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Breast Surgery - Dangerous Game Seeking Paradise

Fortune-seeking women swell with desire for drug barons

THE sorry television saga of a pretty young woman who undergoes breast enlargement to win the heart of a drug dealer is gripping Colombia, where the series reflects an unparalleled boom in plastic surgery.

The story of Katherine, a desperate teenager struggling to escape poverty, is told in a nightly drama called Sin Tetas No Hay Paraiso, or Without Breasts There Is No Paradise.

More and more young office workers, who earn an average of £120 a month, are paying £800 for breast augmentation. Five years ago 30,000 Colombians had implants; this year more than 100,000 procedures are expected to be carried out..

Gustavo Bolivar Moreno, an investigative reporter and author of a bestselling book about would-be molls that inspired the series, has been praised for revealing the bleak truths about many young women’s ambitions. “All adolescent girls are self-conscious about their bodies,” he said. “But I have met 13-year-olds saving up surgery money specifically to reach their ultimate goal — a cocaine smuggler.

“Not a doctor, or even a footballer, but the type of criminal who, 13 years after the Medellin cartel kingpin Pablo Escobar was killed, still enforce their aesthetic on a generation of women in a brutal fashion.

“Even when the women have gone under the knife to measure up, they are merely used and discarded in the worst possible ways,” he said.

Sin Tetas follows the rise and fall of a girl who prostitutes herself to pay for a D-cup that will attract the attention of a glamorous local thug with dark glasses, armed guards and a swimming pool. In one episode she says she wants to become a moll “because even if my man dies, I will be out of the mud”.

The saga continues until next month but the story of Katherine and her friends is unlikely to end happily. “Her smile was wondrous, but her breasts became her road to hell,” said a trailer for the series on Caracol TV.

Young women interviewed in Bogota last week said they recognised Katherine in the programme. Johanna, a communications student aged 22, said: “It’s really popular because it shows real life. Girls like to be skinny but men want them to have big chests so they go along with it.”

Diana, a 21-year-old student, said: “Of course it’s exaggerated and not all girls go to such extremes to get the surgery, but enough do.”

It remains unquantifiable how many women are setting their sights on a drug dealer, but a Bogota police report suggests up to 350,000 young men, out of Colombia’s 41m people, are or have been involved in the drug trade.

“Americans like to go blonde, but here they like to go big,” said a member of the Colombian Plastic Surgeons Society. “Sometimes you have to calm them down a bit before they damage themselves.”

The Bogota surgeon, who asked not to be identified, estimated that one in six young women in richer cities such as Medellin and Cartagena had had some “work done”, a higher rate than in Beverly Hills.

Some Colombian celebrities are taking a stand against the trend: Shakira, the 29-year-old pop star whose latest hit, Hips Don’t Lie, reached number one, said she considered breast augmentation but then turned against the idea: “I worried that I was not going to be looking good enough for my fans, but I realised I was good looking enough for myself.

“Now I see all these poor women trying to get out of the ghetto with plastic surgery and my heart sinks. I understand why they do it, but not only is the pressure on them cruel but it makes us natural girls look a little bit small.”

Source Times Online