I’ve heard that facelifts are your favorite procedures. Why?
It’s a very special surgery—you need to make the person look better but not different. It’s not a face change; it’s a time change. Sometimes I feel like a shrink with a knife.
Do the visions that people have in mind for their “new” faces and bodies generally make sense?
Of course not! A patient will say, “I want breasts this big!” They have no idea how to live every moment of the day with these new breasts, which are like a dream they’ve had for 20 years. It’s very hard for doctors to judge, based on their own tastes, what would be a good dream and a bad dream.
So the trick is finding a doctor who shares your tastes.
Exactly. I was once asked why so many people destroy their faces by getting big lips. There are three kinds of doctors: the ones who have good taste aesthetically and wouldn’t give you those big lips; the ones who’d do anything to get paid for it; and, finally, the ones who think those big lips look good. People should choose a doctor who’s very well recommended, or one whose work they’ve seen on their friends.
I’ve also heard that you collect art…
I just love art. My passion is 17th-century Italian, but I also have Italian works from the 16th century, along with some contemporary Brazilian things—even some pieces carved from wood that I see on the streets.
You yourself create objects of beauty—some people call you an artist.
I do think cosmetic surgeons are a kind of artist, because we have to imagine the results before we do the work—and sometimes a tiny thing makes a world of difference.
Gomes De Almeida: Vicente De Paulo; Model: Matthew Donaldson/Trunk Archive