Julie Chen's very personal story behind why she opted to get plastic surgery may have come as a shock to some viewers, but others know this tale all too well.
The Talk cohost revealed on yesterday's program that she went under the knife in the beginning of her career as a journalist to make her eyes bigger after being told that her appearance would stop her from getting on air.
In response to sharing her secret, the Asian American Journalists Association released an official statement praising Chen for telling her story and noting that this sort of thing is a reminder "of the daily struggles Asian Americans face in the workplace across all industries, not just in broadcast journalism."
"AAJA applauds Ms. Chen for sharing this personal moment with her audience. Her story chronicles some of the daily struggles Asian Americans face in the workplace across all industries, not just in broadcast journalism," the statement, obtained by E! News, read.
"Asian Americans are one of the fastest growing minority groups in the country. But Asian Americans issues are still rarely covered. Similarly, few newsrooms reflect this diversity among their staff. AAJA was founded more than three decades ago because of this problem. Ms. Chen's story is an all-too real reminder of how crucial our mission remains today."
"My secret dates back to—my heart is racing—it dates back to when I was 25 years old and I was working as a local news reporter in Dayton, Ohio," the 43-year-old told the audience yesterday. "I asked my news director [if] over the holidays, if anchors want to take vacations, could I fill in? And he said, 'You will never be on this anchor desk, because you're Chinese.'"
She continued, "He said, 'Let's face it Julie, how relatable are you to our community? How big of an Asian community do we have in Dayton? On top of that, because of your Asian eyes, I've noticed that when you're on camera, you look disinterested and bored.'"
After being told similar comments from other people in the industry, Chen discussed the surgery with her parents, and with their support, got the procedure done. "And after I had it done, the ball did roll for me," she said. "And I wondered, did I give in to the man?"
"I have to live with every decision that I've made," she said. "And it got me to where we are today. And I'm not going to look back."
—Reporting by Ruth O'Neill