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“Wanted: [a nose like] Meghan Markle/Adele — more projection, straight, great definition, elegant contours,” writes the user BelleTully from California on RealSelf.com, an online outlet for people to share their cosmetic surgery experiences and connect with doctors. “Are the characteristics I really want achievable?” she asks, sharing numerous pictures of Markle from every angle for reference.
Message board posts like this one inquiring about Markle’s look have grown exponentially on the site, right in step with similar in-office requests. Though she’s been an object of fascination since her relationship with Prince Harry went public, the Markle Sparkle mania has taken a turn towards the extreme: Women across the world are bringing pictures of the Duchess to plastic surgeons, hoping to replicate some of her most covetable features for themselves, most notably her nose, cheekbones, “flawless skin” and plump lips. In fact, some plastic surgeons claim that not a week goes by without someone mentioning Markle’s name in their office.
Such inquiries are so common that Dr. Julian de Silva, of London, decided to conduct a computer analysis of Markle’s face relative the golden ratio — an ancient Greek standard of beauty reliant on mathematics. While beauty today considered much more subjectively, Markle’s face symmetry was found to be the most idyllic of all the Royal Family by these standards, at 87.4 percent.
“She has always been a beauty and style icon and someone that many women aspire to look like,” says Dr. Rita Rakus, a London-based physician whose customers have undergone plastic surgery procedures inspired by Markle for years. Since the Royal Wedding, however, such requests have increased tenfold – popping up at least once per week, according to one doctor. Rakus attributes this to her relatability: “I think they see her as a real person who has fulfilled the ultimate dream — being young, having your own career, and finding true love with a prince,” she said.
Markle is also mixed race — her mother is black, while her father is white — which may make her look appealing to a wider swath of people. “She represents the broadening of widespread cultural beauty standards that I think can make a lot more people feel at home in the world,” explains Dr. Lara Devgan, MD, MPH, FACS and RealSelf’s Chief Medical Officer.
On a RealSelf forum, user Pippa12, a black woman in New York, writes, “My dream nose would be something like Meghan Markle's (nice, 'pointy' bridge but still with the cuteness of a wideish nose) which is still a kind of 'ethnic' nose.”
Today’s Glossier-weaned consumers are especially drawn to Markle’s pared-back beauty choices,
“She always looks extremely effortless, which is particularly impressive given her busy schedule,” explains Dr. Rakus, who adds that seeing Markle’s skin in so many high-definition photos has “allowed people to appreciate what really healthy skin looks like.”
Making a Face Like Meghan’s
Changing one’s skincare and makeup routine might seem like the most obvious way to replicate this, but plastic surgeons can apparently help as well.
Dr. Devgan, for her part, relies on something called a gold micro-infusion facial, which uses a small mechanised device to make thousands of controlled-depth needle punctures on the surface of the skin. Each one of those instills a miniscule quantity of a custom combination of botox, fillers and skincare products which work together to give the skin a really glowy look. Rakus also likes the ULTRAcel facial to achieve this result, which she describes as a “pain free, non-surgical lifting treatment for women who want to look fresh and youthful.”
Of course, Markle’s perfectly symmetric, understated features make that “less is more” look even easier to pull off.
According to Dr. Devgan, most of the women she meets with who mention the Duchess are hoping to re-create that classic beauty, which really comes to life via the bone structure of Markle’s face, especially her cheekbones and jawline. To mimic this on her patients, Dr. Devgan injects filler treatments like Voluma XC and Vollure into those areas, which help to add definition and a youthful plumpness to the face and are said to last for one to two years.
Not surprisingly, women are also asking plastic surgeons to recreate the Duchess of Cambridge’s lips.
“It helps that Meghan has great teeth, which makes all the difference in one's appearance,” says Dr. Shafer, “but her full, but not overly inflated lips give the perfect balance of lip enhancement without looking injected.”
To ensure that his patients don’t look as if they’ve had any work done, Dr. Shafer takes a two-pronged approach to achieve Markle-like lips. First, he injects a subtle dose of Juvederm Ultra XC fillers to help restore a youthful fullness and give the lips structure. He then tops that off with Volbella XC injections which help to smooth the texture of the lips, as well as any fine lines.
How Far is Too Far?
Coveting a celebrity’s appearance certainly isn’t new, but it can feel counterintuitive today as more women rally behind the causes of self-love and empowerment. The doctors were cautious about whether or not taking these more extreme measures to achieve someone like Markle’s look was really healthy for women today.
“If you’re trying to physically morph into another human being, that’s not realistic and it may speak to a larger problem in terms of your mindset and expectations,” says Dr. Devgan. “But if you’re using an image purely to communicate your goal or inspiration then I think that’s totally fine.”
Dr. Barry Weintraub, a New York-based plastic surgeon, notes that entirely replicating someone else’s look should never be the goal in plastic surgery. “The goal is to analyze a patient’s own facial structure and then to create beauty via balance and harmony that’s specific to their own anatomy,” he says. “One nose (or pair of lips) does not fit all!”