Kim Kardashian’s nose, J.Lo’s butt, Angelina’s eyes: “It’s a gold mine,” says one Beverly Hills plastic surgeon of the new craze for U.S. doctors — and celebrity looks — in the Middle East.
This story first appeared in the Aug. 2 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Blame one canceled reality TV show for the explosion of plastic surgery performed by Hollywood doctors in Dubai, the Las Vegas of the Middle East.
Dr. 90210 began titillating American viewers in 2004 with its salacious, sometimes gruesome look at the physical transformations of Beverly Hills’ beauty-obsessed denizens through breast implants, reductions, face-lifts, rhinoplasties, liposuction and whitened smiles. Its tagline: “If you weren’t born with it, buy it.”
After the E! show went dark in the U.S. in 2008, it continued to air in 22 other countries, including the United Arab Emirates. As a result, its stars have become hugely in-demand surgeons, with all of the attendant hoopla — and additional business — that comes with fame. “Anyone who has any kind of media exposure here is considered an A-list celebrity, not just a reality TV asshole,” says Jason Diamond, Dr. 90210’s former facial expert. He also is the ringleader of a 90210 plastic-surgeon posse that is part of a lucrative partnership with the American British Surgical & Medical Centre, a facility that brings U.S. and U.K. doctors to the Middle East, located on Abu Bakr Al Siddique Road in Dubai’s Deira district.
PHOTOS: Get Healthy, the Hollywood Way
After being approached by the ABSAMC, Diamond, who specializes in noses and face-lifts, brought in other former 90210 docs including Kevin Sands, the Kardashians’ family dentist who also has created winning grins for Charlie Sheen, Miley Cyrus, Kanye West, Emma Stone, Robert Downey Jr. and Britney Spears.
“The whole royal family comes to see me in my Beverly Hills office — half my patients are from the Middle East, Kuwait and Qatar — so it was very natural for me to go there,” says Sands. “It took a while to get our licenses and insurance. You don’t want to mess around over there if you want to come back with both your hands,” he jokes. “For four days, I’m prepping patients’ teeth and taking impressions. Then I fly home, have the veneers made in Beverly Hills and fly back and finish them. That’s what they’re paying for — the best.”