Joan Kron epitomizes substance with style--a combination she has turned into a remarkable career in journalism. Over the years, she has brought style to The Wall Street Journal (originating the fashion beat), The New York Times (helping to create the Home section), and Clay Felker's New York magazine (covering design). Since 1991, she's been the contributing editor-at-large for Allure, where she covers plastic surgery, the subject of her 1998 book Lift: Wanting, Fearing, and Having a Facelift, a must for anyone contemplating a cosmetic procedure. Her work displays a keen intellect, a great knowledge of both art and social science, and an unusual ability to talk shop with surgeons. We're honored that she agreed to share her thoughts with DG.
DG: In the 1980s. you wrote about interiors and the meanings people attach to their homes. What's changed since then? Have people become more house-obsessed, or do we just have more cable makeover shows?
DG: Is acknowledging that you've had plastic surgery antithetical to glamour?
JK: Absolutely—that’s an admission that one’s beauty is neither natural nor effortless.
DG: In January, you had a very public 80th birthday party, and you've been equally public about having had three facelifts. How do you respond to people who say they believe in "aging gracefully"?
JK: How one ages is a choice. It’s no different from deciding how often to have a manicure or a haircut. As someone who covers plastic surgery, I feel a responsibility to be truthful, since most people lie. I joke that I prefer to “age dis-gracefully.” I don’t see getting rid of my double chin as a moral issue. Some people say they’ve earned their wrinkles, but frankly I don’t care to wear my emotional resume on my face. There is no such thing as natural. I cut and dye my hair, I wear lipstick. I shape my eyebrows. I have no illusions about becoming a beauty object. But why should I give up and look like Yoda, or Jane Wyatt when she left the sanctuary in Lost Horizon (rent the movie) if I don’t have to? The technology is available. I don’t want to look bizarre, so I don’t ask for extreme procedures. And I draw the line--for myself--at lip-filling injections. They look so phony on someone my age. I hope I don’t look “done” but if someone thinks I do, I find it preferable to looking “undone.” Now could you all stop staring at my face.
The DG Dozen
Glamour is enchanting superiority. It appears effortless (even though it’s not) and beyond the reach of mortals.