Surgeon reveals Dubai residents go under the knife to boost careers
It's tough out there. A stuttering global economy sees job creation efforts in many countries hit a brick wall, competition for prized positions is more fierce than ever, writes Duncan Hare.
If you want to stand out from the stack of CVs awaiting recruiters these days you could get some sparkling references, study for an extra degree - or have some cosmetic surgery.
The latter option is increasingly popular among those looking to climb the career ladder in Dubai, according to one top surgeon. Dr Jaffer Khan, boss at the Aesthetics International clinic in Dubai, says one of the biggest cosmetic trends he sees today is folk in their 40s and 50s looking for a lift in an attempt to keep up with the kids in the workplace.
As the effects of ageing begin to take their toll - we’re not helped by living in the unrelenting climactic conditions of the desert - an ever-growing number are choosing to go under the knife.
“The workplace is seeing much younger managers,” says Dr Khan. He claims 90 per cent of his clientele are women and he performs about 25 surgeries a month. Around 70 per cent of Dr Khan’s surgery is cosmetic related - with liposuction and breast procedures the most popular operations. Some patients who seek his help are hoping to improve their career along with their appearance.
“A lot of sales, advertising, PR jobs all require a great degree of presentation skills - physical as well as verbal.
“Let’s face it, if a pretty woman walks through the door and tries to sell me something, I’ll listen. I might not buy it - but she’s got my attention!
“Physical attributes do have a bearing on what we do - as little as we like to admit it.” Dr Khan says he tries “to make people look like they used to.”
Last summer, Lucy Monro, 48, a Dubai resident for nearly 20 years and editor-in-chief at magazine publishing firm Swiss Media Group, went under Dr Khan’s knife, which saw her face “moved” 4.5cms.
And she says: “Whereas most people think what plastic surgeons do is frivolous, what they actually do is give people their life back.
“They’re giving people choice. The younger you look and the better you look for longer, the more successful you are likely to be - that’s just fact. You just have to look around you.” Monro, also a World Championship-level elephant polo player, says that when she gazed in the mirror before deciding to opt for surgery, the reflection coming back “wasn’t me - and that increasingly annoyed me.”
She adds: “I looked better for 47 than most people at 47 but didn’t look as good as I wanted to do.” Known as the “max lift”, Monro’s cosmetic surgery cost “about $30,000”.
“I had savings, I had the cash in the bank,” admits British national Monro, who is married but has no children.
“I’m not paying school fees - and I’ve always been in control of my own finances. If I hadn’t been able to pay for it for myself, I don’t think I could have done it,” she says.
Requests for “combination procedures” - such as a nose job and a breast job - can cost “up to Dhs65,000.” Dr Khan, 53, says the number of young Emiratis seeking to go under the knife - currently about 15 per cent of his overall cosmetic work - is on the up.
“Especially those who have been educated in the West,” says the Pakistani surgeon. Of course the growing popularity of cosmetic surgery ensures the one set of professionals who don’t have to worry in the current economy are surgeons themselves. Dr Khan reckons his business is growing at about 10 per cent a year - and that about one-in-four of Dubai’s 50 or so cosmetic surgeons are dollar millionaires.
Dubai surgeon ‘nose’ what he likes
Ask Dr Jaffer Khan if there are surgeries he won’t do - and his answer may surprise you.
“Often,” he insists. “If I think the patient is there for the wrong purposes, I will refuse the surgery. Or if I think the outcomes are not going to match the expectations, or the surgery is too risky.” According to Dr Khan there have been a couple of incidents in Dubai where people have died after being “over lipo-ed.”
“I do not do liposuction for weight loss - I refuse. What do you do with all the saggy skin?”
Patients today are crystal clear about what they don’t want. “They’ve become very conscious of the fact that they ‘don’t want to look like Pamela Anderson’ or ‘don’t want to look like Michael Jackson’,” says Dr Khan.
“I look at Bruce Jenner on the Kardashians show - and he looks like a clown. Now that’s surgery gone wrong. The perfect surgery doesn’t look ‘done’.” So I feel duty bound to inform you that, according to Dr Khan, I - your humble reporter (pictured, 3rd above) - have “the perfect nose.” Honestly. “Do you know how rare that is?” he tells me, adding: “Could you tell everyone I did your nose?”
Sorry Doc, afraid not. I got it from my Mama.