£1,800 for a bum job
By Diana Appleyard, Evening Standard
4 March 2003
Kelly Williams: big bottom made her life a misery
I always had disproportionately large hips, and diet and exercise simply made no difference. I did yoga, water aerobics, swam, used toning tables and had endless clay wraps, but nothing changed the size of my bottom. If I lost weight, it would fall off my stomach and my thighs, but my bottom remained as big as ever. My waist was a size 10, but my hips and bottom pushed my size up to 14, which meant that if I found jeans to fit me I could almost get another person into the waistband!
I was a classic case of the "does my bum look big in this?" and I drove my friends and family mad by going on about it. I was 14 or 15 when I first became conscious of the size of my bottom - it just seemed so much bigger than everyone else's. My mother and my sister also have big hips and big bottoms though, so it is probably genetic.
People would tell me it is lovely to be curvy, but I didn't see it that way - I always thought that everyone stared at me, and on holiday I would never be seen in a swimming costume without a sarong. I'd go to the edge of the swimming pool, then whip off the sarong at the last minute.
The problem wasn't just in my mind - I had real trouble getting clothes to fit, and while all my friends would be wearing little skirts, I'd be in black trousers with a long jacket to cover my rear end.
I had one defining moment when I realised I absolutely had to do something. It was a couple of years ago when I was on holiday in Spain, and I was dancing in a nightclub with a friend. A man, who was really drunk, came up to me and started pestering me for a dance. When I refused he eventually turned around and said: "OK then, big bum." I felt totally crushed and it almost ruined the holiday for me.
From the age of about 16 I started saying that I wanted to have liposuction, but I don't think my family thought I meant it. But I was serious. My body shape was really affecting my self-confidence.
Even so, I've always had boyfriends, and they didn't seem to mind the size of my bottom. I've always been very keen on clothes and fashion, and I studied costume design at the London College of Fashion. I have a strong visual and creative streak, and the way things look is very important to me.
When I was 20, I decided I had to do something about it, and I went to see a consultant in Harley Street. He told me that the operation would cost about £4,000 for a day procedure. I was horrified, as I don't have that kind of money. My parents would have helped out - my father is a regional sales manager and my mother is a wages clerk - but I wanted to pay for it myself. It was my choice, after all.
Then I saw an advert for a company called Surgeon and Safari, which operates from South Africa. They offer a two-week holiday combining plastic surgery with a safari afterwards to recuperate. I emailed them and found that the surgery and all the hospital costs came to just £1,800, with another £1,000 or so for flights and accommodation. I booked myself in immediately.
I also emailed the cosmetic surgeon, Dr Ricky van der Poel at the Rosebank Clinic, and we chatted about what I wanted. He said I should have realistic hopes - there was no way I was going to walk away with the derrière of Kylie. You can't choose the shape of the bottom you want, they just drain away the fat and then you have to diet and exercise to keep the contour firm.
I flew over to South Africa in June last year. I met Dr van der Poel on the first day. He drew lines on my bottom to map out where he was going to take the fat from, and told me what to expect.
The next day I had surgery under general anaesthetic. The surgeon made a puncture wound, and moved a small tube backward and forward, sucking out the fat.
Later the staff told me that two and a half litres of fat was removed from my bottom - far more than in most cases. I felt a bit embarrassed about that.
When I came to after the operation I was in agony. I was lying flat on my back in a very tight surgical stocking which encased me from my ankles to just under my chest, and I could hardly move. I felt as if I had been run over by a truck. I was in a lot of pain, and physically exhausted. However, the pain wore off quite quickly, and the next day I was able to walk out of hospital - very carefully.
When I first looked at my shape the next day I was thrilled, because already my silhouette was much trimmer, even though Dr van der Poel said my bottom was still very swollen and bruised. I took painkillers and sleeping tablets for the first week or so, and after that the pain was not too great, except when I ran, then it felt like a muscle strain. I had to keep the surgical leggings on for almost three months, to support the skin as it reconnects to the tissue. I wore loose clothing for this time and then, gradually, I took the leggings off at night and then for good.
By September nearly all the swelling had gone and I was thrilled at how successful it had been. I lost at least three inches from each side of my bottom, and my bottom size fell from 14 to 10. I went out and bought an expensive pair of size 10 Earl jeans to celebrate, and I am thrilled at how good I look in clothes. Everyone has noticed, and I feel so much more confident.
I've even started wearing bikinis, which I would never have done before. All I have to show from the operation are two small puncture holes - less than half a centimetre at the top of each buttock where the fat was drained out, and my skin looks smooth and normal.
Fat cannot regenerate itself so the weight will stay off, but I do have to be sensible and watch what I eat and exercise to keep everything toned.
I'm now in a new relationship with a man I first went out with three years ago - he runs his own catering company, and he knows how obsessed I was with the size of my bottom. He thinks the operation was well worth the money. He thinks I look great. I would say to anyone thinking of having the operation to go and do it, as it will make you feel so much better about yourself. I may not have the bottom of Kylie, but at last I have a bottom I am proud of.