Most people who know me, know this story. While I was working in Southern California, I rubbed elbows with several former Disney actors and Vegas Crooners. I met them through the pianist at the lounge on the resort, and eventually was invited to their Thursday night soiree to help fill in after the "regular joe" singers got up. It was upscale kareoke in the lobby of the hotel.
A year later, while touring with my first educational theater gig, I got a call. One of the Disney actors wanted to offer me a nose job to help my career. He and his wife thought I was too pretty to let it get in the way. At 23 years old, this was kind of devastating. I told them I'd think about it. After much consideration, and several days of feeling just butt-ugly, I realized a few things:
1. I do stage work, not film. If I'd wanted to go the Hollywood route, perhaps having some things corrected that would be a disadvantage on a television or movie screen would be understandable. I'd never had any interest in getting out of theater.
2. A professional opera singer and mentor of mine in college once told me that I had a stage face that she and a lot of other performers would kill for.
3. My nose was perfectly functional. The breathing was working well. Could I really justify having thousands of dollars spent on a cosmetic change. And how did that fit in with knowledge of global poverty - in light of people lacking necessities, was a cosmetic change worth it. (I'm not trying to negate all cosmetic surgery. I think the reasoning for it or against it is very personal. These were just MY concerns in justifying it within my own conscience. I don't expect everyone to reach the same conclusions.)
The end result - I didn't get a nose job. But a few years down the line my eyes rejected contacts, and I was too blind to perform without them. I sent a letter to my friend with a headshot and resume, asking if he would be willing to trade in his offered nose job (which I didn't need) for some lasik (which I did). Between he and my grandmother, my lasik was funded, and I ended up with new eyes instead of a new nose.
Last year, after 5 years of trying to 'make it' as an actor, I got my first professional gig in a "Big House." I was hired because I could pass as Jewish for Fiddler on the Roof. In the callback, I wore only lipgloss and mascara, to emphasize my features.
A few days ago, I was called back for "Funny Girl."
So, in the end, I think it was a good career move. Of course I've done other shows that don't require a particular look. I do a lot of shows set in the 20's and 30's as well, because I my French heritage lends itself to a bob. In fact, at those callbacks, I always bob my hair and wear cat-eye makeup to show off that side as well. And I got cast in Les Miserables.