Ash Wednesday is a 1973 film starring iconic beauty, Elizabeth Taylor, Henry Fonda and Helmut Berger. It depicts Taylor’s character, 55-year-old Barbara Sawyer – considerably older than Taylor actually was at the time – submitting to a full- body plastic surgery procedure at a Swiss clinic. The motivation for this was borne out of the desire to please her apathetic husband, to reinvigorate his interest in her. The surgery, which is shown in graphic detail, was the top of the range at the time. Viewing this now, it looks far more a torture ceremony, an act of barbarianism. Dame Elizabeth never shied away from roles which portrayed the violently vulnerable and tragically insecure. Famed for her legendary beauty this role was no exception and was clearly more about the inner Barbara Sawyer than the outer.
We’ve come along way baby! In 2013, so much in the cosmetic industry has changed. It is no longer a torture, a shame, reserved for the jet-set, nor just for the ugly. Procedural terms are in the common vernacular and the reasons why women and men seek to enhance their appearance has also changed. It seems an empowerment and an informed decision by the consumer. I had the chance to speak to the esteemed Dr Sach Mohan of Revere. Dr Mohan is a progressive and visionary clinician, his surgery is based on the famed Harley Street, London, and he has revolutionized non surgical methods of treatments. He is sought after by A- list celebrities as well as Chinese students.
Below is his take on the modern face of beauty.
EMK: You've seen the film Ash Wednesday which depicts Elizabeth Taylor, considered the most beautiful woman in the world, undergoing a face-lift back in the early 70s. Can you explain simply how your approach differs from what you have seen in the film, and how you would help somebody who was already beautiful to enhance their beauty?
SM:Thank you Erin, I think my general response to the question regarding the movie is that having watched the movie in order to prepare for today's interview, I can understand why the reviews were quite harsh, and why the critics went after it. I think the audience probably didn't understand or didn't appreciate -actually, the audience couldn't fathom why Elizabeth Taylor would ever want a face lift, because they never actually showed the face that went on to become Elizabeth Taylor in the movie. During the movie itself, certain practices depicted, such as the consultation being done whilst she was on the table, semi-sedated, is something that virtually every practitioner across the world would raise their eyebrows to come and would condemn. I think the portrayal of the typical patient at the clinic, or the character that Elizabeth Taylor portrayed in the movie; the clinic portrayed typical clients to be outsiders, loners, people with obvious body dysmorphia which in today's day and age, yes, we still do encounter body dysmorphics, but our consultation styles and the methodology with which we conduct our consultations, ‘red flags’ these types of clients, who require more counselling than they do our hands, or any procedures that we may offer.
EMK: What are the similarities between then and now?
SM: In terms of the clinic that was shown, it was an ‘Uber’ clinic, it was a destination resort, and the emphasis on the experience of the patient, and the surrounding in which they were having their procedures were, by those standards, very luxurious. I think that in our modern day and age, was providing excellent customer service, or patient service, as well as excellent clinical results is now the norm rather than the exception. Some clinics may go that extra mile, providing a concierge service, and providing a luxurious environment to be in, and giving other ‘value-addeds’.
EMK:- So, it's much more accessible now, having cosmetic procedures than was back in the 70s and the 80s when it was kind of reserved for the very rich or the very aspirational. Now virtually everyone can afford some pocket of procedure in the cosmetic world. Do you think this is a good thing? Do you think that it opens up to maverick practitioners?
SM:There is no doubt; there's been a convergence from the beauty sector and the cosmetic sector and the medical sector into a territory where treatments and products are more evidence-based, more accessible, both in terms of where the service is being delivered and the price points. I would also say that with increasing numbers of treatments also become available which a far less invasive or minimally invasive, the population at large now has a lower threshold to cross over and is able to embrace these new technologies. This has all been augmented further by the additional catalyst of celebrity culture where looks and the way you look, has been associated with success, adulation, and wealth. In the professional sector we're finding more and more people are in a rat race where their younger colleagues are at the heels and there’s now pressures to extend your own professional shelf life. The other thing is that we're now working in a time where we no longer have a job for life, where we are likely to change career paths many times during our working lives, and in order to get your foot in the door, or extend where you’re currently working, unfortunately looks to play a role. In terms of looking after oneself it is now just extended beyond just having your nails done, or going to the gym, or having the odd massage. A visit to your local doctor is now part and parcel of a lot of people's normal well-being regime.
EMK: With Revere, which I find, and many other critics or commentators in this industry have found to be a very modern, contemporary approach to beauty. How do you differentiate? What is your ‘USP’? What makes you, in your opinion, special?
SM : (I think), with Revere, we have made a deliberate attempt not to play a ‘numbers game’. We’ve deliberately kept below the radar with an emphasis towards providing the best possible service to each and every one of our clients. We have operated by a strictly word-of-mouth referral service. Because we weren't accessible on the web, or through any directory services, your average person probably wouldn't have heard about us, and because our client base stemmed from a small cohort of high net worth individuals, we have grown just particularly within that niche sector, and totally organically. Because the demands of such clients are so high, and with our collective experiences in luxurious environments - the first ever ‘Med-Spa’ that I opened, or in terms of the population that we’ve looked after, the needs of that particular client base are quite unique in that they are very well versed with the latest technologies, and that keeps us on our toes as well, where we have to stay ahead of everyone else providing them with not only the most advanced but also in our role as a gatekeeper to these continuing evolving treatment modalities, ensuring their safety as well. Because a lot of our clients are in the public eye they can't afford ‘downtime’, they can't afford to be seen in public with a bruise, or with any side-effects from any cosmetic treatment, and because they can take 10-12 days off for recuperation, we are very very selective in the technologies that we offer, and how we offer them.
EMK:Tell me about the challenge of making beautiful people more beautiful; enhancing their beauty.
SM: Well that's a general approach that we have here, in that in terms of the ageing process, (this) is multi factorial. Changes to the skin, the surface of the skin, changes to the Volumetrics of the structures within the face, the laxity of the skin, lesions on the skin, excessive muscle activity and then an ongoing skin pathology, whether that be acne, whether that rosacea, whether that's sun spots or moles, we provide a very comprehensive service and what we don't try and do is provide a one hit wonder. All of our services and treatments that we offer are offered as a package where we specifically deal with each one of those skin layers or each one of those skin complaints, one at a time, in the right order, providing the best possible treatment for that, in a timely and convenient manner for the lifestyles and the daily pressures that are on our clients.
EMK: OK Doctor, so time for some fun and nutty questions for you. Obviously you need to have your downtime, so question number one, Bollinger champagne or Royal Salute (whiskey)?
SM: Royal Salute Whisky.
EMK: Madonna, Cher or Lady Gaga?
SM: Lady Gaga.
SM: I'm very very intrigued as to what the future holds for her. With all respect to Cher and Madonna's accomplishments, like myself, I just want to see the next generation push through.
EMK: Last one, tell me something hopeful in three words.
SM: ‘Cream of Botox’
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