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Julie Chen had plastic surgery to widen her 'Asian eyes'

When CBS anchorwoman and Big Brother Host Julie Chen was told years ago that she would never make it in front of the camera because she “looked Chinese,” she took drastic measures to change her appearance.

Chen revealed on CBS’s “The Talk” Thursday she had plastic surgery almost twenty years ago to make her eyes look bigger.

Chen spilled her secret during a special week of host reveals on “The Talk’s” new-season premiere week. (Via CBS)

She said when she was 25 years old and first trying to get a job as a news anchor, a top-notch agent told her she needed to Westernize her look if she wanted to make it.

“He said, ‘I cannot represent you unless you get plastic surgery to make your eyes look bigger.’” (Via CBS)

Chen showed a side-by-side comparison of her headshots from before and after the surgery — and the difference was clear. (Via NBC)

She said she doesn’t have any regrets about her decision, but she does wonder what would have happened if she didn’t go under the knife.

“Wow, did I give in to ‘the man’ and do this?” (Via CBS)

Chen’s co-hosts were extremely supportive during her confession, applauding her bravery and saying she looked beautiful before and after. (Via Fox News)

And the Asian American Journalists Association has announced its on her side, too. The organization released a statement praising Chen for telling her story.

“Her story chronicles some of the daily struggles Asian Americans face in the workplace across all industries, not just in broadcast journalism … Asian Americans issues are still rarely covered … Ms. Chen’s story is an all-too real reminder of how crucial our mission remains today.” (Via E! News)

But others in the Asian American community say they’re saddened and offended that Chen “succumbed to racial pressures.” Many Asian Americans took to Twitter to express their disdain.

Some expressed sadness, (Via Twitter / @_CherLee_)

While others showed sarcastic disgust. (Via Twitter / @TheMineWolf)

It turns out blepharoplasty, or double-eyelid surgery, is common within Asian communities in the U.S. and other countries. But patients often risk criticism that they’re trying to look more white.

An assistant professor of social and cultural analysis at NYU told KPCC women in her community get the surgery because other women in their family did. “In that way, it’s almost like a familial or a cultural procedure, or rite of passage that I would see in the Korean-American community.”

And as for the Ohio news station where Chen was told she looked too Chinese to be on air — representatives apologized for its actions.

“We are sorry to hear about what happened to CBS’ Julie Chen in 1995 when she was a reporter at WDTN-TV. The station was under different management and ownership during that time. At WDTN and WBDT, we don’t tolerate racism or discrimination of any kind.” (Via Dayton Daily News)

Among all these reactions, Chen told her audience, "I have to live with every decision that I've made, and it got me to where we are today. And I'm not going to look back."

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