Bosom buddies: When Faye”s four friends discovered her curvy figure was down to breast surgery, they decided to follow suit
Sitting in a wine bar on an evening out, Sarah Rogers smoothed down her cocktail dress and sipped a glass of ros. For the first time in her life, she knew she looked as fabulous as her friends.
At 28, she was happily married with two sons, lived in a four-bedroom detached house and drove an Audi that cost the equivalent of the national average annual wage. Yet she had been miserable because of the one thing she’d lacked — an impressive cleavage.
It was only after she’d had breast implants in September that she says she felt complete.
Feeling fabulous: From left to right, Emma Winfield, Kerry Hirse, Sarah Rogers, Katie Mason and Faye Barrett
Sarah belongs to a new wave of ordinary women for whom buying a new figure is akin to treating themselves to a designer handbag. They view it as a way of enhancing their lives, rather than fulfilling a male fantasy.
They are mothers and working women whose decision is influenced not by celebrities, society or even their husbands, but by their social circle.
Three of Sarah’s friends and her sister had already had implants before she went under the knife. Watching each have surgery made Sarah ever more determined to do the same.
‘Having implants was nothing to do with wanting to look good for men,’ says Sarah.
‘It took me years to convince my husband to let me have the operation. It was about fulfilling my potential. With every friend who had a boob job, I grew increasingly envious.’
‘I am seeing an increasing number of patients who book in because of a friend’s surgery. Implants have becomemore acceptable among middle-class women…”
Her decision lends credence to the theory that implants are ‘infectious’ — in much the same way divorce or weight loss have been proven to spread through groups of friends.
‘I am seeing an increasing number of patients who book in because of a friend’s surgery. Implants have become more acceptable among middle-class women and mothers like Sarah,’ says her surgeon, Riccardo Frati, from the Harley Medical Group.
‘Though surgery is not a decision to be taken lightly, it is no longer a taboo subject among friends.’
Starting with the first who decided to go under the knife, each of Sarah’s friends explain why they decided to have implants and how they were influenced by each other . . .
Faye Barrett: Left, before her operation in May 2004, and right, after
FAYE BARRETT, 30, a full-time mother from St Lawrence, Essex, is married to Nathan, 40, who works for a staging firm. They have two daughters: Ruby, four, and Mia, 18 months. In May 2004, she went from an A to a DD cup.
She says: “As a teenager, I hated my breasts. I tried to make the best of them, disguising my lack of cleavage with ‘chicken fillet’ bust enhancers stuffed inside my bras. They were uncomfortable and, when it was hot, they’d get sweaty and slip out.
“I loved my job as a veterinary assistant, but having tiny breasts meant I had little confidence.
“My love life was affected. If I did meet someone I liked, I was terrified that once our relationship got physical they’d feel I’d duped them with padded bras. Men would say I had a pretty face, but it was a shame about my lack of boobs.
“I longed to do something about it, but to me cosmetic surgery was something only celebrities had. It just wasn’t part of my world.
“When I was 23, a woman I worked with told me she’d had breast implants. I was stunned by how natural they looked and realised that someone ordinary like me could get them done, too.
“I longed to do something about it, but to me cosmetic surgery was something only celebrities had. It just wasn’t part of my world.”
“Within months, I’d taken out a loan and had the operation. After the operation, I was in terrible pain. It felt as if an elephant was sitting on my chest.
“For three weeks I could barely get dressed or even out of bed. I think it took me longer to recover because I had gone for bigger implants.
“A year later, I met Nathan in a bar. Before the operation, I’d never have had the courage to chat to him. The implants made an incredible difference to my confidence.
“Nathan loved my breasts. When I had our daughters, I was still able to breast-feed.
“I was thrilled to be able to recommend the operation to my friends, but implants do have their downsides.
“I can’t sleep on my stomach and my skin has stretched so much that if I were to have the implants removed there would be just empty, sagging bits of skin. So, I’ll be an 80-year-old with great boobs.”
Emma Winfield: Left, before her operation in April 2008, and right, after
EMMA WINFIELD, 30, a nursery manager from Southminster, Essex, is married to David, 30, a carpenter. They have three children: Josh, six, Blake, four, and Jayden, 18 months. Emma, who is Sarah’s older sister, went from an A to a D cup in April 2008.
She says: “I’ve been with David since the age of 15, so being flat-chested was never an issue in terms of attracting men. It was the effect it had on my confidence that caused a problem.
“As teenagers, Sarah and I would flick through magazines and look wistfully at pictures of curvy celebrities such as Kelly Brook. They had a glamour we could only dream of.
“Breast-feeding my two eldest meant my boobs all but disappeared. But it was only after Sarah and I met Faye at a local mother and baby group in October 2007 that I had the incentive to do anything about it. We noticed Faye’s amazing figure straight away, but assumed it was natural.
“I’d never have had the operation if it wasn’t for Faye. It is one thing seeing a celebrity with implants, but another knowing one of your closest friends has been through it.”
“It simply didn’t occur to me that anyone I knew would have breast implants.
“During a restaurant meal with our baby group, she whisked Sarah and me to the ladies, lifted up her top and let us prod her boobs. From then on, I was sold on the idea.
“I had to wait until Blake was six months old before I had surgery. I used the same surgeon as Faye, and Sarah came to my consultations with me. She was jealous, but excited for me, too. After I’d had the operation, she bought me a black silk bra to celebrate.
“David loves my new shape, but I think he’s more pleased by my increased confidence.
“I’d never have had the operation if it wasn’t for Faye. It is one thing seeing a celebrity with implants, but another knowing one of your closest friends has been through it.
“However, Faye did not admit how painful it would be. When I came round from the operation, I was crying with pain.
