September 20, 1995
From Correspondent Rhonda Rowland
ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Plastic surgery is becoming more and more popular, especially as the baby boomers hit middle age. But usually if someone elects to have cosmetic surgery, it might be a face lift or a nose job. None of that was enough for Cindy Jackson.
Jackson began her mission to physically remake herself in 1988. And remake herself, she has. She had her upper and lower eyes done, her lower eyes redone, two nose jobs, three chemical peels, a fat transfer into her face from her buttocks, a fat transfer into her lips, nose and mouth lines, as well as dermabrasion over most of her face. She's had three face lifts and jaw line liposuction.
And still, Jackson wasn't satisfied. Surgeons also gave her fuller lips, but she didn't stop with her face. She says she then had "liposuction from my waist to my knees, ultrasonic liposuction to my inner thighs and love handles, and unless I'm leaving something out, that's it."
But that wasn't it. Jackson flew from London to Atlanta to get her teeth ... reshaped. It was to be her 20th cosmetic procedure. She's 39 years old and, so far, has spent $25,000 on her surgeries.
So why has Jackson gone to such extreme lengths to change her appearance? "I wanted to be beautiful. I was the ugly duckling that never got chosen for cheerleader, never got elected homecoming queen." And after 20 episodes under the knife, how does she feel when she sees the "former" Cindy Jackson? "I don't identify with that person now," she says.
Did she like anything about her former self? "That brain inside," she says, pointing to a picture of her former self. "That's fine, but her brain and her ingenuity this person had to use to self- destruct; she killed herself so this person could live."
Psychiatrist Beth Seelig says that a person's self-esteem and happiness should be based on more than just how they look. "I think it's pretty sad if you do have to go through multiple surgical procedures in order to feel OK with yourself," Seelig says.
But Jackson says she doesn't concern herself with what other people think. Instead, she's using what she's learned to help other women. She started the Cosmetic Surgery Network at Highgate Hospital in London. She answers an average of 500 letters a week. "They want to know how much it costs. They want to know about the pain. The send pictures of themselves, (asking) what would I suggest for them."
And after 20 plastic surgeries, has Jackson accomplished her goal? "It's made me happy. I never cease to be thrilled with the way things are going for me. What can I say? I am the same person inside, but I am now getting the things out of life that I always wanted."
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