I had a nose job at 16 and it's my biggest regret – it's not the shape I wanted, I should have listed to mum

HAILAN Abed, 19, is an actress who lives in Bolton with her mum Jee, 41.

Like Bella Hadid, she came to regret having a nose job when she was a teenager.

“Propped up in my hospital bed, I took a selfie on my phone. My face was swathed in bandages, my skin was painfully bruised and swollen and I had one overpowering thought: ‘What on earth have I done?’ 

I expected to wake up from my nose job in September 2019 feeling like a new and more attractive version of myself. Instead, I was filled with regret.

I was four when I moved with my mum Jee and dad Serhad, 44, to Bradford from Duhok, Kurdistan, Iraq, in 2006.

At school, I was surrounded by British children. I longed to have blonde hair, blue eyes and a button nose like them, as opposed to my sallow skin and hooked nose.

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When I begged for blonde highlights, my mum, who worked as a hairstylist and beautician, told me I was beautiful as I was, but I didn’t believe her.

When I was 13, a boy at school called me ‘Squidward’ after the SpongeBob SquarePants character with a big, drooping nose. I felt humiliated and shied away from having photos taken. My self-esteem plummeted and I avoided looking in the mirror.

In late 2018, while on FaceTime with family in Duhok, talk turned to a relative who’d had a nose job. Cosmetic surgery is very popular in Kurdistan, and it’s so cheap compared to the UK. It planted a seed in my mind.

The following August, aged 16, I flew to Kurdistan on my own for a three-month holiday at my grandparents’ house.

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A few weeks before, my aunt Lole, 23, had undergone rhinoplasty, and she was so happy with the results that I became determined to follow in her footsteps.

I was due to start college soon and was desperate to have a new nose.

I began by convincing my grandparents Amana, 68, and Abdul, 73, I needed a nose job. I cried every day about how unhappy I was.

After two weeks, they gave in and said if Mum agreed, they’d pay for it. My parents had split up by this point and my dad wasn’t involved in the decision.

At first, my mum wouldn’t entertain the idea, but after a week of pleading calls, she agreed, and I was overjoyed.

However, excitement turned to worry as I sat in the surgeon’s office that September.

Rather than an in-depth consultation, he simply looked at photos of my nose, marked areas I wanted to change, asked for £800 and booked me in for the following week.

Doubts began to creep into my mind, but I hid them, even from my family as I was wheeled into surgery.

Three hours later, I woke up and was horrified by how bruised and swollen my face was, with my nose concealed beneath a cast.

The next week, when the cast was taken off I cried. This swollen, ugly nose wasn’t what I’d imagined – while the side profile was different, the droop I’d asked to be removed was still there.

When I was 13, a boy at school called me ‘Squidward’ after the SpongeBob SquarePants character with a big, drooping nose. I felt humiliated and shied away from having photos taken. My self-esteem plummeted and I avoided looking in the mirror.

I was told the swelling would subside, but I could see the shape wasn’t what I’d wanted, which I learned was down to excess scar tissue. 

I returned to the UK the following month, and when Mum saw me for the first time, I hid my true feelings. She asked if I was happy and I said yes, but I was lying.

A few months later, I mentioned on a TikTok video that I was Kurdish and someone asked if I meant I’d married someone from Kurdistan – my ethnicity was no longer visible.

I’m so proud of being Kurdish and my new nose has robbed me of that physical connection with where I was born. I bitterly regret altering it.

Mum has been very supportive, never once reminding me she told me it was a bad idea.

When I read Bella Hadid’s recent comments about regretting her rhinoplasty at 14, and how she wishes she’d kept “the nose of her [Palestinian] ancestors”, it struck a chord.

I’d love to go back and tell that girl being wheeled into surgery to walk away. I’d tell her she’s only 16, she hasn’t finished growing and in time she’ll learn to feel happy with her appearance.

Surgery is not the answer, and one day she’ll regret it and wish for her old nose back.” 

As told to: Kate Graham 


In the UK, rhinoplasty costs £4,000-£7,000.*

There were 1,330 nose jobs performed in the UK last year.**

Bella Hadid was named Model of the Year in 2016. Her sister is fellow model Gigi.

*NHS **Statista

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