I am NOT the world record holder for plastic surgery. First and foremost, there is no such title, record, or even category as “Most Plastic Surgery.” I cannot hold a world record that does not exist.
Or, as Guinness World Records officially states: “We can confirm that Cindy Jackson is not, and has never been, the Guinness World Records title holder for most plastic surgery. This is not a record title we have ever monitored.”
So why are there so many false stories claiming I hold the world record for plastic surgery when I do not? In short, it’s sensational clickbait that has been copied and pasted for years. The long version is below.
The Long Version
I pioneered the Extreme Makeover back in the 1980s, when it was unheard of for a young person to use aesthetics the way I do. Although the truth is far more interesting than anything that could be made up, fabrications about me began appearing almost immediately. Inventing fictional narratives is a common tactic used to attract readership.
Then in the 1990s, the internet came along, soon followed by copy-and-paste news. When fabrications echo across many different websites, they are accepted as fact simply because they have been repeated so many times. This is known as “the illusory truth effect.”
My famous clients and I often laugh about some of the preposterous things that have made up about us in the news. (Only those who’ve been lied about on a global scale can truly relate.) However, most people know better than to take any news story at face value these days.
Nearly a quarter of a century ago, I was awarded the title of “Most Cosmetic Procedures,” but only to correct a mistaken entry about me that had appeared completely out of the blue in the Guinness Book of World Records some years before. Since I had never applied for any record, I was shocked to see myself in the book. There were various inaccuracies about me, including the claim that I was “born on a pig farm.” Yet I was born in a metropolitan hospital in a major city and have never been on a pig farm in my life.
So I contacted the lovely Guinness people and explained that I had never applied for any record, and that there were numerous errors in the one I had unknowingly been assigned. They kindly agreed to put it right. The corrected entry consisted of my non-surgical treatments and operations totalled and combined under the term “cosmetic procedures.” (It turned out they had seen the pig farm claim on a “reliable” news site and repeated it in good faith.)
Most of my procedures were in-office or at-home treatments, such as tooth whitening, permanent makeup, oxygen facials, cosmetic injections, etc. The clue is in the title: Most Cosmetic Procedures, not Most Plastic Surgery. Again, there is no such category as Most Plastic Surgery. Technically, and by medical definition, I’ve never had any plastic surgery, only cosmetic surgery.
I no longer hold any title whatsoever. These days, countless others routinely undergo far more cosmetic procedures and elective surgery than I would ever consider.
Even in previous generations, American TV stars Joan Rivers and Phyllis Diller openly reeled off extensive plastic surgery lists that far surpassed mine.
Having multiple procedures was nothing new, especially among those in show business, the music industry, and high society. What set me apart and attracted worldwide interest were three unique factors: 1) I re-designed my own face and body using principles I’d learned from studying classic art and anthropology. 2) I significantly improved my appearance while appearing completely natural. 3) I help others who want advice from a fellow patient with firsthand experience and insider knowledge.
Although the facts have always been readliy available, some news sources still insist on falsely declaring to their readers that I am the world record holder for plastic surgery. Whenever I contact them and explain that no such record exists, I am treated as a nuisance and corrections are refused. Sensationalism sells, so it’s about what attracts money-making clicks, not pesky facts or fundamental truths.
Another persistent false claim is that I’ve had anywhere between 43 and 57 operations. The number (along with my age) varies wildly depending on the news source. I can’t even name 43 operations – can you? The sources can’t either, which is why they never do.
These examples are only the tip of the iceberg. Misinformation is a real problem in our world, but when it comes to anything to do with aesthetics, it’s especially rampant and widespread. Aesthetic consumers are put at considerable risk by false information. On a daily basis, I hear from disappointed patients who unknowingly made their choices based entirely on misinformation. Yet they always say they “did their research.”
Unsuspecting patients cannot make informed decisions when their research is rife with sponsored content, fake reviews, manipulated photos, paid influencer posts, articles by biased journalists who receive free treatment and/or payment, and made-up clickbait.
Unknowingly acting on misinformation is the number one cause of patient disappointment.
In my job, I necessarily only work with proven facts and accurate data. It’s literally my business to know exactly what’s true and what’s not.
I find willful misinformation toxic and creepy – especially when it’s about me. However, it always reveals far more about the people who knowingly peddle it than it does about me.
I’m targeted for misinformation solely due to my association with aesthetics; I’m not known for anything else. Because of the lucrative clicks and revenue it generates, the topic of aesthetics is a powerful magnet for misinformation, as a growing number of patients are discovering to their considerable cost.
Thank you for reading.
– Cindy Jackson (non-record holder!)
Below: George Clooney recently laughed off a made-up story about him that went viral. This type of reporting is commonplace, especially when it comes to aesthetics.