Emily St. Martin
Los Angeles Times
The Kardashians’ empire was built on the business of beauty. From shapewear to cosmetics to fashion, there’s no aspect of beauty the family doesn’t have a stake in — but there is one they’re not always so enthusiastic to discuss: namely, plastic surgery.
Since the women splashed onto the reality television scene in the early aughts, fans and skeptics have picked them apart, obsessing over how they achieve their looks and whether they’ve gone under the knife to do so.
Last week, the youngest, Kylie Jenner, confirmed that she had her “breasts done” when she was 19 but shared that she later regretted it.
In the wake of Kylie’s comments, we rounded up the Kardashians’ and Jenners’ comments on plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures through the years.
“These plastic surgery rumors hurt my feelings to be honest and are kinda insulting,” she tweeted in April 2014, adding, “Just in case anyone forgot.. I’m 16.”
In October of the same year, the youngest of the brood asked the public how long it planned to talk about “the lip thing” — rumors had been swirling for much of the year that Kylie had augmented her lips.
Well, it’s 2023, and people are still talking about “the lip thing,” and although Kylie has seemingly come to terms with it by now, she appeared to struggle with publicly addressing it for years.
In a January 2015 interview with Cosmopolitan, Jenner denied surgery rumors: “You guys have watched me grow up since I was 9. My face is going to get different,” she said. “Now, I know how to do my makeup, contour, and everything. I’m not against surgery. I’d never say no, but I don’t desire it right now.”
But by May 2015, she offered up a bit more intel: “I have temporary lip fillers. It’s just an insecurity of mine, and it’s what I wanted to do,” the 17-year-old said in aclip from the family’s reality series. “I want to admit to the lips, but people are so quick to judge me on everything. … So I might have tiptoed around the truth, but I didn’t lie.”
Later that year, Kris Jenner revealed that she did not approve of Kylie opting for a plumper pout. “I am from the generation that in my day, I mean, some of this stuff did not exist for sure, but I don’t think I did one thing physically to myself until I was in my 50s,” the matriarch of the clan said. “So I am thinking … why, why? Why do you need to do that?”
In a 2017 episode of the “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” spin-off series “Life of Kylie,” on E!, the beauty mogul revealed that her insecurities stemmed from feeling “unkissable“: “I was 15 and I was insecure about my lips. I have really small lips. And it was like one of my first kisses and a guy was like, ‘I didn’t think you would be a good kisser because you have such small lips.’ But I took that really hard,” Jenner said.
“Just when a guy you like says that, I don’t know, it just really affected me. I just didn’t feel desirable or pretty. I really wanted bigger lips. I would overline my lips with lip liner just to create the illusion of bigger lips. And then finally I was like this lip liner isn’t doing it. [I] ended up getting my lips done,” she added.
Despite the gossip, vitriol and obsession over Kylie’s lips — the reality star told HommeGirls this year that getting filler was the best thing she’d ever done: “I think a big misconception about me is that I’ve had so much surgery on my face and that I was some insecure person, and I really wasn’t! Yeah, I love full lips and wanted full lips, but growing up I was always the most confident person in the room. I was the girl performing for everyone. I had my one lip insecurity thing, so I got lip filler, and it was the best thing I’ve ever done. I don’t regret it. But I always thought I was cute.”
But in a recent episode of the family’s newest show, “The Kardashians,” and after nearly a decade of denying speculation that she had gone under the knife, she opened up about getting a breast augmentation at age 19, and said she’d be “heartbroken” if her daughter did the same.
The Kylie Cosmetics chief executive said she “got [her] breasts done” before she and then-boyfriend Travis Scott welcomed their first child, Stormi, in 2018. Speaking with best friend Anastasia Karanikolaou, Jenner said her natural breasts were “just gorgeous.”
“I just wish, obviously, I never got them done to begin with,” she said on the Hulu reality show. “I would recommend anyone who is thinking about it to wait until after children.
“Obviously, I have a daughter too. I would be heartbroken if she wanted to get her body done at 19,” she said in the episode. “She’s the most beautiful thing ever. I want to be, like, the best mom and best example for her. I wish I could be her and do it all differently, ’cause I wouldn’t touch anything.”
In 2014, Extra told the Jenner sisters there was a “nose job” rumor circulating about Kendall. Then 18, she scoffed and said, “Come on now, people … Makeup does wonders. Honestly, people can make something up and really make other people believe it, and there’s not much you can do about it.”
