Julie Chen, the host of CBS’s "Big Brother" and moderator and co-host of the network’s daytime show "The Talk," revealed that early in her career she had surgery on her eyes after running into obstacles because of what was described as "Asian eyes," USA Today reports.
The revelation on "The Talk" came as part of the show’s "secret" week, which previously produced a blockbuster revelation from co-host Sharon Osbourne.
Said Chen: "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."
She said she asked the news director if she could fill on for other anchors during their vacations.
Chen added: "And he said, ‘You will never be on this anchor desk, because you’re Chinese.’ He said, ‘Let’s face it Julie, how relatable are you to our community? How big of an Asian community do we really have in Dayton? … On top of that because of your heritage, because of your Asian eyes, I’ve noticed that when you’re on camera, when you’re interviewing someone you look disinterested and bored because your eyes are so heavy, they are so small.’"
Describing the comments as "racism," Chen said they "felt like a dagger in my heart," because she was working toward a career in broadcasting.
When she later met with agents, she said, one "big-time agent" told her, "I cannot represent you unless you get plastic surgery to make your eyes look bigger. And I did it."
Chen unveiled before-and-after photos of herself, saying the surgery had dramatic results. "The eyes are bigger," she said. "I look more alert … more expressive."
Chen, 43, said she has since moved on, adding: "No one’s more proud of being Chinese than I am."