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“I spent so much energy trying to figure out what I did wrong, why I was banished from the kingdom,” the actress told People magazine on Monday. “That’s a lie. I banished myself.”
Grey said it was her mother, actress Jo Wilder, who suggested she get a nose job from very early on. Her father is Oscar-winning actor Joel Grey, best known for “Cabaret.”
“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,’” said the 62-year-old. “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, OK. But if you wanna be an actor…’”
Grey admitted that growing up, she “was completely anti-rhinoplasty.” However, the star noted how Hollywood’s beauty standards may have caused the matriarch to believe that the procedure would only boost her career.
“I loved that my parents did it [underwent rhinoplasty]. I understand, it was the ‘50s,” said Grey. “I understand they were assimilating. 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, you can’t look Jewish. You’re just trying to fit into whatever [it] is the group thinks.”
Grey eventually gave in. But it was the second procedure that significantly changed her appearance. She described how, after going under the knife, Michael Douglas didn’t recognize her at a premiere.
“That was the first time I had gone out in public,” she explained. “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. I really thought it was capitulating. I really thought it meant surrendering to the enemy camp. I just thought, ‘I’m good enough. I shouldn’t have to do this.’ That’s really what I felt. ‘I’m beautiful enough.’”
Grey said that today, she has never felt more comfortable in her own skin. She’s currently keeping busy working on a “Dirty Dancing” sequel. Swayze passed away in 2009 at age 57 from cancer.
“I just wanna feel who I am now,” she told the outlet. “But I think that when you ask other people who you are, and you ask people to love you, and you take their opinion as a definition of your worth, it’s a slippery slope, man.”
And she insisted that nobody puts Baby in a corner.
“That’s a new feeling,” said Grey. “To take myself out of the corner – and to recognize that I have been putting myself there, through story, through narratives that weren’t giving me the best life. The story I was telling myself about how I got here was not a great story. And not entirely true. I hadn’t seen the ways in which I’d made choices.”