Letter From the Editor: Keeping Up Appearances

From the inspiring advocacy of mother–daughter duo Elisa Goodkind and Lily Mandelbaum of StyleLikeU to the perseverance of feminist icon Judy Chicago and, of course, our incomparable cover star Sandra Oh: throughout the making of our Spring issue, it became clear that we were blessed to collaborate with and feature an incredible lineup of individuals living life according to their rules.

Their respective journeys, along with a recent article by writer and author Iman Hariri-Kia on her quest for self-acceptance, compelled me to think about my own beauty philosophy and how it continues to expand and take shape.

I remember the first time I felt a change in my face. I must have been 11 or 12 when I woke up one morning with a nose that had grown twice as big. I recall staring at my profile in the mirror of the bathroom my siblings and I shared, bewildered by my seemingly overnight transformation.

Eventually, I was overcome with excitement, because I finally had what I felt was a feature that made me resemble two of my childhood heroes: Al Pacino and Cher. My joy was short-lived, as I travelled back to Iran the summer before high school and discovered that my prominent nose was not something that was regarded as particularly desirable.

It wasn’t that I was unaware of the prominence of plastic surgery in my motherland. I suppose I had temporarily forgotten how commonplace it was, and that it was not something that was kept secret, the way I observed it to be in Canada.

On another trip to Iran, this time in my late teens, I asked my father—who I can credit for my nose—why he had never taken me to a plastic surgeon for a rhinoplasty. Without diving too deep into the matter, he said something along the lines of “It would take away from what’s unique about you.” And this has stuck with me ever since.

One of the reasons I’ve resisted plastic surgery is that I didn’t and don’t want to lose features that are so closely tied to my parents and ancestors. In my view, I’ve inherited these features, and they’re my physical connection to my family. When I look at my face, I can see where I come from, and that’s incredibly important for me.

That said, I’d be remiss to ignore the fact that the changes someone may or may not feel they need come down to personal choice. What works for me might not work for others, and we all must work toward respecting each other’s choices to augment our appearance as we see fit, whether through cosmetic surgery or other means.

A goal of mine that has emerged from the past two years has been to lean into the changes that present themselves, on both a macro and a micro level—to embrace change of opinion, change of appearance, and change of taste, and to realize that self-reflection and progression are the keys to experiencing human potential without limit.

Photographed by Renata Kaveh. Makeup by Nate Matthew at P1M.