In January 2017, after a brief hiatus from Instagram led to speculation that she’d taken time off for cosmetic procedures, Kendall shot down the rumors in an Instagram live video: “As a model, why would I have my face reconstructed? It doesn’t even make sense,” she said.
“It’s crazy because sometimes I feel like people just want me to lose. I found this Instagram page devoted to Kardashian bashing and it has a lot of followers. I don’t ever take that stuff personally, but it was upsetting for me to look at because this person dedicated an entire page to just dissing the whole family and being like, ‘These people suck.’ I just felt sad for whoever’s behind it — who has the time? People forget that they’re talking about real people who have real feelings and actually live their everyday lives (for the most part) just like everyone else.”
In June 2021, Kendall told Bravo host Andy Cohen that her family didn’t perpetuate unrealistic beauty standards, saying: “We all really enjoy taking care of ourselves and being healthy. So I think if anything, the only thing we’re really trying to represent is just being the most healthy version of yourself.”
In June 2021, during Part 2 of the “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” reunion, Khloé got candid about some of her cosmetic procedures: “Oh, my gosh. She’s had her third face transplant, but I’ve had one nose job, [with] Dr. Raj Kanodia, and everyone gets so upset. Like, why don’t I talk about it? No one’s ever asked me,” she said. She also admitted having injections but said she stays away from Botox because she once had a terrible reaction to it.
During the same reunion, Kris Jenner weighed in on Khloé’s self-image battle: “There’s this crazy environment and culture on the internet of this bullying that is just so bad. And I think that we know all the statistics and all the suicide rates and all of that, but I think people just don’t realize, especially when they do it anonymously, and they can just go on and say anything they want,” she said. “We talk about it all the time, but it’s really so cruel and so bad for someone’s mental health, just to keep getting badgered all the time.”
In April 2022, Koko sat down with ABC and said, “My whole life I’ve always wanted my nose done, but it’s in the middle of your face and it’s scary to think about, but I finally got the courage. I did it and I love it.” After the interview, she chatted with fans on social media, revealing that she’d had the procedure done a few weeks before daughter True Thompson’s first birthday. She also said her only regret was that she didn’t do it sooner.
When ringing in the new year with a cover shoot for Dubai’s quarterly Sorbet mag, Khloé was bombarded with Instagram comments ragging on her photos, questioning her mental health and accusing her of using injectable diabetes medications like Ozempic to dramatically drop weight. The Good American founder had finally had enough and responded in a since-deleted comment, “I openly talk about my nose job and anyone who ‘looks up’ to me must know I’ve lost over 60 pounds over the years. So recently the only change is the bangs.” She added, “I didn’t know I had to do a running list.”
When one replier wrote, “The fact that she uses dibetic medicine to get this skinny is disturbing,” Koko clapped back: “Let’s not discredit my years of working out. I get up 5 days a week at 6am to train. Please stop with your assumptions. I guess new year still means mean people.”
On Thursday’s episode of “The Kardashians,” Khloé said she pegged her insecurities to being in the public eye. “I had the most confidence, I was chubby and in a skintight body-con dress and you couldn’t tell me otherwise,” she said. “Society gave me insecurities. I’ve been torn apart.”
“The minute that [I went] on TV, I didn’t look like my sisters so therefore it’s not good enough,” she continued. Khloé added that attempting to change her look, with better makeup, fillers and getting a “nose job” didn’t curb the constant bullying. “It’s like so which one is it? You don’t like me then, you don’t like me [now]? … You have to do things for yourself.”
The younger of the Kardashian sisters also said during Thursday’s episode that her mom’s comments about her nose when she was growing up made her see the feature as a flaw.
In 2010, Kim K. detailed a Botox experience during an episode of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” that had her convinced something had gone terribly wrong. She said her eyes were on fire, they were incredibly itchy, and she made an ice pack out of ice cubes and a cloth napkin at a Los Angeles restaurant, before saying, “The doctor did warn me about side effects,” and panicking that the doctor may have hit a nerve.
Fan chatter about the Botox procedure being “botched” prompted Kim to address the ordeal on her website at the time, writing: “I am not against Botox, and I would never judge anyone else for getting any kind of surgical or non-surgical procedure, but I think when you’re young, there are other ways you can look after your skin. Botox just wasn’t necessary for me at this age.”
In 2018, after the world raised an eyebrow at Kim’s extra-round rump, she attempted to prove its legitimacy by getting it X-rayed during an episode of “KUWTK.” The doctor X-rayed Kourtney’s breasts first, to show viewers what an implant looks like, and then X-rayed Kim’s backside and held up an image proclaiming, “No implants!”
