Triana Lavey, a talent manager in Los Angeles, used filters to make her selfies look perfect. But she was tired of having to use filters at all and decided to step up her selfie game by getting plastic surgery. She “didn’t like the face staring back at her in Skype chats or on Facebook,” she told ABC News.
After undergoing surgery that included additions to her cheekbones and chin (which Lavey considered a particular problem) as well as a nose job and fat grafts, she was happy with the results. Laney then uttered the slightly dystopic line that should make us pause and consider what selfies are actually doing to us: “I feel like I look like myself, but Photoshopped,” she said.
Lavey is motivated by business concerns—Botox is a job expense. “Your selfie is your headshot,” she argues. “Your social media presence is just as important as your real-life presence.” Sure, models and celebrities have altered their bodies for a century to look good for their audiences, but now we’re making those alterations for images that we take of our own volition.
No one is forced to take selfies, but the preponderance of selfie culture inspires a heightened self-consciousness of our personal images online. Lavey was worried about how her face looked in Instagram and Facebook photos, so she changed it. The motivation is logical, to an extent, but it’s worth questioning why she had that thought in the first place.
It might be because with social media, we have all become celebrities with audiences we have to placate, snapping more selfies and sending more updates. As Lavey’s case shows, selfies aren’t so much about ourselves, but other people.