Julie Chen reveals eye surgery to Westernize her look

Julie Chen of “The Talk” shared a big secret Wednesday on the show: She had plastic surgery done on her eyes in the hope of advancing her career.

The reason? She’d been told she’d never make the anchor desk in Dayton, Ohio, because she was Chinese. Then a top-notch agent in no uncertain terms told her basically the same thing — she needed to Westernize her look.

“He said, ‘I cannot represent you unless you get plastic surgery to make your eyes look bigger.’ ... and I did it,” Chen revealed during what has been a week of the show’s hosts each unveiling a major secret from her past.

(On Monday, Sharon Osbourne copped to a “flingy wingy” with Jay Leno when she was 25; Tuesday, Aisha Tyler revealed her struggles with fertility, and Thursday, Sara Gilbert discussed what it was like to realize she was a lesbian while dating actor Johnny Galecki.)


Chen, 43, showed a side-by-side comparison of news headshots to illustrate how dramatic the surgery was (see the photos in the video above).
“If you look at the after, the eyes are bigger, I look more alert ... more expressive,” she said, agreeing with a very supportive co-host Sheryl Underwood on that last point.

But did she have any regrets? How does she feel about herself now, her co-hosts wanted to know.

“Now I sometimes wonder....” But, she said, “After I had that done ... the ball did roll for me. Which I struggle with, wow, did I give in to ‘the man’ and do this?” Indeed, Chen has notched a career as a successful journalist, including time at the anchor desk for CBS Morning News and more. Not to mention her gig as the host of CBS’ “Big Brother.”

After assurances from her co-hosts that no, she, Mrs. Les Moonves, had not given in to “the man,” she wrapped it up.


“I will say this ... I don’t like to live with regrets. I did it, I moved on, no one’s more proud of being Chinese than I am, and I have to live with the decisions I have made. That’s my secret.”


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