Charlie King: TOWIE star’s appeal to MPs after body dysmorphia ‘desperation’ over botched nose job | Ents & Arts News

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A reality TV star has called for more mental health support for people undergoing cosmetic procedures as he described going ‘to the bottom of despair’ after his nose surgery went wrong.

The Only Way is Essex star Charlie King has described how his career took a ‘hitchhiker’ after his cosmetic surgery didn’t go as planned.

The 36-year-old star appeared before MPs on the health and social care committee to share her experience with body dysmorphic disorder.

He said he became ‘obsessed’ with his nose during lockdown and booked for an operation which ‘went wrong’.

He thinks he might not even have had the surgery if there were better mental health support for people undergoing cosmetic procedures.

He told MPs he was bullied at school and also ‘struggled with his sexuality for years’.

“I had spent many years in my teens and 20s with internal turmoil and a struggle with my own identity, so it was quite difficult.

“One of the things I could control was my image.”

Its appearance follows research by the committee which suggested that four in five people (80%) who took part in an online survey believe that body image has an impact on mental health.

Mental Health Minister Gillian Keegan said: “Poor body image can and will affect most of us at some point in our lives.

“And it’s a risk factor for mental health problems.”

After his appearance, Mr King told the Sky News Daily podcast he didn’t think he was ‘necessarily destined to be a reality TV star’, but was ‘supposed to have some form of profile public to share this journey”.

He said The Only Way Is Essex was the first of its kind in the scripted reality genre. “It was Instagram before Instagram was even really a thing, but it was definitely a way of representing a certain lifestyle, a certain aesthetic…

“Then obviously it turned into social media and social media following and then all this needing to show you in a certain light, whether it’s, you know, six-pack bodies or lips and extensions improved on the hair or whatever, it became all of that.

“And if you weren’t comfortable or you were there that day like me, you can’t help but be almost sucked in because you feel like that’s what you have to be, because those were the guys who got all the jobs.

“They seemed to be the ones getting the most fans and the campaigns. And then you start thinking, ‘well, I gotta raise the bar here, I gotta play ball’.”

He told the podcast that he didn’t realize, at first, that he had body dysmorphia, but he knew he felt “misfit.”

‘I am ugly’

He said he was bullied growing up at his all-boys school and that during the COVID pandemic lockdown the suppressed emotions were strong.

“I spent so much time on the phone looking at social media. And then the thing that started to come to mind was that I’m ugly. I feel so ugly that I don’t want to post anything .

“And I became obsessed with it. And it’s unfortunately part of the condition of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and it’s part of my nature, which I hate now.

“I don’t know why I still need validation, but…I want to try to stress to people and ministers and authorities that this is a mental health issue. It stems from the anxiety It is a change in the chemicals in the brain.

“It’s something that’s more than just looks. And there needs to be more due diligence around it.”

He told the committee that he went to see a plastic surgeon about having his nose modified which was broken as a child. The surgeon agreed to do the work and told him “we can improve this”.

But it didn’t go as planned and while awaiting a second operation, he was sent to the “depths of despair”.

Ms Gillian Keegan added: “Eating disorders in particular are something we’ve seen a massive increase in demand for, particularly among young people.

“One of the things we’ll be focusing on is trying to expand services as quickly as possible to meet the needs, because we know we’re not meeting all the demand.

She added: “As a society we have changed a lot in terms of how we talk about mental health, how social media impacts our mental health and what we need to do about it.

“Being much more open about our mental health (has led to) an explosion in demand. And we’re really racing to try to maintain that capacity.”

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