"Beauty Broker": Unethical or Just Brutal?

K. Mathews on 7 Oct 2012 at 9:00am


Melinda Farina will look you up and down, tell you your physical flaws, and then suggest how you could improve your appearance with cosmetic surgery. She’s not a plastic surgeon - not even close - but Farina will refer you to a doctor to do the work for you. In essence, she’s a plastic surgery pimp, though she prefers the term “beauty broker.”

Farina’s unconventional, and ethically questionable, profession was profiled in a New York Magazine article this week. While she accepts no money from the would-be patients she sizes up and slams, Farina earns $10,000 annually from each of the doctors to whom she refers her clients. Since it is illegal for medical professionals to split fees, Farina got around the regulations by establishing a "consulting firm" that includes more than 200 doctor members.

In the article, Dr. Steven Pearlman says that while Farina does refer her clients to doctors, she hardly has the best professionals available like her network touts. “The top guys are in another league,” Pearlman says. “They don’t know her and they don’t need her.”

Farina insists that she enlists doctors who perform surgeries on celebrities and openly rants on people who judge her -- but if she's dishing it out on a daily basis, she should be able to take it. Compared with a site like RealSelf, that is on a mission to foster confident choices, patient safety and helping the those who decide to move forward with procedures to find qualified doctors, it's interesting that someone would choose to be in the business of bringing people down instead of boosting people up.

If a barrage of criticisms from a stranger motivates her "clients" to get surgeries through a secret network, they may want to hit pause for a bit of soul searching.


How do you feel about Farina’s job as a plastic surgeon middle-man? Is it a helpful service or shameless bullying? We'd love to hear your thoughts! 


photo credit: valuavitaly