At 19, actor Reid Ewing had the first of what would be multiple cosmetic-surgery procedures on his face.
Now, at 27, the “Modern Family” actor is expressing his regrets and anger, saying it was his mind and not his body that needed work.
“Body dysmorphic disorder is a mental illness in which a person obsesses over the way he or she looks,” Ewing says in an essay for the Huffington Post, revealing his struggle with body dysmorphia.
“In my case, my looks were the only thing that mattered to me. I had just moved to L.A. to become an actor and had very few, if any, friends. I’d sit alone in my apartment and take pictures of myself from every angle, analyzing every feature.”
Ewing is best known for his recurring “Modern Family” character Dylan, Hayley Dunphy’s dopey but lovable boyfriend. He nabbed that role in 2009 and has appeared in 29 episodes of the show. He’s currently also attending college in Utah.
But in 2008, he says, he decided surgery was a must, and his first doctor recommended cheek implants. The experience was not good -- he wasn’t prepared for post-op realities including pain and how he’d look immediately afterward -- but the decision had a domino effect that saw him getting a chin implant next, having “the numerous implants” removed, and experimenting with injectable fillers and fat transplants. And yes, he was seen on the show while some of this was going on.
He paid for it with his acting earnings and borrowed from his family when he was “most desperate.” At least one surgery, Ewing says, was botched.
“I noticed I could move the chin implant under my skin, easily moving it from one side of my face to another. I rushed back to the surgeon, and, acknowledging he had made a mistake, he operated on me again.”
Ewing says saw four doctors in total, none of whom had mental health screenings other than asking about a history of depression, which he had. His family history of obsessive-compulsive disorder and eating disorders “never came up,” nor was it suggested that he get a psychological assessment.
He classifies his situation as “clearly” a psychological issue, not a cosmetic one.
“I wish I could go back and undo all the surgeries,” says Ewing, whose mental anguish is palpable in the essay. Now I can see that I was fine to begin with and didn’t need the surgeries after all.”