These days, it seems plumping one’s lips with a syringe full of filler is as routine as teeth whitening and as easy to fit into your lunch break as a shellac manicure.
Scroll through Instagram and you’d be forgiven for thinking our obsession with pouting perfection is a recent phenomenon. In fact, it supersedes the millennial era, with the American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ 2016 report highlighting an increase of 50% in lip augmentations for 18 to 55-plus-year-olds between 2000 and 2016.
Angelina Jolie certainly piqued our interest (and envy) for the naturally plump lip in 2000 with the release of Girl, Interrupted, but it was 16 years later that one 17-year-old reality TV star truly cemented the world’s burgeoning obsession with augmentation.
In May 2015, a preview episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians aired, in which Khloé Kardashian asked her youngest sister, Kylie Jenner (aged 17 at the time), about her enhanced lips. As a result, Google searches for lip fillers peaked globally, and one London clinic reported a 70% rise in enquiries over the next 24 hours.
Jenner had previously sworn her lips were simply a make-up trick. But why? ‘I’m just not ready to talk to reporters about my lips yet’, she said. ‘People are so quick to judge me on everything.’ She makes a valid point – our social media culture and the anonymity it offers means we’re unashamedly quick to judge, call out or comment if someone – particularly another woman – has had ‘work done’.
Indeed, in this instance we did, but what was arguably more interesting was the admiration of those wishing to emulate the look; admiration that helped Jenner build an empire.