Julie Chen blames discrimination for her decision to have her eyes widened. Chen says she was told that she would never work at an anchor desk because of her “Asian eyes.”
Chen says the incident happened 25 years ago when she worked as an anchor for a Dayton, Ohio, television station. As reported by Business Insider, she revealed the shocking exchange on CBS’s The Talk.
The problem started when Chen asked her news director if she could fill in at the anchor desk. The holidays were approaching, and Chen thought it was the perfect opportunity to gain experience.
According to her account, the news director made several painful statements about her race. He told her that she would “never be on [the] anchor desk” as she was Asian.
He told her that viewers would not relate to her as Dayton had a very small Asian community. The news director also criticized her appearance, stating that her eyes made her “look disinterested and bored.”
Unfortunately, the discrimination did not stop when Chen tried to leave the station. She eventually contacted an agent to help her find employment.
One agent blatantly refused to represent her unless she had a surgery to make her eyes appear larger.
Julie Chen eventually had the surgery. She had work done to her eyes and nose, which gave her a completely different look.
She says the decision helped her launch her successful career. However, she expressed disappointment that racism and discrimination led to her decision.
As reported by Hollywood Life, Chen sometimes questions whether she made the right decision when she “[gave] in to the man.” Still, she says she has no regrets:
“I did it. I moved on. No one’s more proud of being Chinese than I am.”
During the confession, Chen revealed before and after pictures, which punctuated the dramatic change. Her entire face appears to have transformed.
Julie Chen was not entirely comfortable sharing her story. However, she felt it was important.