From North Korean Waitresses to American Bridesmaids: The Wide World of Compulsory Plastic Surgery


Kim Jong-Il, the villainous dictator of North Korea, has reportedly decreed that all waitresses working at prestigious restaurants must undergo eyelid surgery to make them appear more “Western.” We’ve come to expect such senseless edicts from a man who dresses like Dr. Evil, has a penchant for platform shoes, and starves his people for kicks. But what about other strange international plastic surgery trends?

While we couldn’t find another country—or restaurant chain, for that matter—that officially requires its servers to go under the knife, we did hear about a beauty pageant in Hungary that required all contestants to prove they’d had plastic surgery before they were allowed to compete. The idea, pageant judges explained, was to show that plastic surgery can do wonders for women’s looks. "I think this competition is long overdue," said Marton Szipal, one of the judges. "Hungarians used to laugh about plastic surgery but it's time for Hungarian women to care more about their appearances.” According to the Associated Press, one finalist had surgically adjusted toes.

Matching Bridesmaids

Some wealthy brides in the Western world have gotten the message. Before the big day, modern brides-to-be are not only saying “I do” to plastic surgery, but requiring their bridesmaids to do so, too.

Yep, you heard that right: It’s no longer enough that bridesmaids submit to wearing pastel taffeta frocks and matching pumps. Now they’re being asked to undergo surgery so that their breasts—or chins, noses or teeth—match, too. Less demanding brides are merely requiring that their ladies in waiting get Botox injections or are sprayed with matching fake tans, according to the New York Times.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. Bridalplasty, which premiered on E! last November, pits brides-to-be against one another to win extreme plastic surgery for their wedding day. The winning bride goes immediately into surgery, revealing her newfangled face to her groom for the first time at the altar.

If that idea horrifies you, don’t look to the Baby Boomers for consolation. A growing number of American late fifty- and sixty-somethings are flocking to plastic surgeons asking for facelifts, tummy tucks, nose jobs and eyelifts, saying looking younger is necessary in today’s cutthroat job market. It may not be officially required as it is in North Korea, but these job-hunting Boomers say a little eyelift is the best way to look shipshape for job interviews, get good tips and move up corporate ladders. And if all else fails, it’s a good way to qualify for a Hungarian beauty pageant.

Image credit: © JO YONG-HAK/Reuters/Corbis/Pyongyang, North Korea