Image: Bong Qiu Qiu / Instagram
Singaporean blogger Ang Chiew Ting, better known by her online monicker Bong Qiu Qiu, commented on a social media post in December that after seeing an old picture of herself, she realised she “almost forgot how I used to look like”.
The 28-year-old full-time blogger, known for sharing her bargain buys on online television show Budget Barbie on clicknetwork.tv, has had 10 cosmetic surgery procedures done to her face in the last four years.
When The Straits Times asked if she is bothered that she has problems recognising her former self, Ms Ang says she is unaffected and is happy with the way she looks now.
“I feel that, generally, I still look the same, except that I now have better make-up, better skin, better features – it is just an enhanced version of the old me. I don’t think I look vastly different, just prettier.”
Since her first nose job in 2012 – she went to Thailand on her own dime for an alarplasty (nostril narrowing) procedure – Ms Ang feels she has achieved what she set out to do when she started her plastic surgery journey.
“When I learnt how to use Photoshop, the things that I edited about myself, those have now all been done in real life through plastic surgery. Whatever I wanted to change about my face, I have done,” she says, adding that she knew as a teenager what she wanted to change.
Since her first procedure, she has travelled to South Korea annually for more plastic surgery, though these operations were sponsored by various clinics and medical concierge agencies. She says she is not obliged to write anything for these sponsorships, but “will always make it a point to share my experience with my readers”.
She does not know the exact cost of the procedures she has undergone, though she says the ones that involved recontouring her jawline and facial bones would have amounted to at least five digits in Singapore dollars.
In 2013, she had another nose job and full-face fat grafting. A bump on the bridge of her nose was filed off, an implant was inserted for a higher bridge and her nose tip was reconstructed and made more defined. The implants used for such procedures can be made of silicone, gortex or the patient’s own cartilage. Ms Ang has silicone implants.
Photos courtesy of Ang Chiew Ting (Bong Qiu Qiu)
For the fat-grafting procedure, fats were drawn from the back of her thighs and under her buttocks, then processed and injected into her forehead, laugh lines, cheeks and chin to plump up these areas and make her look younger.
Fat grafting can last for months, years or be permanent, depending on whether the grafted tissue gains a blood supply in the new location.
In 2014, Ms Ang returned to South Korea for a jawline reduction (also known as V-line surgery), zygoma (cheekbone) reduction, chin augmentation (the bone at her chin was reconstructed to make it more defined, no implant was used) and paranasal implants (implants were inserted in the areas on both sides of her nose to even out creases and laugh lines).
She says these procedures help to make her look “less masculine” and more youthful.
Her most recent operations were in November, when she went to South Korea for upper blepharoplasty (double-eyelid surgery), a face lift and double-chin liposuction. She also had slimming and firming facial injections and an injectable filler (that will last for up to two years) to her forehead.
Most facial fillers are made of materials which are absorbed by the body over time, such as collagen and hyaluronic acid, a type of sugar present in body tissues.
When asked if she thinks she has had too many surgical procedures, Ms Ang casually replies that she does not think so.
“I don’t think it was too much because whatever I did was what I have always wanted to do. I feel that people who have an addiction are those who keep adding things when they do not have realistic expectations. When there’s a small mistake or something they are not entirely satisfied with, that causes them to redo their surgery.”
After her 10 procedures, she says she is done with going under the knife and plans to maintain her looks only through Botox and fillers.
She is considering getting facial fillers that will last for 10 years after those she received last year wear off.
Ms Ang, who is married to photographer Joshua Tan, 43, with whom she has an 11-month-old daughter, says she would allow her child to go for surgery in the future should she want it.
“I’d respect her decision and let her go, but I wouldn’t help her pay for it. If you don’t like your face, then you should adjust it yourself.”
When asked how he feels about his wife’s different appearance, Mr Tan, whom she started dating before her procedures, says: “She has definitely improved her looks. Not that she looked bad before, but now, I can see that she loves her looks more.”
He admits to being “a little apprehensive” when she underwent jawline and bone procedures as those were major operations, but “she likes the results and she came out safe, so my worries were for naught. So long as they are safe, I have no violent objections”.
Asked if there is anything she misses about her old face, Ms Ang, whose nickname Bong Qiu Qiu was given by a friend, shares candidly that she sometimes misses being able to pick her nose comfortably.
“I miss being able to rub my nose really hard and dig my nose whichever way I want. Because of the implant, I’m more careful now.
“I can still dig my nose, I’ve mastered a way to do it with my pinky finger, but it is really not as ‘shiok’ as using my index finger. I really miss that sometimes.”
A version of this story was originally published in The Straits Times on February 18, 2016. For more stories like this, head to www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle.