While Sue Sylvester, the “Glee” character played by 50-year old Jane Lynch, walks the halls of William McKinley High School like she’s pushing paparazzi out of her way on the red carpet, a newly-signed teen star of the show has reportedly undergone ant-aging procedures.
The contrast is startling but so is the story circulating about 18-year old Charice Pempengco, a viral vocal sensation who got her big break from Ellen Degeneres three years ago and will appear as foreign exchange student in the upcoming season of “Glee.”
Several news sources cited the Philippines-based agency ABS-CBN said that the singer got Botox and other anti-aging treatments a month before shooting the show. Publicist Liz Rosenberg stressed that Charice had the procedures to treat jaw pain rather than for cosmetic reasons.
“Clearly at l8 years old, having no lines or wrinkles, there would be no reason for her to have cosmetic Botox,” Rosenberg commented. “[S]he was experiencing jaw problems and that is a common treatment for that in the Philippines and even in the U.S.”
Of course, it’s cringe-worthy — albeit totally following the far-more-than-irritating trajectory of damaging beauty standards and youth obsession — to hear that a teenager had Botox. Of course, if Charice has indeed suffered from jaw pain, which can inhibit eating and speaking, then she should be treated so she can be well and continue on with the demands of her career.
The thing is, there’s not really any “of course” because the rest of the story as we know it is not that clear.
Celebrity cosmetic surgeon Vicki Belo told ABS-CBN TV that Charice underwent the treatments to make her face appear more narrow. US Magazine then reported that the Filipino singer’s representative denied those claims, saying that the only cosmetic alteration was having her hair colored.
You know Perez Hilton had to chime in to all the chatter about Charice. Under the headline “Charice Gets the Botox on Video!”, the celeb blogger wrote, “Somebody is lying! What is the world coming to?” with the footage of the in-office treatment from the Philippines station.
The sensationalized post does not accurately represent the video embedded in it. The clip is of Charice receiving Thermage treatment, not Botox. Botox is injected while Thermage uses this tool to transmit heat to deep layers of the skin. According to the product’s site, it is used for tightening and smoothing the skin.
“On the face, Thermage can treat sagging skin, loose jowls, lack of definition in the jaw line, sagging neck skin (‘turkey neck’), wrinkles and fine lines, and lack of definition in the lips. Around the eyes, Thermage can treat under eye bags, hooding, rough texture on the eyelids, wrinkles and fine lines, and other contributors to tired looking eyes. Elsewhere on the body, Thermage can treat wrinkled, crepey, sagging or bulging skin as well as the appearance of cellulite,” the website explains as conditions treatable with Thermage.
While Botox is most commonly used as and known as a wrinkle-filler, it has been approved to treat other medical conditions, including migraines and could also help relieve symptoms of overactive bladder syndrome, cerebral palsy, and excessive sweating .
The medical argument made by the singer’s publicist doesn’t exactly align with Charice’s doctor’s quote nor Charice’s own words, recorded in the same interview. According to Charice, her visit to the doctor was part of the preparations to “to look fresh on camera,” and that she is feeling “tremendous pressure.”
Here’s hoping most of this talk is just talk and that the young woman with so much vocal talent is not burdened by racist pressures to have a more narrow face or to erase any signs of her 18 whole years. And here’s hoping that Hollywood is not really, truly at the place where women who’ve barely biologically become women are already getting treated to go from the teen look to the tween look.
And finally, here’s hoping that, once the filming starts and Charice’s powerful voice fills the cameras and stages and eventually our televisions, all this sensationalized jaw-flapping (painful or not) quiets enough so we can concentrate on her talent, not the miniscule matters of her face.