Have you ever been watching the local news and thought the anchor looked like another anchor you’ve seen before on another network? If so, you’re probably not too far off. As reported on by RACKED, there’s a common look requested by many news producers for their anchors: an “authentic” look with no “distracting” features.
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In this case, Mark (his name was changed by RACKED for the story) was a college sophomore and intern at a local television station in a medium-sized city in the South. To his surprise (and shock), his boss told him to consider plastic surgery because his ears stuck out too much.
“One of the first things he said was, ‘Oh, your ears are a big distraction. You should think about getting them pinned back.’ He said it to me like it was nothing else. I think when someone tells you to change your body like that, you expect it to be a serious conversation. But he was so casual about it.”
The nonchalant nature of this “advice” is what drives speculation that this is a pretty common occurrence in the news world. We also know that producers regularly hire image coaches to weigh in on each anchor’s appearance from their facial features and makeup to their hair and clothes. Executives are constantly critiquing their employees’ appearances to make sure their station has the competitive edge. Sometimes, as in Mark’s case, it goes as far as suggesting the anchor get plastic surgery to correct a feature that stands out too much and diverts the viewer’s attention.
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“I frequently do consultations with news anchors and people in the news profession across local, national and international outlets,” says New York plastic surgeon Douglas Monasebian, MD. “Their personalities are usually warm and their physical features must match. The ‘standard’ look is usually chiseled features, nice hair and pretty teeth—no discernible accents.”
Dr. Monasebian says flawed skin and facial features that aren’t proportionate (large noses, small lips, big ears) are some of the most common things labeled a “distraction” in the news world. Local TV news stations even conduct focus group research to get a glimpse into the minds of viewers and their preferences, including thoughts on an anchor’s hair, makeup and wardrobe.
New York facial plastic surgeon Lee Ann Klausner, MD, agrees that attractiveness and proportional features are in high demand, but says there is far greater ethnic diversity in the industry than the typical blond-haired, blue-eyed local anchor woman. “For example, there is a male local news reporter in New York who wears dreadlocks. There is a female local newscaster that has a retro ’80s punkish hairstyle. I think this is something new we’re seeing that shows some interest in breaking from the ‘standard’ look.”