Lauren Conrad on Heidi Montag's Surgery: 'It's a Look'

Conrad calls former co-star's 10 plastic surgery procedures "a personal choice."

January 18, 2010, 6:47 PM

Feb. 3, 2010— -- Lauren Conrad was reluctant to comment on her former best friend and co-star Heidi Montag's 10 plastic surgery procedures, but said that despite the pressures put on young women in Hollywood, she won't be going under the knife anytime soon.

When asked on "Good Morning America" today if she'd had or considered plastic surgery, the 24-year-old author and fashion designer laughed "not so far, no."

"The Hills" star Montag, 23, revealed a "tweaked" face and body on the cover of People magazine, the result of 10 procedures in one day.

When asked what her reaction was when she saw the magazine, Conrad paused a moment and said, "It's a look."

"I think it's a personal choice," she said. "Everybody's different. ... Everybody needs to do what's good for them."

Conrad, 24, left the "Hills" after five seasons, and is now focusing on her fashion line at Kohl's and her work as an author of young adult books. Her first book "L.A. Candy" was a New York Times best-seller, and her second novel is called "Sweet Little Lies." (CLICK HERE to read an excerpt of the book.)

The most difficult part of finding celebrity at such a young age was "being under such harsh criticism at that age. You're already so hard on yourself. ... You're trying to figure out who you are."

Some of those experiences are reflected in "Sweet Little Lies," which looks at the pitfalls of reality fame.

For Montag, undergoing plastic surgery was a career move as she works to turn her own reality fame into a successful Hollywood career, but critics accused her of being addicted to the knife.

"I would say that none of those people know me at all," Montag told ABC News in January. "And that's just a judgment. I'm not addicted."

"The Hills" star said she had surgeries done three years ago as well, and that the intervening procedure-free time proved she was not addicted.

"If you're addicted to something, you have to do it all the time, not once every couple years, if even," she said.

Beauty on the Inside ... and Out

Montag's surgeon, Dr. Frank Ryan, said many young people get cosmetic surgery, and that it is a popular elective surgery in Hollywood.

Although critics have focused on the number of procedures Montag underwent, Ryan argued they weren't major facial and body procedures.

"I disagree that it is that much plastic surgery," Ryan said. "These are little tweaks and things we did. ... These were all kind of small things."

Some hospitals, such as Manhattan Eye and Ear and some medical associations, have specific recommendations against allowing elective plastic surgeries to last more than six hours.

"You're pushing the envelope there definitely, from a medical point of view, where you're going to set up complications," said Dr. Thomas Romo, a plastic surgeon at Lenox Hill Hospital. "And that's irresponsible from a medical point of view. ... My ethics would say that you don't put your patient at that risk."

Romo said that statistics show the risks of complications rise after a surgical patient has been under anesthetics for more than six hours. "After seven hours, you're written up at our hospital," he said.

Juliette Harris, a spokeswoman for Ryan, responded in a statement, "Dr. Frank Ryan adamantly refutes the idea that the decision to perform Ms. Montag's procedures were in any way unethical or unsafe. Dr. Ryan is one of the most qualified plastic surgeons in the country. Although the media created controversy may make for an 'interesting' story, and viewers might disagree with Ms. Montags choices, the safety or propriety of the surgery are not and should not be in question."

Despite criticism from fans who said she looked like a "Barbie," Montag said she likes her new look.

"I hope I get my own Barbie one day," Montag said. But she said she doesn't feel like a Barbie.

"I think I just look like a different, improved version of myself," she said.

Montag said she wanted her admirers to know that beauty is on the inside but seemed to realize how her surgeries could undercut that message.

"I'm also in a different industry than they are," she said. "You know, I'm in a limelight. I'm in a different industry. And I have to do things that are going to make me happy at the end of the day. I'm living in my skin, and I look in the mirror and it's my career, my life.

"You only have one, so I want to take advantage of everything and be the best me in and out every way," she said.Montag is also embarking on a new career as a pop star. The title of her debut CD is "Superficial."

She said she's gone broke pouring her life savings into an independently produced music album.

ABC News' Alisha Davis contributed to this report.Click here to return to the "Good Morning America" Web site.

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