His followers on social media reacted both in awe and shock when Bryanboy began documenting his recent cosmetic procedures on Snapchat and Instagram—his face and nose, post-op, all swollen and wrapped in bandage, one ear stitched up from harvested cartilage.
The famous fashion blogger’s very candid (and graphic) public admission to going under the knife can be seen as refreshing. Even in this age of over-sharing, most people still find it shameful and mortifying to admit—even among friends—that they’ve had some work done on their faces or bodies.
Last year, another popular blogger, Ingrid Chua a.k.a. The Bag Hag, also wrote about having gotten a nose job, her gift to herself on turning 40. She has since been posting self-deprecating updates on the healing progress of what she calls her “spud.”
“First things first, no one should ever be shamed for doing what they want to their own bodies,” said Bryanboy, whose real name is Bryan Grey Yambao. “Never let anyone put you down for doing what makes you feel and look good!”
He pointed out that everyone—no exception—has altered his/her appearance at one point, either through makeup, hairstyle, mobile photo-editing apps, or actual cosmetic procedure.
The New York-based blogger, who has close to 600,000 followers each on Instagram and Twitter, said he made the process public “because I thought it would make great content on social media.”
The surgeries were done in the Philippines, at the Belo Medical Clinic, and he thought nine days (the duration of his trip) would be too long a time not to post anything on his social media channels.
It wasn’t because he made a “deal” with Belo, he stressed.
“I didn’t want to ‘hide’ and reappear acting as if nothing happened,” he said. “Even though my procedures are relatively minor in the grand scheme of things, altering how I physically look is a big part of my life and it made a cute online story, especially for people who are also thinking of doing the same.”
Dr. Victoria Belo, who performed the procedures with Dr. Eduardo Yap, said Bryanboy was given chin fillers “for better profile.”
Thermilift, a laser that uses heat to tighten sagging or loose skin, was also applied under his chin, “and the cheeks to get a more defined jaw.”
She added, “I also did TimeCapsule on his lower lids to get rid of the beginning eyebags.”
Dr. Yap performed the 34-year-old’s nose reconstruction.
“Bryanboy already has a nice nose bridge,” Dr. Belo said. “But his nose was wide and pointing down, so cartilage was taken from his left ear, which was transferred to his nose to give it a better tip. His nose was also de-fattened to make it finer. Then alar trimming was done to make it narrower.” The latter refers to the cutting of the ends or base of the nostrils to give the nose a narrower appearance.
The Fashion Week front-row fixture has always wanted to undergo rhinoplasty, even as a boy in his late teens.
“I wouldn’t say my looks totally bothered me, which is probably why I haven’t done it until now,” he said. “I’m perfectly fine and happy with how I looked… It’s the curiosity and the aging process that really got me proactive into thinking about different procedures.”
He added, “I thought I’d treat myself to an ‘upgrade’ because of the nature of my work and the industry I work in. I’m constantly being photographed and videotaped. I’m at this stage of my life where I’m not exactly getting any younger. It’s just natural, normal and very human to have the desire to improve how I look.”
A self-described hypochondriac, he did thorough research about the procedures he wanted to undergo. He went through the process with an open mind, with nary a fear or misgiving. He decided on Belo, to whom he has been going since 2004 for routine skincare, after reconnecting with Dr. Belo in New York early this year.
“The Philippines is a terrific place for medical tourism,” he said. “The level of care is just beyond and unsurpassed. I even come back every year for my annual executive checkup… If I had my procedures done in another country, the level of care won’t be as hands-on.”
On choosing Belo, he said, “They’ve been doing this for decades. They’re well-equipped, have the latest and the greatest in technologies.”
Bryanboy’s procedures took several hours, but he slept through it and was taking selfies and documenting everything as soon as he woke up from sedation. His followers were updated daily on his post-op progress with Snapchat clips. There was zero pain, he said.
“The first two days after the surgery were the toughest, even tougher than the day of the surgery itself,” he said.
“My face ballooned to twice its size. I knew it was gonna happen… I researched rhinoplasty for years so I knew what was coming. Again, there was no pain. The worst feeling I felt could be described as discomfort at most; I wasn’t able to breathe through my nose for two days and had to breathe through my mouth, so in the morning when I woke up, my tongue felt like a really dry, hard towel.”
It was also hard to sleep in the first 48 hours as his head had to be propped up on several pillows.
On day four, he began meeting friends for lunch and dinner. Stitches were taken out on day seven. On day eight, still with slight swelling, he was on a plane back to New York to fulfill work commitments. Soon after, he flew to Amsterdam for an event.
“It has only been two weeks so I’m still swollen here and there,” he said, though it’s hard to tell from his photos on Instagram. “But I’m extremely happy with the results so far. My new nose gets smaller every day. There’s no pain, no scars, nothing!”
It would take six months to a year to see the full results of his makeover.
Bryanboy first hinted at his planned makeover with posts of images from a Steven Meisel editorial spread for Vogue Italia’s July 2005 issue, a glamorized visual narrative of women going under the knife.
The day after his surgery, he posted his photo on Instagram, sitting in a wheelchair, his head wrapped in compression bandage and his just-rhinoplasty-d nose wrapped in gauze—a near exact copy of Linda Evangelista in a wheelchair in that Meisel shoot.
“I was inspired by [it],” he said. “It’s fabulous!”
His family and friends, including his Swedish husband, were quite supportive.
“Believe it or not, almost all of my best friends have tweaked their faces here and there; I was actually the last person in my group to do something with my nose! A few friends also confessed to me privately that they had work done after seeing videos of me online all swollen. I wouldn’t have guessed!”
Regrets, he has none, he said—only that he hadn’t had the procedures done sooner.