Forbes - This Woman Built a Business Helping Men Go Under the Knife - 2018
Lynda Barens has brought clients up fire escapes to avoid the paparazzi. One time she hired a helicopter to get a VIP to a doctor's appointment.
"Confidentiality is a huge part of what I do," Barens said in a conspiratorial whisper, as though she were M in James Bond.
What Barens does is act as a private concierge for clients, mostly men, seeking plastic surgery, mostly in Hollywood and Beverly Hills.
"I know every backdoor entrance, freight elevator and alley to every surgery center in town," Barens explained to me. Barens, in a conservative suit dress and impeccable makeup, doesn't look like the kind of person who scales fire escapes in the dead of night, but she assured me she will do anything to get a job done.
There's too much chatter about women and plastic surgery in the celebrity press. Who's getting it? Who needs it? Who had way too much? Back when I was an entertainment journalist a lift, a tuck, a nip or a poke was the kind of headline that garnered much lauded clicks.
And yet, we rarely talk about men doing the exact same thing. The idea of a man going under the knife, so to speak, is taboo. Men don't want to seem superficial, or act like they care about aging, sagging or wrinkling. But they do. Of course they do.
Barens has built herself a career of walking clients through the cosmetic surgery process, out of holding their hands and sometimes sneaking them up fire escapes. She's like a doula, but for men having face lifts instead of women having babies.
Her career path has been anything but traditional. For years she managed high end salons and then worked as a patient coordinator for a prestigious Beverly Hills plastic surgeon for over 15 years. Eventually she found herself referring the plastic surgeon's patients to other specialists for dermatology and dental work. She'd make the appointments for them and make sure they got the VIP treatment. She did it because she enjoyed it, liked talking to people, solving their problems.
"When I left that practice I continued to get those calls soliciting my advice. I knew there was a void in the niche world of plastic surgery concierge services," Barens said. It sparked an idea. Why shouldn't she get paid for her expertise? She wasn't a doctor, but she knew all the best ones. And when she called them they always took her calls.
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