In 2019, while getting her makeup done for a Mario Dedivanoic Masterclass, Kim denied going under the knife for a rhinoplasty. “I never had my nose done,” she said. “Everyone thought I did, and I said wait until I have kids because your real features come out.”
In the second part of the “KUWTK” reunion that aired in summer 2021, Kim was asked if she thought her family was promoting unattainable standards of beauty, to which she replied, “No, I don’t. Because we get up, we do the work, we work out.”
“I really genuinely care about looking good,” the Skims mogul told Allure for its August 2022 cover story. “I probably care more than 90 percent of the people on this planet. It’s not easy when you’re a mom and you’re exhausted at the end of the day or you’re in school and I’m all of the above. I do my beauty treatments usually late at night. After everyone’s in bed, I’m doing laser treatments.
“I’ve never had eyelash extensions. I’ve never done anything. I have a drop of mascara on today. I’ve never filled my cheeks. I’ve never filled my lips,” she told the magazine.
She then addressed how she told the New York Times in June 2022 that she would consider eating poop if she was told it would make her look younger: “I was kind of joking, but now that I think about it, I would probably eat s— if someone told me, ‘If you eat this bowl of poop every single day, you’ll look younger.’
“I’m 41. I always want to look appropriate. There does come a point when you’ve taken it too far — overfilled, too tight, too much cosmetic work. There’s nothing worse,” she continued, without acknowledging that eating poop might actually be worse than too much cosmetic work. But maybe that’s subjective?
Kim has yet to confirm or deny whether she’s received a Brazilian butt lift — a procedure that removes excess fat from one area of the body and injects it into the buttocks — despite the constant speculation over how she’s obtained her signature body shape.
In 2011, Kourtney said she regretted getting breast implants when she was 22. “I had my boobs done, but if I could go back, I wouldn’t have done it. I was so cute before,” she told Showbiz Spy in 2011. “I’ve realized that I was made to look a certain way and I’m considering removing them.”
In 2018, it was revealed that the women had visited Dr. Jason Diamond of Beverly Hills for various treatments, one of which is the the platelet-rich plasma micro-needling skin treatment that boosts collagen and gives the face a glow. Kourtney shared a social-media video of herself receiving the treatment and said, “I take my own blood and put it into my face.”
In December 2021, Kourt clapped back at an Instagram follower who accused her of having “plenty” of plastic surgery, suggesting the eldest Kardashian sister had received treatments including “botox, nose job, some sort of butt shot or bbl just to start.” Kourtney replied with a retort that suggested she hadn’t received the treatments but was flattered to appear as if she had: “No better compliment than a too good to be real kind of compliment,” she wrote, adding, “Butt shot and brazilian butt lift, um, thanks. And you were just getting started.”
In January 2022, in a since-expired Instagram post, Kourtney revealed a facial procedure. “I’m here doing my Le Visage Lift Contour,” she said in a video. Then, as a tool was pressed against her skin, she added that the process was “like lifting and contouring.”
The matriarch of the Kardashian-Jenner empire is much more free-flowing when asked about plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. She joked with host RuPaul during a 2015 appearance on E!’s “Good Work” that she was so not shy about it that she “usually films it all.”
She told Mama Ru that she has had “botox and fillers and lasers and things like that.”
“And I had a boob job in the ’80s after four kids because gravity took over,” she added. “It was great for about 25 years, or 30, whatever it was, and then a couple years ago, I felt like they were too big. And I felt matronly and nothing fit anymore. And suddenly it was like, ‘Get them out.’ So the same doctor who put them in, he took them out and then had to do a little lift, and then put smaller ones in.”
The reality-star momager also said that despite many people thinking she and her family had had their noses done, she hasn’t. “I was born with it,” she said. “They say that about all my kids — we haven’t had our noses done.” (This was said a few years before Khloé went under the knife.)
When asked during the same interview what advice she had for anyone considering plastic surgery, Kris said: “You have to do what makes you feel good. First of all, you can’t do something because somebody else wants you to do it. And then you have to do great research on the doctor that you choose. When I did my neck on camera for [‘KUWTK’], Garth Fisher did it, Garth is a great surgeon — Garth’s somebody that I’ve trusted with my kids.” (Whoops, was that last part a slip?)
In the aughts, Kris also got a face-lift, which she documented on the show. “Right now, time is not on my side,” she said during a confessional. When former spouse Caitlyn Jenner suggested she stop obsessing over herself, she yelled back, “No, I won’t! I will not quit obsessing on myself!”
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