Tuesday 24 October 2017

'I've had work, this is the face that I deserve' - Triona McCarthy opens up about cosmetic procedures

Tired of looking tired all the time? There's nothing wrong with having a little work done, as out beauty buff tells us - but own it! Let there be no body or face shaming here

Triona today. Photo: Tony Gavin
Triona today. Photo: Tony Gavin
Triona in 2007. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Triona McCarthy

Maybe she's born with it or maybe she's bought it! It's kinda hard to tell these days to be honest. And I'm a beauty expert for goodness sake - whatever the hell that means.

This generic look that girls go for now - the cheekbones carved like marble, trout pout and eerily immobile, crease-free foreheads -has become the norm. I'm not even joking when I say I find it really difficult to tell girls apart these days.

It's like looking at department store mannequins.

When I was young, I wanted to look like The Cure's Robert Smith. Honestly, he was my beauty inspiration - the dark hair, pale skin and red lipstick. Actually, not much has changed there, has it?

Liquid lips are in: Triona McCarthy. Photo: David Conachy
Liquid lips are in: Triona McCarthy. Photo: David Conachy
Triona in 2007. Photo: Gerry Mooney

My friends and I all wanted to look as different from each other as possible and celebrated quirks such as gappy teeth, freckles and bushy brows.

When I look back now at the one or two photos that exist - none of us had phones back then let alone a camera as it was the 1990s - my look was not exactly what you would call sexy. Certainly not by today's standards anyhow, where most young ones look like they've just come straight from a Victoria's Secret show when they're actually just going to Tesco to pick up some toilet roll! I blame social media, in particular Instgram and YouTube, for this excessive preening. Although I often wonder if Instagram existed when I was young, would it have been flooded with pictures of Cureheads?

Roll on 2017 and we all have camera phones. We're so busy Instagramming and Snapchatting that even non-celeb types like myself can feel the pressure to look camera-ready constantly. This image-obsessed world we live in is making us far more aware of our appearance. I have to admit that what I once saw as charming quirks, I have now started to consider flaws. I've got used to everyone looking so similar, which leads me on to how I've been sucked in.

So, before I go any further, full disclosure: I get Botox. Okay?

Which means I'm not here to judge anyone who chooses to alter their appearance, whether it's with cosmetic procedures or even plastic surgery. It's not the right choice for everyone, but it was the right choice for me.

In case you've ever been curious, here's how it happened.

Embrace excess says Linda Lusardi look-a-like Triona McCarthy. Photo David Conachy
Embrace excess says Linda Lusardi look-a-like Triona McCarthy. Photo David Conachy

For years I was offered fillers and Botox, but had no interest at all as I only saw the ladies who resembled Spock, with their over-arched eyebrows and chipmunk cheeks. No way, Jose.

But here's the thing, you only ever notice the bad work, eh, hello Real Housewives of the USA!

Now that I'm in the know, I see well-known TV presenters and models and realise they've all been having a 'bit of work' done.

But before I went down the Botox/ fillers route, I actually took pride in being the only beauty writer without any work done, even though a dermatologist once told me he could see I had damage and wrinkles around my eyes from too much crying! I'd had a rough year, but who needs that kind of negativity?

Colourful: Triona McCarthy identifies the latest trends. Photo: Tony Gavin
Colourful: Triona McCarthy identifies the latest trends. Photo: Tony Gavin

For years, I felt like a bit of a rebel. The beauty world thrives on making us feel bad about our insecurities, then selling us a product to fix it, and I was having none of it. Instead, I celebrated all that's wonderful in the world of skincare and beauty.

Then I had two babies in two years and turned 50. Something changed. I looked tired all the time - which I was, but normally make-up could disguise it. I work on TV a lot and I began to notice my eyes were in the back of my head. For the first time ever, I started looking in the mirror and saying to myself, "You look like an ould wan, missy, and there are an awful lot of fresher faces coming up behind you."

(Btw, I'm not 50, but I always say I'm a lot older than I actually am!)

So I did a load of research, but more importantly, I talked to my fellow beauty writer friends and decided to have a full facelift.

Just kidding! I had the teeniest bit of Botox. Tiny amounts and half strength is better for me, as it's all about subtle work.

I showed the doctor the frown lines between my eyes that made me look kinda angry, which was not the case. I didn't mind my smile lines, but hated the deep furrows across my forehead.

I was worried I'd come out wearing the same 40-something frozen face mask that I didn't like, but the doctor listened intently to my concerns and then gave me what I call a 'non-frozen look with some movement' and I couldn't believe how easy and painless it was. I also had filler in my cheeks, where I had damage from excessive crying and the fat pad had separated. Sexy or what!

I have no problem whatsoever telling anyone what I've had done as I like to share the knowledge. I've talked my head off about it on TV and don't actually understand why there's such a stigma around it and why so many women lie. If you think about it, we're constantly altering ourselves with padded bras and Spanx and hair dye and make-up for goodness sake. Wouldn't it be cool to credit the doc who did the work instead?

Is it because people are so quick to criticise and label women who do indulge in a little 'bit of work'? And more often than not, this judgment is doled out by other women. I wonder if that's why so many Irish celebs swear they've had nothing done.

Lip fillers have a bit of a bad rep because of a few celebs who have taken their lip size beyond what anyone could possibly consider normal. And I admit I do criticise lip filler on thin-lipped girls. It just looks a little ill-fitting, as if their beautiful bone structure was not meant for full lips.

Hey, do it if you want, they're your lips, but please, OWN IT! Don't do a Kylie Jenner and tell peeps "oh, it's clever lip lining" because in reality Kylie had her lip liners and lipsticks to sell!

But back to me and my work. After all my nonsense, my own family didn't even notice I'd had anything done - even Will, my other half, who probably looks at my face way more than anyone else.

Did I look like a clone? Well, did you notice anything? I think I ended up looking exactly as I hoped I would: brighter and less pissed off looking and much more like myself.

Friends told me I looked refreshed. Only one person - a man - asked if I'd had a facelift, and told me that I looked great but not to do any more (you know who you are!) It was kind of amazing how a few tiny tweaks made me look and feel so much better. Now I knew what all the fuss was about

My top tip - find a doctor you trust (I found De Mulrooney Clinic)and just do a little. Moderation is key.

I guess my message is: own it. Get whatever work you want done, but for goodness sake, if you suddenly have much larger lips or boobs and then claim you never had anything done, you're going to have people talking about you behind your back.So admit it, and let's lessen the social stigma against it all.

In an ideal world, we wouldn't place so much emphasis on appearance. But the truth is that first impressions really do count and before someone even opens their mouth we register the colour of their hair and so on, and, these days - whether she was born with it or bought it!

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