Pete Burns last interview on Channel 5 offers a reflective insight into
the horrors of his plastic surgery, juggling his public persona and the ultimate price
he paid in his fame game
2016 is done and dusted. And what a year it’s been… how did you fair? How many of your cultural hero’s were lost at far too early an age? So many passed away due to various cancer’s and heart failure.
Including this man. I watched a documentary over the holidays, telling Pete Burns story. He was much loved and much maligned where considering his plastic-surgery history, he had quite a mouth on him. That was a not so subtle reference to all the work he had to repair his botched-up lip work.
His music career wasn’t forced, he wasn’t pursuing fame, he loved music. But from the outset he wanted to have some work done on his nose, and that surgery went horribly wrong. He wore the eye-patch (back in the 1980’s) to cover up the botched job, it got corrected and somehow found him moving on into having more work.
He fell prey to a surgeon who carried out some faulty work on his lips that would take hundreds of procedures to correct over time, due to a substitute solution that seemingly poisoned his system.
Pete Burns like many performers was an introvert and he found the demands of being under the public glare unbearable at times. He didn’t want to be called onto shows where his PR expected him to fit into an out-of-character mould. Who would blame him!
Taking control of your own fame game
Are you in charge of your fame game, albeit known or aspiring? Do you have savvy representation that takes care of these matters for you? Do you handle it all yourself? Does it ever feel icky? Does the dread of having those conversations stop you from progressing sometimes?
When young artists have a massive success, just like he did with You Spin Me Round (like a record) is often when they find themselves on a circuit of kids shows and wherever a representational company decide the demographic they want to shape you into, lives.
But is that really how we ought to be nurturing performers and artists, if we’re going to support their emotional and psychological stability? Isn’t it enough of an adjustment to have to make, into having your talents recognised without having to bend into a version of you that doesn’t exist.
And that’s what got increasingly harder for Pete Burns as he aged, especially after revitalising his career through his appearance on Celebrity Big Brother in 2011.
He was candid enough to say he did it purely for the money, and the story goes that he intended to go in and be vile in order to bag the money and head for the door as soon as he could get evicted. Instead, the audience were gripped by his verbal antics, and that coat incident.
What is plastic surgery concealing?
It’s not a coincidence that psychologically he headed for plastic surgery, in order to hide in an endeavour to have a private life, but his life was anything but. I’m old school, wedded to the authenticity of aging and all the wonderful elements it contains if you allow it
Let’s celebrate the wrinkles, because each tells a story. It’s great to have lead an interesting life, and it’s more than okay to own it. I happen to think that younger people need to know it, so they stop fearing it.
I appreciate that there’s a great deal of pressure in the arts to remain young, especially for women, but it makes it even more important to stand up for yourself and claim your right to be you.
Look at the role models you have now, such as Judy Dench, Meryl Streep and Helen Mirren, who refuse to play. It hasn’t hampered them being offered some of the most interesting roles of their career’s.
It’s understood when people need corrective surgery due to horrendous accidents, but now younger people are incorporating Botox and fillers into their beauty treatment regime. It saddens me because it’s a clear indication of poor self-esteem.
Many actors, in particular, initially go into their craft to escape themselves, something they can’t control of simply through shyness. But instead of continuing to hide they could be finding themselves and bringing a higher quality of themselves to feed back into their work.
Facelift’s are not the answer.
Why it’s important to stop following the norm
If you’re considering having work, because you feel compelled to, and everyone else is, just stop for a moment and think on. Things can and do go horribly wrong, and more importantly claiming the quality of you from inside your body of work is far more valuable.
Pete Burns was an introvert, he objected to being pulled and prodded, and when he felt backed into a corner, he reacted with a long established pattern of knee-jerk behaviour that sadly saw him die broke and broken.
If along the path to being valued for your craft, and the inevitable pressures the fame game is putting on you: confusing you; pulling you one way or another; then getting some emotional stability makes an enormous difference in stopping the spinning plates.
And doing that from a self-care perspective only happens once you have developed your inner game, so that you get to play your life on your terms and keep everyone happy, especially you.
Step up to the mark
PS – Directing your own destiny begins by arranging a quick 15-min chat which kick-starts having more energy to develop what you really, really want.