‘Modern Family’ Star Shares Traumatic Struggle With Plastic Surgery, Male Body Image

Reid Ewing pens first-person essay on massive insecurities, painful lengths he went to seeking physical perfection

Reid Ewing of 'Modern Family'

“Modern Family” actor Reid Ewing has opened up about his agonizing struggle with body image and plastic surgery addiction in a candid first-person essay.

Ewing, who plays love interest to Sarah Hyland and punchline target for Emmy winners Julie Bowen and Ty Burrell on the ABC sitcom, said he’s had numerous botched surgical procedures including cheekbone implants, a dislodged chin implant and injectable fillers like Botox all in order to “look like Brad Pitt.”

Writing for Huffington Post’s Healthy Living vertical, Ewing detailed how he moved to Los Angeles in 2008 “to become an actor and had very few, if any, friends. I’d sit alone in my apartment and take pictures of myself from every angle, analyzing every feature. After a few years of doing this, one day I decided I had to get cosmetic surgery.”

A deep-seated insecurity, on top of  total isolation, led Ewing to the beginnings of body dysmorphic disorder.

“‘No one is allowed to be this ugly,’ I thought. ‘It’s unacceptable.’ … when I was 19-years-old, I made my first appointment to meet with a cosmetic surgeon. I genuinely believed if I had one procedure I would suddenly look like Brad Pitt,” he wrote.

His first surgeon conducted a thoughtful consultation, Ewing said, only to be “curt and uninterested” the day of the procedure, which was an inserting of cheekbone implants:

Something I was not told ahead of time was that I would have to wear a full facial mask for two weeks. Afraid someone would find out I had work done, I took my dog and some supplies, left Los Angeles, and headed to Joshua Tree…After all the swelling finally went down, the results were horrendous. The lower half of my cheeks were as hollow as a corpse’s, which, I know, is the opposite of what you’d expect, as they are called cheek implants. They would be more aptly called cheekbone implants.

I went back to the doctor several times in a frenzy, but he kept refusing to operate on me for another six months, saying I would eventually get used to the change. I couldn’t let anyone see me like this, so I stayed in complete isolation. When I went out, people on the street would stare at me, and when I visited my parents they thought I had contracted some illness.

From there, Ewing sought a corrective chin implant that wound up moving “easily” across the lower half of his face. By the time he was 20, and on the set of “Modern Family,” the actor was “experimenting with less-noticeable changes to my face, like injectable fillers and fat transfers. None of them last very long or are worth the money.”

Ewing, who also starred in Colin Farrell‘s 2011 remake of “Fright Night,” underscores a common thread across the four different surgeons who helped him in his ill-conceived facial reconstruction: zero psychological evaluation.

“Not one had mental health screenings in place for their patients, except for asking if I had a history of depression, which I said I did, and that was that. My history with eating disorders and the cases of obsessive compulsive disorder in my family never came up. None of the doctors suggested I consult a psychologist for what was clearly a psychological issue rather than a cosmetic one or warn me about the potential for addiction,” he wrote.

Ewing said looking back on the experience now he’s content with the way he looked in 2008, and “didn’t need the surgeries at all.” He’s currently attending in college in Utah, according to the post.