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Wednesday, 14 March, 2001, 15:31 GMT
'Why I'm keeping my face'
Vicky Lucas
Vicky Lucas has decided against cosmetic surgery
Vicky Lucas has got used to stares and taunts over her unusual face - but does not want surgery to correct it.

The 21-year-old student has cherubism, a genetic defect which means her chin has developed in a distended way, and her eyes are left bulging.

But she says she would rather be extraordinary than simply ordinary, and has refused to undergo cosmetic surgery.

Her story is featured in a BBC documentary, The Human Face.

This is the face I have and I don't want to change it

Vicky Lucas
Vicky was born looking like every other baby, and it was only during childhood that the signs of cherubism, an incredibly rare condition, began to emerge.

She said: "My mum first noticed when I was four years old - she was brushing my teeth and she noticed my teeth were all higgledy-piggledy.

"When I was a little girl I was very boisterous, a terrible show-off, but when I got to the age of 12 or 13, that's when I began to get more withdrawn.

"People started to bully me - when you are at school you want to be with people, you want to be in with the crowd.

"The last thing you want is to be different."

Lisa Fuerst undergoing cosmetic surgery
She says she has become accustomed to stares - although people who "can't tear their eyes away" are still hurtful.

"Sometimes I'll think I'm the hottest chick in town - then somebody gives me a really bad look and I remember I don't actually look that way.

"There were times when I thought I should see a doctor, that I want my chin to be small.

"Then I think to myself - I'm not doing anything wrong looking like this. This is the face I have and I don't want to change it.

"It's much better to look extraordinary because there aren't many people in the world who look like me."

Facing the world

The programme examines the importance of how we recognise and appreciate the features on our own, and other people's faces.

Lisa wanted her nose made thinner
In another case, a woman from Mexico, now settled in Los Angeles, US, has undergone cosmetic surgery to change the shape of her nose to a more "Caucasian" shape.

Lisa Fuerst says she wants to look more like the women who attend the same synagogue as her new husband.

This so-called "westernisation rhinoplasty" is carried out by Dr Paul Nassif and is a complete success.

Lisa says: "It's exactly what I wanted - I have got a great profile. I feel I have enhanced my face."

'The Human Face' will be broadcast on Wednesday at 21.10 GMT on BBC 1

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01 Aug 00 | Health
The man who can't recognise faces
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