“First thing I think people notice about me is my Italian nose and my Italian features,” says Brad.
“When he was born, my sister said, ‘Oh, my God. Look at that nose!” recalls Brad’s mother, Debbie. “People always say Brad looks like me.”
Brad is scheduled for cosmetic surgery in a month, but his family is opposed to the procedure. “I think it’s absolutely horrible that Brad wants to get a nose job,” says Debbie’s best friend, Sue. “Be proud of who you are.”
“The actual operation I’m having done is basic rhinoplasty to make my nose a little smaller, and a chin augmentation,” explains Brad. “I have nothing personal against Italians. They’re very stereotypical. They will have brown hair, brown eyes, usually a big nose.”
“One of the biggest problems I have is that Brad won’t look like my father and me anymore,” laments Debbie.
Sue has a stronger reaction. “I am offended that he would destroy his mom’s, his grandparents’ heritage. I would say to Brad not to have the surgery,” she says. “I would say, ‘Please, Braddy. Just accept who you are.'”
Brad won’t budge from his efforts to reduce his schnoz. “It means enough to me where I’m willing to go on national television and say, ‘I’m getting a nose job.’ I think it’s perfectly acceptable,” he says.
“When did you decide to do this?” Dr. Phil asks Brad.
Brad replies, “I’ve always had a problem with it.”
“Did anything push you over the line?”
Brad explains that while looking at a family photo, he realized his nose was taking up most of the shot. “Seeing it and everyone saying, ‘What is that?’ And then they realize, ‘Oh, it’s him. It’s his nose sticking in the side of the picture!’ It’s embarrassing,” he says.
Dr. Phil addresses Debbie. “You’re offended by him wanting to do this because it’s going to erase this family characteristic or trait,” he notes.
“My father died when I was 6 years old … I don’t really know him, but Brad’s nose ” he has it to a T. It is a bit large,” she says with a chuckle, “but that goes with some Italians.”
“It might help if you would not laugh when you said that,” Dr. Phil suggests.
Sue joins the Dr. Phil show via Web cam. “What’s your objection to this? It’s not even erasing one of your family traits or characteristics. Why do you care?” Dr. Phil asks.
“A person is who they are, Dr. Phil. That’s what his background is. Be proud of who you are. Stand tall. Don’t take away something of your heritage,” Sue declares.
“What do you say to that?” Dr. Phil asks Brad.
“I understand where she’s coming from. But your nose isn’t that small either,” he tells Sue with a laugh. “It just gets annoying. People just judging me about my nose. I just want to fit in with everyone else. I feel like it holds me back a lot in life.”
“But Braddy, do you care what people think if they’re looking at your outward [appearance]?” Sue inquires.
“Obviously, he does,” Dr. Phil says.
“Yes, but I also feel that it kind of gives them a pre-judgment about me right away,” Brad says. “I feel people don’t give me a chance to be myself.”
Dr. Phil tells Sue and Debbie they have to be mindful of the words they use to describe Brad’s decision to have surgery. “Three times in the taped piece, you said ‘horrible.’ I think twice Sue has said, ‘devastated,'” he tells Debbie. “The fact that he wants to change the contour of his face is not horrible. Having burns over 80 percent of your body, that’s horrible.”
“The way I’m saying horrible is of the way he’s been teased,” Debbie clarifies. “I think if he can afford it and he really wants it done, of course, I’m going to support him. He’s my son. I feel a little guilty about giving him that nose. I’ll still love him, and he’ll still be Brad on the inside.”
“If this is what he’s going to do, you’re going to get behind it,” Dr. Phil summarizes. He turns to Brad. “Is this what you’re going to do?”
“Oh, yeah!” Brad says. “I hope that they’ll see it really means a lot to me.”
“I see, sometimes, people doing surgery for the wrong reasons. I see people who seriously don’t accept themselves,” Dr. Phil says. “Then I see people who are just wanting to tweak things and dial in … and they kind of want to look on the outside the way they feel on the inside. I’ve got to tell you, I perceive you that way. You seem to me to be a very solid, stable young man who has a real zest for life, and this is something that bugs you, and you want to change it.”
Dr. Phil asks Brad to send in a picture after his surgery.