Botox Can’t Fill the Black Hole That Is Your Life

    My usual sail through the Interweb was halted yesterday by a popup image whose grotesqueness rivaled that of any Freddy Krueger nightmare: Heidi Montag’s surgically altered face — pulled, pinched, pressed and pinned into place to produce a life-size celebrity Mattel doll look, available in a tanning salon near you.

    Did I mention her boobs are now DDD?

    Okay, before I start bashing Montag for making her surgeon into a butcher, let’s review her short biography.

    Montag grew up in Crested Butte, Col. (population: 1,500). She lived simply and peacefully amongst the mountain dwellers until transferring to San Francisco’s Academy of Art University. There, she met Lauren Conrad — otherwise known as LC, from then-hit reality show “Laguna Beach” — who ultimately scored Montag a part on her scripted reality sequel “The Hills.”

    Here’s where we stop and try to piece together the present-day trainwreck with the eager-eyed “Hills” newbie we saw enter the twisted celebrity funhouse five years ago.

    The shift from one phase of her life (frolicking between the igloos of Crested Butte) to the next (walking down Melrose trailed by a herd of paparazzi) is something that, to some degree, we’ve all experienced. A change of environment brings with it an inclination to reinvent oneself. Because, hey — if no one knows who we are, we can look and behave in a drastically different way without raising any eyebrows.

    I remember coming to UCSD, just having surfaced from my frizzy-maned, headgear-heavy, “I let the water-polo guys cheat off me in Calculus” phase. Destined to be cooler than the old me, I tried (really hard) to look the part of the confident 18-year-old who hadn’t just gone on her first date six months prior, and who certainly hadn’t gone to every one of her high-school formals with a gay guy (though I always did have the prettiest corsage of all — God’s way of throwing me a bone, I guess).

    At my crossroads, I was willing to go to great lengths to rid myself of the self-consciousness that consumed me in high school, and I’m sure on some level, Montag felt the same way.

    Not only was she entering a town far ritzier than Crested Butte, but she’d be filmed opposite LC, whose uncanny resemblance to Christine Taylor (Ben Stiller’s wife, duh) made her the emblem of the naturally flawless high-school princess we all loved to hate.

    If that had been me, I probably would’ve asked the show’s producers to cast me as the mysterious character who wears a mask for the duration of the series. That probably would have been less humiliating than to be compared onscreen to Laguna Beach Barbie, sipping on a martini at Les Deux.

    After constantly being compared to a city’s worth of Sports Illustrated’s next bikini covers, it’s not surprising that Heidi decided to go under the knife.

    And it’s not just Heidi, or me. Girls everywhere try to exchange their freckled cuteness for something more glamorous.

    One girl from my freshman dorm arrived on the scene as a spectacled, self-proclaimed AP nerd with a cropped haircut and simple style. Naturally adorable, she waited exactly one quarter before throwing on pounds of too-dark liquid foundation, instantly perfectly curled hair extensions and buying platform wedges.

    It’s reasonable that we want to try to shatter the tired “smart girls are ugly” stereotype (an especially prominent myth in Revelle), but at the same time, girls like my old suitemate and Montag have taken it way too far.

    By swathing themselves in sun-kissed crap and swapping cardigans for navel ring-baring tube tops, both women look ten times more self-conscious than before.

    With the extreme end of the spectrum now marked by Montag’s rock-hard face and watermelon boobs, we can all thank heaven that’s not us and learn from her checkstand humiliation that we’re better off as we are. Even the lesser “Clueless” makeover process should be kept in check: It doesn’t matter how thick your lips or glittery your eye makeup, if your personality sucks, you do too.

    There’s nothing wrong with taking pride in your appearance; in fact, I’m sure the Kelsey of yesteryear would applaud the 2010 me for ditching the caveman eyebrows and opting for a more sleek hairdo. But if you wake up one morning and your dog doesn’t recognize you, consider the chance that you’ve taken self-betterment too far.

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