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Margo Price Opens Up About Nose Operation in Personal Essay

In a lengthy personal essay, Margo Price wrote about her decision to get septoplasty and rhinoplasty, and the depression she felt before and after the operation this past March. “I didn’t recognize the person staring back at me,” she wrote in the Substack missive, “As Plain as the Nose on My Face.” “I was bruised and battered, like I had just been in the boxing match of a lifetime and my face was swollen and covered with bandages. What had I done? Who was I without my giant, crooked Barbara [sic] Streisand-esque nose?”

Price, 41, spent most of her life feeling insecure about her nose, which she wrote was broken for the first of several times when she was emerging from the birth canal. It broke in elementary school and Price’s teenage drinking led to more damage. Then came cocaine abuse and more drinking-related injuries. Moreover, she wrote that she felt like she didn’t live up to the supposed beauty standards she saw in the media. Plus, magazines photoshopped her without her permission.

But what led her into surgery was a succession of migraines, sinus infections, and nosebleeds that began around 2017. The pain reached its inflection point last year on a flight into Rhode Island for the Newport Folk Festival, where she wanted to pay tribute to her friend, John Prine. The change in pressure on the flight augmented the pressure in her head to the point that, upon landing, she asked her vocal coach for tips and spoke with an ENT doctor via Zoom. “She assessed my symptoms: major congestion, hearing loss and the feeling that I had a knife in my left ear,” Price wrote. “She then put in a call to the pharmacy for Flonase nasal spray, prescription meds, more Afrin and then instructed me to wait a couple extra days before flying back on the airplane. The show went on just one day later and it’s safe to say, I did not perform my best.”

Once home, another doctor diagnosed her, explaining that her “sphenoid sinus and ethmoid sinus cavities were completely blocked.” Surgery would fix her deviated septum and nasal cavity bone spurs. She saw the surgery as an opportunity for cosmetic surgery that would also help her feel better about herself, as long as she didn’t end up with what she described as a “Barbie nose.”

Now that three months have passed, she wrote that she’s breathing and singing better. She feels healthier, too.

Nevertheless, she wrote that she still suffers from poor self-image, which is why she decided to be transparent about her operation — in the event others feel the same way. “I thought that ‘fixing my nose’ was going to solve everything but it was much more complicated than that,” Price wrote. “I try not to look in the mirror too much these days. I try not to think too much about my looks in general but of course, being a woman in the country music industry, that’s impossible. I know I may fit into some people’s perception of what is considered more traditional beauty, but I find myself feeling nostalgic about the way I used to look. I still have the slightest hint of a bump on the bridge of my nose and I’m happy for that.”

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Last year, Price made a joke about her nose in an interview with Rolling Stone. When asked who she’d like to see play her in a movie adaptation of her book, Maybe We’ll Make It, she said Alana Haim. “I liked Licorice Pizza,” she said. “[Alana Haim] was incredible. I really loved that the casting agent addressed her nose. So we have to find someone with a really strong profile.”

Price has tour dates scheduled through the summer in support of last year’s Strays releases.

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