Most of us would
go a long way to avoid the surgeon’s knife. Cindy Jackson,
on the other hand, has had a
love affair with the scalpel. But Roz D’Ombraine Hewitt discovers
that beauty is…
More Than Skin Deep
Cindy Jackson is famous for looking fabulous – but it’s
at a cost. She has literally spent a fortune on cosmetic surgery
to transform herself into a living, breathing Barbie doll. “To
look as fresh and natural as possible” is the way Cindy puts
it. “The last thing I wanted was to do was look plastic.” We
meet on what feels like the hottest day of the year and she steers
me towards the shade of a canopied table outdoors. “I might
melt,” she smiles.
Cindy Jackson’s determination to fix her large nose, prominent
chin, baggy eyes as well as her fat knees, small boobs and a less
than perfect complexion (her words, not mine), proved to be an
expensive process of trial and error.
As we sip our drinks in the shade, she explains the difference
between plastic and cosmetic surgery. Plastic surgery is reconstructive,
for burnt or damaged faces, while cosmetic surgery is about improving
what you’ve got. If anyone’s qualified to comment on
the latter it’s Cindy. She’s even written a book about
it – Cindy Jackson’s Image and Cosmetic Surgery Secrets,
which has become a best seller.
It tells how to choose the right cosmetic surgeon but also includes
horrific tales of other people’s disasters under the surgeon’s
knife. Her own breast augmentation wasn’t exactly a triumph
and she had to have the rock-hard implants removed. She has become
something of an authority on scalpel beauty and tells the world
about it on her website (www.cindy.jackson.com). Being regularly
cut up has produced a thriving business, a place on the celebrity
list and a great opportunity
to push her passionate concern for animal rights.
In her book, she talks proudly of those who have contributed
to the fight for animals, lists all the UK and US companies that
test on animals as well as those that don’t and boosts organisations
which actively campaign to end the cruelty of animal testing, including
SHAC (Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty).
Cindy, a fervent anti-vivisectionist, is furious that the Government
stepped in to save Huntingdon Life Sciences from near certain bankruptcy.
“With wards closing and hospitals struggling to cope, why
use our money to bail out a company that tortures animals. It’s
despicable. I feel like not paying my taxes. Despite all the animals
who have died in cancer research, there hasn’t been a single
There is computer modelling and human volunteers and if they used
human tissue samples and consolidated the information they have,
they might get a clearer picture of cancer and how to cure it.
But most of Huntingdon’s work isn’t medical research
anyway, it’s ‘testing’ new chemicals and products – as
if we aren’t already overloaded
with them. It’s not about cures but selling more drugs and
With views like these, it’s not surprising that Cindy is
a vegetarian and has been since her early teens. Her voice is quiet,
but there’s no doubting her frustration that animals are
still being used to test drugs and her despair at the Labour Party’s
failure to honour its pre-election pledges on animal rights.
“They have let everyone down. They promised to review vivisection
and to bring in a Bill to ban hunting. They’ve failed on
all counts.” But she’s no less angry at the Government’s
continuing support for factory farming:
“BSE and the foot and mouth crisis have illustrated how
factory farming desperately needs to be reviewed. People don’t
need to eat meat – in fact if everyone became vegetarian
there would be enough food to feed the world. “I can understand
that if you’re from generations of farmers, animal suffering
isn’t something you’re likely to think about. But humans
need to evolve, change their ways and move on.”
Cindy Jackson speaks with transparent passion but also with an
insider’s authority. Born on an Ohio farm in 1955, she witnessed
first-hand how her father regarded animals, dealing with them all
“I can remember seeing animals killed in front of me in
our yard. My father was so keen to rid the woods of all its creatures
that if it moved he shot it. His logic was that rabbits, woodchucks
and racoons eat your crops so you kill them. As a child, I couldn’t
understand it – I felt so powerless. I guess part of my
motivation to stop animal cruelty stems from those experiences.”
She admits to feelings of frustration at not being able to do
more to end the widespread cruelty that surrounds us:
“If I could have one wish it would be for the cruelty to stop.
The sad truth is that people have the power to make this happen.
If they didn’t buy cruel products, manufacturers wouldn’t
produce them so it is consumers who carry the real responsibility.”
So sensitive to the pain of one group of creatures, it might seem
strange that Cindy Jackson has willingly subjected herself to acute
pain on so many occasions. She shrugs as though there was no alternative:
|Cindy – before and after cosmetic surgery
“Perhaps if I hadn’t grown up with such a beautiful
older sister and been treated cruelly because of the way I looked,
I would never have contemplated cosmetic surgery,” she says. “But
who knows?” Perhaps if her father hadn’t left a large
amount of money, again she might not have gone under the knife
and might now look all of her forty-five years.
Cindy came to London at the age of 21 to further her art studies
and work as a photographer. In the interim she has tried just about
every hair, make-up and cosmetic surgery technique under the sun.
For someone obsessed with appearances on a personal level, she
seems to have a much deeper and more philosophical approach to
what constitutes beauty in others. “Cruelty is ugly to me. I promote beauty but it’s far
more than simply how someone looks. Beauty is more than skin deep.
A vivisectionist may look beautiful but has an ugly spirit.”
Cindy now seems to be headed away from the superficial and towards
the spiritual, having recently developed an interest in spiritual
healing, which is now fitted around updating her website and writing
“People might think what I do is superficial but at least
I’m working and a good chunk of what I earn from book sales
and the like, will go to the animals. That’s what matters
to me.” Argue with that if you can!