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Suzette Standring Headshot

Heidi Montag's Spiritual Void

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Actress Lisa Rinna, implants, bee(hive) stung lips and all, thinks Heidi Montag, reality star of The Hills, has gone too far. To resemble a Nordic goddess, Montag, at age 23, underwent ten plastic surgeries in one day. Rinna's disgust compelled her to tear Montag's cover off her home copy of People Magazine because it's bad role modeling for her daughters.
"I take a lot of the covers off of magazines if they are just not appropriate. Obviously, we are raising two young girls. Anything that has to do with body or weight issues, I think you just have to be really careful," Rinna told The Hollywood Gossip.
Hmm. Your own cosmetically augmented whatnots aside, I hear you, Lisa!
But I'm a bit confused on your message. Are you protecting your girls from superficial excess? Or do you advise, "Don't get grossly enhanced in one day. Pace your pain!"
When the cosmetically jaded expressed disgust, it gave me pause. In a world where surgical sculpting is considered an investment in one's career, what exactly is too much, over the top, the absolute back of beyond?
Was it the number of Montag's body changes? (This in a culture where injectable face gel and liposuction are listed on a Beverly Hills' errand list along with skim milk and acai berry.) Or was it disgust at Montag's ten-surgery, one-stop shopping approach? Or was it the mind-bender of an already beautiful 23-year-old driven to cut away her own uniqueness?
Actually, I see it as the public playing out of Montag's spiritual void. I stand on the sidelines in wide-eyed pity. The young actress' story is not about the pros and cons of plastic surgery. Nor is it about her career or even a misplaced quest for physical perfection. That's just the skin-deep stuff.
In a personal production about self-worship Montag is starring as her own higher power. The fresh spin to a common plot is that extremes in plastic surgery for very young woman served as the vehicle to self-elevation. All the signs of spiritual emptiness are there, especially the glaring absence of gratitude. Born beautiful, healthy, and well placed at the start of a young show business career, Montag obsesses about flaws to be corrected.
It's an interesting zealotry: If you can shape your body, you can shape your life. No wonder Montag's mother is horrified.
Montag said, "[My mom] was looking at me almost like a zoo animal. It wasn't like I was her daughter anymore. She was looking at me like I was a circus freak."
At age 23 with no children, Montag doesn't understand maternal perspective. You raise a beautiful child, hope for her future happiness and success and sadly discover a daughter's drastic actions are founded on distorted values. It brings into question her confidence level and more disturbing, her character.
Yet Montag insists her new chin and nine other changes bring her happiness. To what promised land has excruciating pain and eye-popping expense led her? She boasts about an upcoming spread in Playboy. And what are her future goals? A much bigger bra size the next time around.
Heidi Montag is not a soulless person. She's just playing the part in her current drama. The 23-year-old has not yet grasped the concept of personal substance. There is no connection between physical perfection and life purpose, despite her faint assurances of fulfillment. She reminds me of a young man who tried to convince me that tattoos have spiritual roots in deep symbology.
So what's up with the big, black 8-ball on your arm?
I hope Heidi Montag doesn't get caught behind one as she zig-zags through more procedures. Beauty is only skin-deep. Sadly, some seek to cut their way out of a personal void from under a flawless complexion.

Suzette Martinez Standring is the award-winning author of The Art of Column Writing: Insider Secrets from Art Buchwald, Dave Barry, Arianna Huffington, Pete Hamill and Other Great Columnists. She is syndicated with GateHouse News Service. Email: suzmar@comcast.net