Yes, I'm a 26-Year-Old With Botox—No, I'm Not an Image-Obsessed Princess



My first impression of the "type of woman" who would get Botox came from an episode of The Real Housewives of New York. In season one, we follow housewife Ramona Singer—who is portrayed as being superficial, high-society, and obsessed with youth—into the doctor's office to get a little prick here and there to zap the wrinkles on her forehead and on either side of her eyes. Ramona had long blonde hair and wide brown eyes, and her gaze was deemed the creepiest on reality TV since her pupils were the only part of her face that could actually move. It was the mid-2000s when this episode aired, a time when plastic surgery and injectibles were on an exponential rise but still considered extremely taboo in mainstream culture. I was 16 at the time and watched in pure contempt of Ramona's superficiality. People who got Botox had their priorities all out of whack, I decided. Couldn't people just let themselves age gracefully anymore? Shouldn't the goal be to feel young instead of look young? Easy for someone with no wrinkles to say…

Fast-forward nine years. I was 25 and had hopped tentatively aboard the train of body-altering beauty procedures. I'd bleached my hair blonde and dabbled in spray tans and eyelash extensions. But so far, I had yet to let anyone stick me with any needles, still hanging on to some of that residual judgment that those who did went "too far." A couple years prior, I'd had a cosmetic dermatologist evaluate my 22-year-old face for an article about how much Botox people of different ages really "need." I'd never been self-conscious about looking wrinkly, so when she told me that the vertical lines between my brows (my "angry 11s"—a product of two decades of frowning), were starting to show and that I might benefit from coming in once a year for $300 worth of preventative Botox, I was genuinely offended. I was 22! I did not have wrinkles. Having someone tell me I "needed" Botox put me off of it even more. 

For years, I stood by that resolution. Every so often, an invitation to go to an "injectables" party in Beverly Hills would cross my desk—I'd picture Real Housewives and pass. A friend of a friend got a job at a local medispa and told me if I ever wanted Botox, she could give me her friends-and-family discount. Again, I told myself that I wasn't that old, I wasn't that superficial, and it wasn't for me.