Sandra Bullock Hasn’t Gotten Plastic Surgery—But Why Does It Matter?

Three aspects of a celebrity’s life usually get analyzed to the hilt: their dating life, their weight, and whether they have had cosmetic procedures.

Sandra Bullock is one star whose facial appearance often gets studied critically. Some people hunt for clues as to whether she has done anything surgically to alter it. We can only guess how disconcerting and perhaps frustrating and hurtful it must be for her to have to address persistent, intrusive rumors about something so individual and personal.

Bullock Has Consistently Denied Having Plastic Surgery

At the 2018 Academy Awards, Bullock dazzled in a Louis Vuitton sequined gown, her dark hair long and flowing. She epitomized Hollywood elegance and glamour. But there was one element that some people preferred to zero in on to the exclusion of practically all else: her slightly puffy cheeks.

Sandra Bullock standing on red carpet in gold and black sequined gown
Bullock at the 2018 Academy Awards. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Bullock’s appearance was interpreted by some as evidence that she might have had cheek implants or fillers. There were plenty of tweets about it at the time.

According to an archived version of a 2018 InStyle interview, Bullock said she was actually dealing with allergies, which caused her facial swelling.

She’s Opened Up About How Speculation Affects Her Self-Image

Despite Bullock’s superstar status, she acknowledged that she is still self-conscious about how she looks, especially when she’s at high-profile events. The probing comments directed at her apparently intensify her lack of self-assurance. Such observations, even when written or uttered innocently, can be painful.

She said, “I am affected by it because I don’t feel confident when I dress up and go on the red carpet. I’m not that person who knows how to work it. I try to channel Beyoncé. I do the same pose every time. I try not to dread that kind of stuff, but I do get incensed and think, ‘How can they write this?””

Bullock was chosen in 2015 as People’s World’s Most Beautiful Woman. That honor (which she appreciated but regarded as lighthearted fun) gave her the opportunity to express her philosophy of what true beauty really is. In an industry that places a very high premium on youth and beauty, Bullock’s opinion on the subject is refreshing, realistic, and compassionate.

Closeup of Sandra Bullock in black dress with blunt bangs
Bullock on the red carpet in September of 2015. (Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

She explained it this way: “Real beauty is quiet. Especially in this town, it’s just so hard not to say, ‘Oh, I need to look like that,’” she said. “No, be a good person, be a good mom, do a good job with the lunch, let someone cut in front of you who looks like they’re in a bigger hurry. The people I find most beautiful are the ones who aren’t trying.”

Bullock also shared a sweet moment she had with her little boy, Louis, that put the whole discussion of beauty into perspective. When she was putting him to bed one night, he wondered aloud why she has wrinkles. Bullock told him they’re from laughing a lot. His reply cut straight to the core of the matter: “You’re not old, you’re just happy.”

Maybe It’s Time To Let Female Celebrities Make Their Own Beauty Decisions Without Constant Criticism

Perhaps all of us should emulate Sandra Bullock’s attitude about true feminine loveliness. It isn’t about striving incessantly for superficial perfection. That’s a throwback to the old days when a woman’s looks, in some people’s opinion, superseded her talent or character.

Midlife women in and out of Hollywood are finding empowerment in freeing themselves from society’s narrow expectations about how they should appear. Some are joyfully letting their hair get gray. Their liberation from archaic rules that have been imposed on them for decades is wonderful.

We should stop sniping, picking them apart, and wanting them to look eternally 25 years old. Instead, let’s applaud their triumphant expressions of selfhood. That is what beauty—the genuine kind—is all about.

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