Real Life

My ‘suddenly single’ extreme makeover

Charmaine Evans knew her marriage didn’t have a future when she got her husband an expensive helicopter flight for his birthday, and he bought a toasted sandwich maker for hers. “I don’t even like toasted sandwiches,” she says.

When the marriage – Charmaine’s second – broke down after five years she was devastated, but she didn’t sit around feeling sorry for herself. “I wanted to do something for me, so I had a facelift,” says the Auckland mum-of-two.

“I spent very little money on myself when I was married yet my husband would think nothing of buying things he wanted – he went to rugby games and on fishing trips or bought golf clubs.

“After the marriage broke up I thought, ‘Stuff it, I really want to have a facelift – you only live once’. As it happens, it actually cost less than a fishing boat or a rugby trip.”

office manager Charmaine (53) went to oalaysia with Australian firm Gorgeous Getaways, which organises trips to Asia for cosmetic surgery. It cost her just under $10,000 for the full facelift, flights, accommodation and shopping – and she says it was worth every cent.

“I was quoted $35,000 for a face lift here and that didn’t include doing my upper or lower eyes or my neck. It was a huge decision and I was a bit concerned about going to another country to have surgery, but I investigated it carefully and felt it would be okay. The surgeon was very experienced.”

Charmaine says she wanted the facelift because she had a double chin and creases on her neck, plus hooded eyelids. “You couldn’t see the eye sockets – I just had bags of skin meeting my eyelashes.”

As well as having a full facelift and work done on her eyes, Charmaine had fat from her stomach injected around her lips to get rid of wrinkles.

She says: “I didn’t want to look 20 years younger, and I definitely didn’t want that startled expression you see with some women who have had facelifts. I just wanted to look refreshed. I hadn’t told anyone I was having it done and when I went back to work nobody really noticed anything, except to say that I looked like I had had a good holiday.

“I do tell people I’ve had surgery. If someone says I look good I admit, I’ve had a bit of help.”

Charmaine says she had a brief moment of panic when she first saw herself in the mirror after the operation. “oy head looked like a giant watermelon with black eyes and I thought, ‘What have I done?’ But the swelling went down a bit each day and I had no pain.”

She’s thrilled with the end result and is glad she decided to treat herself. So what would her ex think? “He would probably think it was a ridiculous thing to do but who cares? This was all about me.”

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