Dr Ashley Granot.

'I believe we are all beautiful': Dr Ashley Granot. Photo: Eddie Morton

Ashley's story

As a young man, I had dreams of altruism and was about to go overseas to further my medical studies when fate stepped in. My baby son, Daniel, developed kidney disease.

Being a cosmetic surgeon means I look at everyone through a cosmetic surgeon's eyes.  

Daniel needed regular dialysis and three kidney transplants, the third donated by my wife. We went on to have four healthy daughters, but Daniel's illness affected both family dynamics and my career.

I became a GP and then a cosmetic surgeon. I wanted to work with my hands and this was the only way I could do that and look after the family.

People don't have the kindest view of cosmetic surgery, but in every walk of life you have those who do their work with ethics. I turn away 10 to 20 per cent of potential patients. They are already lovely. But I understand we all have vanity. We all want to look as good as we can.

All five of my children give me enormous pleasure, but the one most like me is my middle daughter, Orley. She was a bright spark from the start. School, sport and social activities all came easily to her, but she still worked hard to be the best she could be. Once she sets a goal, there is no holding her back.

She qualified to be a lawyer, decided she wanted to work in New York, and applied to all the top firms until she got an offer.

Being a cosmetic surgeon means I look at everyone through a cosmetic surgeon's eyes. If I go to the beach, I don't see women in bikinis - I see a collection of problems.

When I look at my daughters, I scrutinise them, too, and have carried out liposuction on three of them. Other parents avail their children of their area of expertise. My area is cosmetic surgery, so why shouldn't I do the same? It's not a question of: "You are ugly, no-one will look at you." It's a question of perspective, like sending them to a good school.

Orley was 17 when I offered her liposuction to reshape her problem areas. She'd heard me talk about it before so I explained frankly how I could help her. She was devastated and started to cry, but in her inimitable style went ahead and has not complained since.

People might say: "Why didn't you just tell her to lose weight?" but that's not how it works. Bulges in the figure are not just related to being overweight, they're related to genetics. Even with weight loss, I know she wouldn't have achieved the lovely shape she has today. I don't regret it.

I believe we are all beautiful so long as we have a beautiful personality, but if you increase your advantage in the physical department, doors open more easily. I remember one woman who was turned down for job after job, even though she was highly qualified. She had impossible hips, as wide as a doorway. Once liposuction brought her body back into harmony, she was deluged with job offers. It was so obvious it was sickening.

I believe what I gave Orley has changed her life.

Orley's story

My dad always knew how to make things fun. When I had a school project on veins, he made a model with pipes going along the body and an electric pump that sent the dye from A to B. On holidays, even though we often had to travel to places where there was a dialysis machine, he still made everything an adventure.

Of all us children, I'm most like Dad. I get itchy feet and love to try new things, but I'm sensible and logical. Things come easily to me, but I work very hard. Also, everyone likes Dad and I'm the same: I don't have enemies, I'm tolerant and friendly.

Growing up, I was very athletic and active. I trained three times a week at gymnastics from the age of five and then added tennis, netball and athletics. I thought I had the perfect figure.

When I stopped sport to concentrate on my VCE, however, I gained weight and one hot day, aged 17, I was standing in front of the TV in my undies and a T-shirt when Dad asked me to turn around and started examining my legs and grabbing chunks.

"We can get rid of this," he said. "And some of that."

I started to cry.

One of my sisters had already had liposuction.

I trusted Dad and it was free, so I underwent liposculpture on my inner thighs and stomach.

I don't regret the procedure; that's my approach to life generally. But a year after my studies finished I started eating healthily and exercising again and easily lost all the weight I'd gained.

I know what Dad did was well done and I'm still happy with it. Dad says there were areas that had more fat than others so I'd never have lost it but I do wonder, had my healthy lifestyle kicked in earlier, would I have needed to have the extra bulge taken out? I'll never know and until now we've never spoken about it except as a joke, when I've said: "Oh, I wish you'd done under my arms as well," and he's replied seriously: "Oh, you really don't need that."

Since then I've also had my sideburns removed by laser. I didn't like putting my hair up before because I was so self-conscious. I can't remember if Dad approached me or I him, but I imagine that back then a girl of 19 wouldn't know that such procedures existed, so it must have come into the house somehow.

Having a dad who is a cosmetic surgeon hasn't made me feel insecure. He says the aim of cosmetic surgery is to make you more comfortable with yourself, not to make you more beautiful. Beauty is within, he says. We are his children and beautiful to him no matter what.

Funnily enough, though, he has affected the way I look at other bodies. I have so often sat next to him and heard him quietly say: "Oh, she could do with a bit of work." I'd say: "Dad! No!" but I'd be able to see it, and now I find myself thinking: "Oh yes, she could do with liposuction" or "He's had a nose job." It doesn't affect how I treat anyone, though.

The only negative effect Dad has had on me is that I can get disappointed in people if they don't do as much for me as I'd do for them. That's because he and Mum would jump through hoops to do things for us.