for vanity reasons should be removed.
She said: “When there’s a part of you that you dislike as much as I did my nose, you try and live with it to prove to yourself it’s fine, but all the time it’s making you unhappy. Surely that can’t be right?”
She added: “People have asked me if my nose job was for medical reasons – if I had problems breathing, or if I had to have my septum corrected.
“For a long time the thought of telling people that my motivation for having the procedure was vanity held me back.
“But now that I’ve done it, I’m really proud. I’m not scared to tell people that there was nothing wrong with my nose except that it was really long, and that it really bothered me and affected the way I felt as a person.”
She added: “When there is something you don’t like about yourself, you always feel like it’s holding you back.
“Now, with my new nose, I feel unstoppable, as if I could do anything. I feel so much more confident and, even though the new nose hasn’t changed my face entirely, it has changed so much within me. I feel like a different person.”
And Karolina is not alone.
According to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons’ audit 2021, rhinoplasty is the fifth most popular cosmetic procedure in the UK.
At The Karidis Clinic where Karolina had her procedure there has been a 64 per cent increase in rhinoplasty procedures since 2019, while there was a 400 per cent rise in enquiries in December 2021.
But, despite the improvement surgery has made to her own confidence, Karolina hopes her daughter will not go under the knife when she grows up.
She said: “My husband and I have discussed the likelihood that our daughter will inherit a prominent nose.
“I guess I have now forfeited my right to be against the idea of her having a nose job but, as a parent, of course I hope she doesn’t want one.
“No parent wants their child to hate something about themselves so much that they want surgery to change but, at the same time, if it becomes a really big insecurity for her then I will support it.”
Cosmetic surgeon, Dr Alex Karidis, who performed Karolina’s operation, says there has been a noticeable boost in people seeking rhinoplasty since the pandemic.
He said: “We’ve seen a rise in people seeking rhinoplasty procedures since the Covid pandemic.
“This can be partly attributed to spending time looking at themselves on video calls and on devices and social media.”
He added: “Also, working from home allows greater flexibility and downtime following surgery.
“Patients can have had surgery before returning back to socialising without having to face the world with a cast.
“If it’s a subtle change, those around them may not even notice.”
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