Herbert Chavez, an extreme Superman fan from the Philippines, is so obsessed with the Man of Steel he underwent several painful plastic surgery procedures just to look like his favorite superhero.
Before his last procedure that transformed him into the famous Son of Krypton, Chavez, 35, collected Superman memorabilia for at least 21 years, according to his collection posted on his Facebook page.
His favorite quote: “Up, up and away.”
An ABS-CBN Filipino news station reports that Chavez underwent several “Superman-ish” plastic surgeries over the past 16 years, including chin augmentation to get Superman’s cleft, rhinoplasty to get Christopher Reeves’ nose, silicone injections for more plump lips, and even thigh implants for a more muscular look.
According to several media reports, Chavez’s obsession with Superman has turned him into something of a celebrity in the Philippines.
His Facebook page depicts photos of Chavez, dressed up like Superman after the latest surgery, standing in his bedroom surrounded by his Superman collection and various photos of the real Superman.
There is a tremendous difference between his before and after photos as his “before” photo shows a typical Filipino man with average features. The “after” photo shows Chavez with Superman features, makeup around the cheeks and eyes, and slicked back hair.
Chavez also posted on his Facebook page that he is a member of Justice Ph, a group of superhero fans, comic book enthusiasts, and regular hobbyists who have banded together to play out their favorite DC comic book characters; it is a group of cosplayers.
Cosplay is short for “costume play” and participants often interact with each other to create a subculture centered around role-play. There are several large conferences held during the year around the country where cosplayers gather for a weekend to show off their costumes, characters and collections.
Chavez is not the first person to undergo plastic surgery to look like a famous celebrity or superhero.
Nileen Namita, a 49-year-old artist and mother of three from England, underwent 51 cosmetic surgeries to achieve her dream of looking like Queen Nefertiti. Namita – spurred by her belief that she was Nefertiti, the sun-worshipping wife of Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten Namita – spent about $360,000 for the surgeries, according to oddee.com’s website.
Odde.com also reports that former Playboy Bunny, Sarah Burge, spent more than $500,000 to turn herself into a real-life Barbie doll. The 49-year-old housewife and beautician from Cambridgeshire broke the world record to look like the real Barbie.
Psychiatrists and plastic surgeons agree that the risk of surgery simply outweighs the benefits.
Most people who obsess about plastic surgery or undergo surgeries to look like someone else suffer from DBB, body dysmorphic disorder.
BDD is a psychiatric condition, which occurs when the affected person demonstrates an excessive preoccupation with a minor defect in either a facial feature or localized part of the body, according to the Mayo Clinic.
“As a board-certified plastic surgeon, I almost never turn down a patient for reconstructive surgery,” Dr. Anthony Youn, a plastic surgeon in Detroit, told CNN.
“But when it comes to cosmetic surgery I feel obligated to be more selective. In general, cosmetic surgery patients display a higher degree of psychological problems than reconstruction patients.”
Youn says sometimes a patient’s request is just weird.
“To someone with BDD, a small bump on the nose looks like Carrot Top’s head,” Youn said.
“Sometimes these patients undergo repeated plastic surgeries to correct imaginary defects. Defects that don’t exist. The result can be a vicious downward spiral making the affected individual look more and more, well, plastic.”