On TikTok, Gen Z Is Showing Off Their Natural Noses

And there’s been a coinciding dip in rhinoplasties.

by Daisy Maldonado
Originally Published: 

Earlier this year, Bella Hadid shared in an interview with Vogue that she had a nose job at the age of 14. While celebrities publicly revealing the cosmetics procedures they’ve received is still a rarity, it's what the now 25-year-old model said about her surgery that encapsulates a larger, more significant shift in perspective many Gen Zers relate to: "I wish I had kept the nose of my ancestors. I think I would have grown into it."

A high bridge, wide nostrils, or a more protruding hump — these all add up to specific attributes that can describe a nose deemed "ethnic" by the western world. On the flip side, a smooth bridge and slightly upturned end have historically been considered desirable — a direct reflection of Eurocentric beauty standards. On TikTok, the viral #nosetrend hashtag — which currently has over 22.7M views — features users showing the side profile of their nose, then capturing the slope with a black-and-white freeze frame photo. Many begin the video by pressing the tip of their nose upwards for a few seconds, with the hope being that this will result in the appearance of a “perfectly” upturned nose — if only for a brief moment.

Those whose natural noses adhere to the current beauty standard have used the trend to show them off. “Y’all gotta press it up?” wrote influencer Noah Beck in one clip. “Does this count,” model Olivia Ponton said in another video of her pushing up her nose. It’s no secret that social media has the power to negatively impact self-esteem and self-worth. And when figures who have millions of followers to their names create videos like this, it can potentially influence many to seek out a physical “ideal” they don’t possess naturally through cosmetic surgery. Whether intended or not, it reinforces the idea that there’s one kind of nose everyone should aspire to — one that adheres to a set Eurocentric standard of beauty. But elsewhere on the platform grows a new movement in response to the trend that signals this couldn’t be further from the truth.

In a recent TikTok that has over one million views and counting, 34-year-old Zohra Banon shared that she’s glad she held off on getting a nose job. “My ethnic nose is what makes my face unique. It’s chic and sophisticated. No surgeon can create this,” she captioned. Underneath her video are thousands of comments, and in reading them, it’s clear most viewers have a similar message: Those with similar features are finally feeling not only represented, but treasured as well. Zohra tells Bustle she was “surprised at the response [the video] got, the comments, and who reacted. It seems a lot of people are looking for that kind of content.” In the video, Zohra theorized that "big noses” are about to become more commonly embraced due to social media being oversaturated with conventionally beautiful ones — and according to Dr. Melissa Doft, M.D., a double board-certified plastic surgeon and founder of Doft Plastic Surgery, this perspective reflects in the way people are now going about rhinoplasties.

“There is a real focus in [the U.S.] on [one’s individual] race and ethnicity,” Doft tells Bustle. “We see this play out in the books children read in school, television shows, social media influencers, brand ambassadors, and in trends in plastic surgery.” If you’re looking to proudly show off natural features, there’s arguably not a greater facet that tells a story more than your nose. After all, it quite literally takes the center stage of your face.

Though people are still getting nose jobs, an increased emphasis on preserving individualized attributes is sparking a new shift in the desired result. “Although patients may not like all aspects of their nose, they do want to keep it a natural nose and not the cookie cutter ‘Barbie’ nose,” Dr. Doft adds.

While nose reshaping is still in the top five of cosmetic surgeries performed, it’s worth noting that the number of procedures fell by 9% between 2000 and 2020. And the way Gen-Z is now fighting back against narrow, Eurocentric beauty ideals is indicative of this change.

Shortly after Hadid’s Vogue interview was published, 18-year-old Dalia took to her TikTok to make a video thanking the supermodel, noting that it made her want to “appreciate the Middle Eastern nose” she was born with. “For many years I wished to have had the same opportunity to change my nose and even now I sometimes still wish to do,” she tells Bustle. However, Dalia now admits that someone like Hadid openly expressing her regret caused her to “gain a new perspective on the importance of individuality and identity.”

Zohra agrees. “The woman voted the most beautiful woman on earth saying she misses her natural features has a huge impact,” she tells Bustle. “I wish it didn’t, but representation is everything when it comes to self-image in a media-driven world.” Zohra further explains that Hadid, who she says represents beauty, admitting her nose job didn’t necessarily bring her joy “or [the] self-love it promises is huge.” She adds, “As far as I’m concerned, that was a selfless humanitarian act. She probably saved a lot of girls from going under the knife.”

When you click on the #nosetrend hashtag on TikTok, you might see a small group of individuals projecting their worship of Eurocentric beauty standards. But mostly, it’s full of people loudly rejecting the so-called goal of the trend and flaunting what makes their noses stand out instead. When a celebrity of Hadid’s stature speaks out, it’s revolutionary, but as more young people learn to advocate for what sets them apart, it builds a larger arena for others to relish their uniqueness — one that has space for everyone. There’s power in representation, and while Hadid might have set the ball rolling, movements like these show it will never stop just there.

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