“Having two children made recovery even more difficult because they were making the usual demands on me and I just wasn’t up to it. I did feel guilty that I had voluntarily done this just to please myself.
“At some stage, I will have the implants replaced, but I’ll never have them taken out completely. They will be a part of me for ever.”
Katie Mason: Left before her operation in March last year, and right after
KATIE MASON, 26, a sales administrator from Burnham, Essex, is married to Tom, 29, a paratrooper. Last March, she went from an A to a D cup.
She says: “When I was growing up, Mum used to tell me I would eventually grow breasts. I kept waiting, but it didn’t happen.
“Going on holiday made me feel painfully self-conscious — in a bikini there is no disguising your shape.
“I wasn’t opposed to the idea of implants, but I was worried people would gossip. There’s a misconception that it’s a sexual thing, so anyone getting it done must be on a mission to snare men.
“That couldn’t have been further from the truth for me. Boyfriends told me they liked my breasts, but it didn’t make any difference to the way I felt.
“I wasn’t opposed to the idea of implants, but I was worried people would gossip. There’s a misconceptionthat it’s a sexual thing, so anyone getting it done must be on a mission to snare men”
“I’ve known Sarah and Emma since I was two, but after school we lost touch. It wasn’t until 2008 that we resumed our friendship.
“At the time I was working as a receptionist at the clinic where Emma had her breast implants.
“Part of my job was talking to women who had decided to have surgery. There were many types of customers, including celebrities, but booking in some-one I knew was an altogether different situation.
“Emma seemed more excited about it than nervous and I knew that if she could cope with the raised eyebrows, then so could I.
“I started dating Tom in 2007 after we’d been friends for years. When he proposed in November 2009,
“I vowed to have implants so I could look good in my wedding dress.
“However, he loved my figure and was against the idea. He was worried he wouldn’t find me attractive afterwards and thought it might change me into a brazen exhibitionist.
“But he also knew he couldn’t stop me — and in the end he bought me my new breasts.
“Emma was incredibly encouraging, and when I slipped my ivory strapless wedding dress over my new curves I knew it had been worth it.
“Luckily, Tom loved my new shape. On honeymoon in Crete in September I wore a blue flowery bikini with pride. With my implants, I finally feel like a real woman.”
Kerry Hirse: Left, before her operation in August of this year, and right, after
KERRY HIRSE, 31, a financial services associate from Chelmsford, Essex, is engaged to builder Chris Biggs, 31. Kerry has three children: Ceyham, ten, Alfie, five, and Laila, one. She went from an A to a DD cup in August.
She says: “My mum told me her breasts went up two cup sizes when she was pregnant with me and stayed that size. So I was convinced that when I became a mother the same thing would happen to me.
“My breasts did increase to a C-cup when I became pregnant with Ceyham. But when they shrank afterwards I was crushed.
“Chris wasn’t thrilled — he was concerned I’d regret it — but he was supportive. It’s only been a few months since the operation, but a lot has changed.”
“After I split up with Ceyham’s father, I met Chris. Following the birth of our son Alfie, I was tempted to have implants, but didn’t know anyone who’d had the operation.
“It was only after I started a new job with an investment company in January 2008 and met Sarah that I changed my mind. In our lunch breaks we bonded over our small children and, later, our unhappiness with our figures.
“She told me she was desperate to have implants. Suddenly, it didn’t seem like such a drastic idea.
“Sarah introduced me to Emma shortly after she’d had her operation. She and the other girls made me feel I wasn’t self-obsessed for caring about my appearance, and I decided to have implants, too.
“Sarah and I booked our operations on the same day earlier this year. As we talked about our impending operations, two other girls in the office admitted they’d had implants, too.
“Chris wasn’t thrilled — he was concerned I’d regret it — but he was supportive. It’s only been a few months since the operation, but a lot has changed. Chris loves the result and when I’m with my friends I don’t feel inadequate.”
Sarah Rogers: Left, before her operation three months ago in September and right, after
SARAH ROGERS, 28, a financial consultant from St Lawrence, Essex, is married to Brad, 29, an engineer. They have two sons: Connor, four, and Tyler, two. She went from an A to a D cup in September.
She says: “Growing up, I idolised my sister Emma.
“We met our husbands at the same age, then moved out of home, got married and had children around the same time. So it stood to reason that after she had implants I would want my breasts enlarged as well.
“If anything, I was unhappier with my flat chest than she was, especially after I’d had children. It got to the point where I hated looking in the mirror and didn’t like Brad seeing me naked.
“He loved the way I looked and couldn’t understand why I was so hung up about my breasts.
“I was envious of Faye and Emma’s new breasts, but Brad was against the idea of me having implants.
“He thought they were tacky — something a glamour model would have done, not a married, working mother like me.
“It wasn’t just Brad I didn’t want seeing my breasts. If I stayed at a friend’s house, I’d wear a bra undermy pyjamas to cover them.”
“He was also worried about the extra attention I’d get from other men. We had constant disagreements about it until, in the end, I backed down.
“It wasn’t just Brad I didn’t want seeing my breasts. If I stayed at a friend’s house, I’d wear a bra under my pyjamas to cover them.
“On a spa trip, I spent the whole day in a dressing gown rather than expose my body in a swimsuit.
“When Katie had her implants I was beside myself with jealousy. I was so miserable I lost a stone and a half.
“My low point came this summer during a family holiday to Majorca. I was too self-conscious to enjoy splashing in the sea with the boys and spent much of the time in tears.
“Brad finally realised how much it meant to me and gave me his blessing to book the operation.
“It’s only been a couple of months since the operation, but I’m so much happier.
“Brad understands it had nothing to do wanting to attract other men and everything to do with my self-esteem.”