How a Facebook Connection Prompted This Woman’s Major Makeover

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How a Facebook Connection Prompted This Woman’s Major Makeover featured image
Photographed by Roshaknie Hayes; Hair: Ammon Carver for Ammon Carver L’ANZA Healing Haircare Studio; Makeup: Rhona Samuels and Antonio Costa for Giorgio Armani Beauty

Gina Calabrese’s entire family—her mother, her father, grandparents, aunts and uncles—all share the same trait: The bags underneath their eyes. “It’s hereditary. All of them have them,” she says. “There was no magic eye cream, diet, facial or laser treatment that could correct them.”

A common problem for a lot of people, but one that weighed heavily on Calabrese. “I spent years thinking about how different my life would be if I corrected my problem. I went through years of ridicule as a child, as an adolescent, and as an adult. I was so tired of hearing, ‘You look tired,’ ‘Are you alright?’ ‘Did you sleep last night?’ ‘Have you been crying?’ I really wanted confidence—for the world to see ME instead of this imperfection.”

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As luck would have it, right before she turned 39, Calabrese reconnected with a childhood friend, Sharon, via Facebook—a connection who had a link to a plastic surgeon. “Sharon and I grew up on the same block on Long Island. She was a staple of my childhood. I had never went for a consult with a plastic surgeon, but after reconnecting with Sharon, who is the wife of a plastic surgeon, I thought to myself, ‘This is a sign, it’s time.’”

The next steps: Calabrese made an appointment with Smithtown, NY, facial plastic surgeon James Marotta, MD. After discussing her options, they opted for an eyelift (upper and lower blepharoplasty) with fat-grafting, coupled with a TCA peel. “I was really hopeful and excited,” she says.

“Calabrese had a lower eyelid lift [blepharoplasty] paired with microfat transfer to the lower eyelids and cheeks,” explains Dr. Marotta. “She had significant fat pockets or ‘bags’ in the lower eyelids causing a tired look. She also had a lot of facial fat and volume loss, causing the face to look drawn and sallow. Following the procedures, she looks rejuvenated, rested and healthy.”

While Calabrese recalls that nothing really surprised her during the entire process, she does say she was pleasantly surprised by the level of interest the staff took in making sure she was OK, healing and comfortable post-surgery. “I guess the one thing I didn’t expect was the amount of time it would take for the bruising and swelling to go down.”

As far as the final outcome, Calabrese says she feels “outstanding, revived and renewed. At times, my mother and I look at my before-and-after pictures and we are blown away with the difference. We almost don’t recognize the person in my before picture.”

Calabrese’s advice for anyone considering plastic surgery to fix a problem that really plagues them: “Absolutely go for it! If it is something that is going to make you feel better, it is worth it.”

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