Julie Chen thanked fans for support after she revealed on national television that she underwent plastic surgery after becoming insecure about her look and experiencing what she called racism over her Chinese heritage.
The 43-year-old TV personality and "Big Brother" host recently talked about it on the CBS show "The Talk," in which she serves as a co-host, as part of a current feature in which the show's stars reveal secrets about themselves.
"Thanks for the Twitter love after I shared my plastic surgery secret!" Chen tweeted on Thursday, Sept. 12.
Chen had said on the show that when she was 25 years old and working as a reporter at a TV station in Dayton, Ohio in the 1990s, she was told by her news director that she would "never" sit on the anchor desk, as she had hoped, after she offered to fill in for anchors while they were on vacation.
"He said, 'You will never be on this anchor desk because you're Chinese,'" she said on "The Talk." "He said, 'Let's face it, Julie, how relatable are you to our community, how big of an Asian community do we really have in Dayton? The audience can't relate to you because you're not like them."
She did not name the man in question and he has not commented publicly.
"It felt like a weird grownup version of racism in the workplace," Chen said. "But couldn't challenge him -- he was my boss. I started to develop a complex. I got very insecure about this."
"I wanted to like cry right then and there," she added. "It felt like a dagger in my heart because all my life, my lifelong dream was to be a network news anchor and if I can't even anchor in Dayton, Ohio, how am I ever gonna get to New York City?"
She said she then began searching for a new job and met with agents. One "big time agent," she said, told her: "I cannot represent you unless you get plastic surgery to make your eyes look bigger."
"He then whips out a list of plastic surgeons who have done this surgery," Chen added.
Chen said her parents were supportive, while other family members wanted to "disown" her. She eventually had the procedure done. She showed on "The Talk" a side-by-side image of herself then and now (see above). Chen left the Ohio TV station in 1997 and moved on to become an anchor at CBS News.
"After I had that done, everything kind of, the ball did roll for me, which I struggle with -- 'Wow, did I give in to The Man and do this?'" Chen said. "I don't like to live with regrets. I did it, I moved on. No one's more proud of being Chinese than I am and I have to live with the decision I have made."