"Dr. 90210" Star Helps Redefine Cosmetic Surgery in Beverly Hills

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Linda Li
    Dr. Linda Li

    Somewhere between being a "Tiger Mother" and a "plastic surgeon," Dr. Linda Li's traditional upbringing and desire to break the negative stereotypes of her profession are slowly redefining 90210's infamous field of cosmetic surgery.

    "People think because of the ZIP code, they can categorize us into a type of person," said Li, who appeared in the reality-show "Dr. 90210."

    "I did this show because I believe it could help break the stereotypes and help people see that there are layers into our lives," she said.

    Li was the only female surgeon on the show.

    "People think that the women in Beverly Hills have all these glamorous lives -- and I did 'Dr. 90210' to show that women can do it all and also have a normal life," Li said.

    As part of the prominent community of plastic surgeons, Li believes that surgeons are responsible to break negative trends, such as extraneous surgeries, and focus on the constructive and necessary angles of plastic surgery.

    Today, more than 15 percent of Li's work is reconstructive plastic surgery, which she says is a valued sector of this misconceived field. 

    "Celebrity is fun, yet it leaves you empty and makes you realize how little it really means." she said. "On the other hand, reconstructive work is valuable and gives you satisfaction when you see how significant of an impact you've made on someone's life."

    "Every day, I see women with marital problems and others who have lost their breasts due to cancer, and don't feel comfortable with their husbands," Li said.

    Such attributes are perhaps among the most positive elements of plastic surgery that have managed to fall in between the cracks of the negative stereotypes.

    Today, gastric bypass surgery is also becoming a common trend. The surgery is required for people who are at risk of morbid obesity and need to lose 200 to 300 pounds. Li operates on many such patients.

    "I applaud them, because they have taken an initiative to change their un-healthy lifestyles and live a healthier and longer life," Li said.

    In many cosmetic surgery centers in Beverly Hills, doctors impose additional work that patients don't even need, said Libby Everhart, Li's business manager.

    "It's so bothersome that in Beverly Hills, the surgeons seem to pick apart the patients during the consultation," Everhart said. "For example, if a patient goes in to see a doctor about a nose job, she walks out with a quote for a nose job, chin implant, cheek reduction and facial fillers."

    Born into a traditional Taiwanese family who immigrated to the Unites States in early '60s, Li's parents did everything they could to raise their two daughters as two perfect "A" students.

    "There was nothing else that I could get, nothing else was good -- in fact, it wasn't until I was 13 or 14 that I realized some people actually don't end up going to college," Li said.

    In her practice as well as at her home, Li is projecting a positive image of women who are successful professionals as well as great wives and mothers. It is with such mindset that she is working towards changing the tainted image of plastic surgery in women of Beverly Hills.

    "I believe the change starts with one person and eventually reshapes the negative image of the community," said Li.