Bullied on Facebook, Teen, 13, Gets Nose Job

Quarter of doctor's nose jobs are for teens; bullying "frequently" the cause.

September 22, 2011, 2:37 PM

Oct. 11, 2011— -- Nicolette Taylor was about to go under the knife at a clinic in New York City. When she awoke, she would have a new nose.

"It's this side. Yeah, over here, it like, hangs," she said, indicating what she didn't like about her current one.

Taylor was 13 years old and starting eighth grade in her town on Long Island, N.Y. With the help and support of her parents, she decided to get a nose job after being bullied online.

"They went on Facebook, and they started posting, 'Hey big nose,'" said Maria Taylor, Nicolette's mother, in an interview with "Nightline" correspondent JuJu Chang. "It happened probably about five times that week. ... I came in when she was on the phone with the boy, and I took the phone from her, and I said, 'Listen, you need to take them off Facebook.' I was crazy, crazy."

What made her "crazy" was seeing Nicolette, otherwise a "tough" girl, sobbing.

"I was like, 'If this is really hurting her like this, then she has to be feeling insecure and horrible about herself,'" Maria Taylor said.

Nicolette knew getting teased was part of adolescence. What she couldn't take was how Facebook magnified it.

"Everyone could see it," she said. "All my friends could see it, all my new friends, and I didn't want them saying things. Because gossip goes around, and it really hurts."

Nicolette has always been popular and active. She broke her nose as a toddler but still worked as a child model, appearing in magazines and catalogs. She broke it again when she was eight, leaving it with a crooked bump on the side.

"It hangs crooked, and when I smile the tip of my nose kind of goes down like an arrow," she said. "It kind of bothers me."

Maria Taylor had told Nicolette she could get a nose job when she was 18. She changed her mind when the Facebook teasing began.

"That made me pick up the phone and make an appointment for a consultation," she said.

Nicolette is the youngest patient Dr. Sam Rizk has performed a rhinoplasty on. A quarter of his nose jobs are performed on teens.

Bullying is a factor "quite frequently," he said.

Almost 250,000 teens had cosmetic surgery in 2010, according to the American Association of Plastic Surgeons. There are no official age minimums.

Being physically mature enough for surgery is one thing -- emotional maturity is another. Dr. Richard Gallagher, a child psychologist, said parents should consider giving their kids coping skills to deal with a bully's taunts.

"I think it is helpful for kids to learn to stand up for themselves. You know, 'That's not true. I don't care what you think about my nose, I'm perfectly happy with it.' I may be tall, short, et cetera. I'm not bad because of that," he said.

Dr. Gallagher acknowledged the lasting damage bullying can do to a child's psyche. He said kids should stay off all social media until age 15. According to Consumer Reports, 7 million kids under 13 are on Facebook.

A week after Nicolette's surgery, she and her parents returned to Rizk's office. He showed them a photo of Nicolette's old nose.

"Oh my God!" Maria Taylor said.

"Ew!" said Nicolette.

"When I take the kid's cast off and I see when they first look in the mirror, it's like delivering a baby," Rizk said. "It's that feeling that you can't explain. They're so happy. Sometimes they cry. Sometimes the parents cry. And that gives me a great amount of satisfaction. I love my job."

As he removed the cast, Maria couldn't contain her excitement.

"Oh my God, Nicolette! Oh my God! Oh my God!" she said.

"Oh my God, it's so pretty!" Nicolette agreed.

Nicolette's dad, Rob Taylor, said this was an example of parents' natural wish to do everything they can for their kids.

"You send them to a good school, you'd buy them shoes," he said. "You'd get them braces, which we did. It's that kind of thing."

Since her surgery, Nicolette has started school and has even made the cheerleading team. She said she knew bullying might happen again, but now that she felt better about her appearance, she didn't care.

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