Meg Ryan’s recent public appearance at the Tony Awards and the subsequent social media backlash in relation to her apparently altered features highlights the modern phenomenon of “plastic surgery shaming” in a very unambiguous and some would argue callous manner. Meg was lambasted by a Twitter storm of nasty insults and brutal put downs including, “Dear God…What happened to Meg Ryan?” and “I’m old enough to remember when Meg Ryan looked like Meg Ryan.” In one particularly cruel Tweet Hayes Permar featured a photo of Jack Nicholson as the hideous Joker with the sentiment, “Meg Ryan looked good at the Tony Awards.” Recently, Renee Zellweger and Uma Thurman have received similar criticism and contempt.

The world can be a cruel and unusual place, and anyone getting into the acting field should understand the depth of criticism one might face. Meg Ryan was and is a beloved figure in the world of film and particularly romantic comedy, but she was not spared the wrath of haters when they felt she was vulnerable. For women, and increasingly for men, plastic surgery is a bona fide issue to contend with; a true dilemma. To cut or not to cut? That is the question. Whether ‘tis nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of natural aging or take up arms against a sea of declining years?

It’s a difficult situation because Hollywood relies heavily on looks; certainly looks had something to do with Meg Ryan’s coronation as America’s sweetheart. But, as we’ve seen, cheating Father Time and Mother Nature through artificial means can be a tricky thing. Sometimes it works, and other times, not so much.

Ryan says she loves her age and her life these days, insisting, “There are more important conversations than how women look and how they are aging…” and “I don’t pay a lot of attention frankly. There’s a lot of hatred in the world today, it’s so easy to judge. Imagine being a hater, how stupid!”

You, as a committed actor and a stalwart thespian, as unpleasant as it may seem, have to deal with this aspect of the business. Or do you? Certainly, getting your look freshened up with a little work as you age might help out, but then again, with the no-makeup trend over the past couple of years, emphasizing natural beauty seems to be on a lot of people’s minds. Moreover, it might be helpful to remember that a fine actor, a skilled craftsman, a talented professional remains valuable over time, and greatly improves the chances of working in this business for many years. Also remember that your look is singular and unique by its very nature; and your natural energy and talent show all over your amazing face.

And don’t count out Meg Ryan, because if you look closely at her effervescent smile, you’ll likely see an open heart and a beautiful spirit. And that never gets old!

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