Imitation as Flattery? Not Always!

Imitation may be fine for fashion, but it can be troublesome in other arenas.

Imitation is human nature. Often without our consciously realizing it, we copy looks we see in magazines, on television, and in the general popular culture around us. It’s how trends are born. Those who determine trends—the runway artists, if you will—know many seasons ahead of the rest of us what we’re all going to be wearing. They know it because they decide it.

Imitation may be fine for fashion, but it can be troublesome in other arenas. You know the saying imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? The original saying was actually imitation is a sort of artless form of flattery. I bring this up because there’s a troubling contingent of women out there who go seeking fillers and Botox and brow-lifts and nose jobs and—well, you name it—not to upkeep or rejuvenate their looks but because they’re trying to look like someone else. Just think: Angelina Jolie spawned a thousand plumped-up lips around the world. Kim Kardashian’s ample derrière likely gave rise to a bizarre new underground procedure: extreme-size butt implants.

I can’t explain the psychology. That’s not my field. But I can say as a registered nurse and cosmetic dermatology provider that trying to recreate someone else’s look is usually a bad idea. Hairstyles? Fine. Faces? Not so much. It just doesn’t translate. I look at faces all day long, and I see beauty in every one of them. I really do. Each of our faces is an original composition. We’re the most incredible art gallery. I like being a bit of a curator to the artworks, taking good care of them, fighting damage, restoring them to their best condition. It is my hope that those who come to me, come knowing that they don’t need to try to look like someone else to be beautiful. They’re already unique works of fine art.