The movie “Dirty Dancing” will have you thinking nobody puts a baby in a corner, but according to Jennifer Grey, her rhinoplasty did the job. Since the release of the popular romantic dance movie, Jennifer has not made much of an appearance on the Hollywood scene. Try as she might, she seems to struggle to find a job. So, she followed some advice from her mother, which she instantly regretted. Now, the famous line that Patrick Swayze says seemed like a prediction of her career.
A memoir by Jennifer Grey
The star of Dirty Dancing, Jennifer Grey is 62 years old. Daughter of Oscar-winning actor Joel Grey and singer-actress Jo Wilder, she rose to fame overnight with the sensation, Dirty Dancing. Many people have wondered where she disappeared for so many years when in reality she was trying her best to land another job.
In an effort to have her story heard, Jennifer wrote a memoir of her life, which was released earlier this year, in May. Titled, “Out of the corner,” she explains how she tried and tried to get another part in another movie, but failed. Additionally, she talks about her rhinoplasty procedures, and how it resulted in the loss of her identity.
Jennifer Grey was starting to feel like her chances of acting again were slipping away. In an interview with The New York Times, she mentioned how she didn’t see an issue with her nose but understood it was the world’s twisted idea of beauty. “There didn’t seem to be a surplus of parts for actresses who looked like me,” said Jennifer. “My so-called ‘problem’ wasn’t really a problem for me, but since it seemed to be a problem for other people, and it didn’t appear to be going away anytime soon, by default it became my problem. It was as plain as the nose on my face.”
Then, her mother suggested she get her nose fixed up a bit, to ensure she got more roles. Although, she reassured the reporter that the suggestion came from a place of love, not judgment. “She loves me, loved me, always has, and she was pragmatic because she was saying, ‘Guess what? It’s too hard to cast you. Make it easier for them,’” Jennifer said. “And then I did and she was right. it wasn’t like, ‘You’re not pretty.’ It’s like, ‘Guess what? If you don’t want to be an actor, okay. But if you wanna be an actor…’”
Following in her parent’s footsteps
This was a big decision for Jennifer Grey to make. Particularly because she was also morally against nose jobs in general, noting that her parents each had their own nose job. However, in the 1950s, that was the normalized standard. “I understand it was the 50s, I understand they were assimilating,” she said. “I understood that you had to change your name and you had to do certain things, and it was just normalized, right? You can’t be gay, you can’t be Jewish, you know, and you can’t look Jewish. You’re just trying to fit into whatever is the group think.”
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Loss of identity
Jennifer Grey had her rhinoplasty surgery, and the first one did not go so well. It was only meant to fine-tune the tip of her nose, but the result was unbearable for Jennifer. When she finally saw herself for the first time after the surgery, she described it as if she was hallucinating. “I couldn’t make sense of what I was seeing,” she wrote in her memoir. “I knew something bad had happened.” She added, “It was like I was on mushrooms, having a bad hallucinogenic trip.”
She had a second surgery, she felt as though her identity had been stripped. Her nose was her signature feature, and her new nose did not meet those standards. “It seemed that I had committed an unforgivable crime: willfully stripping away the only thing that made me special,” she wrote.
Furthermore, she felt as though her identity was stripped. “It felt anonymous or like being in a witness protection program,” she said. “It was the worst nose job ever. I’ll always be the former famous actress with a nose job that no one recognizes.”
Unrecognizable Jennifer Grey
Lastly, Jennifer Grey described an incident in The Times where an airline attendant did not recognize her. Allegedly, when they looked at her driver’s license, they commented on her name referencing the movie, dirty Dancing. Then Jennifer said, “Actually, it is me,” the airline attendant reportedly said, “‘I’ve seen ‘Dirty Dancing a dozen times. I know Jennifer Grey. And you are not her.’”
“That was the first time I had gone out in public,” she explained to The Times. “And it became the thing, the idea of being completely invisible, from one day to the next. In the world’s eyes, I was no longer me. And the weird thing was that thing that I resisted my whole life, and the thing I was so upset with my mother for always telling me I should do my nose.”
- “Jennifer Grey From ‘Dirty Dancing’ Opens Up About Her Rhinoplasty Decision In Her Memoir. Here’s What To Know.” Womens Health. Corin Miller. April 19, 2022.
- “‘Dirty Dancing’ star Jennifer Grey said it felt like she ‘committed an unforgivable crime’ when she changed her nose.” Insider. Victoria Montalti. 2022.
- “Jennifer Grey Reveals She Felt Invisible After Facial Surgery Made Her ‘Anonymous’.” Apost. December 14, 2021.