Can a 'Star' Be Addicted to Reality TV?

Nicknamed the "ultimate reality whore" on PerezHilton.com, Danish actress Brigitte Nielsen is appearing on a month-long reality television show to let the world see her go under the knife every week for a different cosmetic operation.

Whether one believes that Nielsen has gone too far, Kimberly Speight Nordyke, a reporter for the Hollywood Reporter, thinks that the appetite for such outrageous reality shows will continue to grow and that celebrities will meet the demand.

"Back in the days of 'I Love Lucy,' TV shows couldn't even show people sleeping in the same bed together," Nordyke told ABCNEWS.com. "But as time passes, people get used to seeing one thing, and then say, 'let's push it a little farther.' Whatever someone is willing to watch will be aired. Brigitte Nielsen's plastic surgery reality show is something that's going to get attention and I'm sure there will be curious people tuning in. Who knows where we'll end up in five years?"

As celebrities age, Nordyke continued, they often make career changes to refresh their fame and popularity. Some people will do whatever it takes — including public plastic surgery.

An actress in several films, including "Rocky IV," and later married to and divorced from Sylvester Stallone, Nielsen is now literally and figuratively remaking her image. While allowing the world to see her cast as herself again without the mask of fictional characters, she is also letting the fans witness her physical transformation.

The plastic surgery show is far from Nielsen's first dip into the world of reality television. She appeared on VH1's "The Surreal Life" in 2004 and later began dating rapper and co-star Flava Flav. This year, VH1 cast her in "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew," where she revealed her alcohol addiction and struggle to recover.

"Nielsen is one of those stars who made it by being on TV and playing herself for a career," Nordyke said. "And so did Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton after 'The Simple Life.' That's part of the appeal. You're putting yourself out there, and you're getting new fans and new viewers. For Nielsen, I think this plastic surgery show is the next evolution of her time on TV. A lot of these celebrities were previously on hit TV shows or made hit records, but those days may have passed. Reality TV becomes very lucrative as a second career."

Dr. Jennifer Walden, a New York plastic surgeon, said that older television stars feel the need to keep up with their younger counterparts by maintaining their looks. And, in the minds of many celebrities, that requires cosmetic surgery.

"Peoples' judgment goes out the window when they fear their career will go out the window with age," Walden told ABCNEWS.com. "A lot of them have body dysmorphic disorder, which is a psychiatric disorder. And with every junkie patient, there's a doctor out there who might not be practicing within the bounds of ethics to do yet another procedure. But it's a cash-driven business, so doctors will do the surgery."

Examples of celebrities with a propensity for multiple plastic surgeries include actress and comedian Joan Rivers, known previously for mocking her own unattractiveness, rock musician and actress Courtney Love, and wealthy socialite Jocelyn Wildenstein, who gained fame and the title "Cat Woman" after repeated operations.

As extreme makeover shows became more popular, people will gravitate toward series like Nielsen's plastic surgery reality television, Walden said.

"We're going to see more shows like this with more angles," she said. "I think we're going to keep seeing them for a long time to come."

But these reality shows only allow viewers to see patients in the first two months after surgery, when they are still in a state of euphoria because of their new looks.

Therefore, Walden said, they are incomplete representations of reality.

-- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 5351098. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 5351098. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 5351098. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 5351098. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 5351098. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 5351098.
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...