Are freezers and fillers a thing of the past?
In both Scandinavia and California lip injections, fillers and freezers have been 'the hottest thing' for more than a decade. Starting in the early 2000s, getting your lips plumped with Restylane and eliminating facial expressions with Botox or other freezers became mainstream. A lot of people resorted to this, rather than more expensive and invasive treatments such as a surgical face lift, or something as ridiculous as lip implants, all in the pursuit of remaining forever young and beautiful.
When I was 16 I had a blog with about 100,000 daily readers back in Norway, and I had a myriad of different sponsors, for everything from cosmetics to clothing to alcoholic beverages. At 16 I signed contracts with several 'injection centers' on Oslo's affluent Westside, as well as a partnership with one of the major pharmaceutical firms who produce some of the most common fillers and freezers, conveniently headquartered in Scandinavia.
I was 16 and was thrilled that I was able to get free lip injections in exchange for a brief mention in one of my blog posts. I was young, and didn't really consider the consequences of promoting a beauty standard that basically tells young people that they aren't beautiful the way they are, and that they should fix all their imperfections by having injections or even plastic surgery.
I am so sorry for having contributed to this ridiculous marketing scheme. I was young and dumb, but that's never an excuse for making people feel like they are not good enough.
I am now 25, and haven't had anything done to my face for at least 2 years now. I try to stay current with news back in Norway, and read most of the major newspapers on a daily basis.
It turns out that the bloggers, or so-called 'influencers', are now promoting plastic surgery to have the injections they promoted for so many years (and made millions of dollars on doing so) surgically removed, another great way to make money, and further interfere with the self-esteem of young people who are just trying to figure out life, and have no need for further body dysmorphia issues. The beauty standards that the fashion and cosmetics industries are promoting is already way too much pressure for already insecure teenagers.
This is absolutely ridiculous, and it seems like the people of Norway agree for the most part. The Nordic nation of 5 million people and the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world, is now considering banning all marketing of plastic surgery, including injections such as Botox and Restylane. I think that's a logical move, considering the link between anxiety, depression, body dysmorphia and the pressure from these so-called influencers to have everything fixed, not to mention the increasing costs for the national health insurance program.
There's even this ridiculous blogger who looks like a plumped-up Barbie doll, who keeps writing about her struggles with body dysmorphia and all her complexes that she fixes with surgery -- she had her tit implants removed to seemingly counter all the criticism the media gave her, and then she went on to tattoo the back of her ears in order to get a more 'natural looking hairline'. For the record, her hairline was just fine, and this seems like another half-assed attempt at gaining some credibility.
I haven't even mentioned the hype about butt-implants and how Scandinavian 'influencers' are paid huge sums by sub-par plastic surgery clinics in countries like Turkey, to promote butt & tit-implant surgery for a fraction of the price in Norway or other wealthy countries with good government regulations in the healthcare industry. I am just waiting for these influencers to start promoting removal of butt implants so youngsters can start 'feeling good about themselves the way they look naturally', except for the butt implant, and then the removal of it, not to mention the millions of dollars in revenue ticking into the bank accounts of the young bloggers promoting these surgeries.
In my opinion, these influencers should be liable for the increased costs and pressure on the public health system, either via a special 'influencer'-tax, or a major class action lawsuit.
I think the debate going on in Norway right now regarding the ridiculous power these uneducated Barbie dolls have over young people, and the lasting impact it has on the health of the nation - body dysmorphia, eating disorders, anxiety disorders and depression just keeps rising, especially among the target audience of these plastic-fantastic so-called influencers.
Stop reading their blogs, and you'll take away their power.
It also turns out that injections that were supposedly temporary, like lip injections and botox, are not so temporary after all, so of course the influencers have to keep cashing their six-figure checks for promoting plastic surgery, so they're also promoting clinics who specialize in removing old lip injections. I am not kidding, this is what the world has come to.
I had lip injections 1-2 times a year between age 16 and 23, and the last time I went in to have my lips done by our 'family plastic surgeon' Dr. Rand Rusher in Beverly Hills (known from the TV show 'Pretty Hurts'), I learned that I have so much Restylane etc. build-up in my lips, that my lips will never go back to natural.
I am lucky to only have seen the best doctors, so my lips look natural and are still full and plump and sexy, but I might have to start getting them corrected if the fillers disintegrate in the wrong way. I don't want to go around looking like Jocelyn Wildenstein (the Cat Woman), but hopefully it won't come to that.
I hope we can start an informed debate here in California and the rest of the United States regarding the unregulated marketing of injections and plastic surgery, and start regulating the industry to protect young people from even higher rates of body dysmorphia, eating disorders, anxiety disorders and depression.
Please feel free to share your thoughts on this subject in the comments section below. I welcome an open debate free of personal attacks and coarse language.
I haven't really had the chance to relax and detoxify from the social events of the holidays, we've just been going going going, to every single event we've been invited to, usually three or four a week.
I've had such a great time meeting new people and getting out of my comfort zone, attending events all over town. I'm trying to embrace and appreciate life a little more, and getting out of the house, dressing up, and meeting people from all over the world is the perfect way to do it!
But enough is enough, my husband and I have decided to take a week or two off from events and other social obligations, so we can recharge our batteries before the Easter/Passover parties begin.
Here are a few photos from the past week - enjoy!
We went shopping for fabulous cocktail attire at the Westfield in Culver City. That mall is so huge that it's almost scary, it's like an airport. I think we'll stick to the Westfield in our neighborhood, in Century City. I've kind of started enjoying going to the mall again. Everybody's online shopping anyways, so we basically have the entire place to ourselves - meaning better service, and cooler deals.
And even though this picture is from January, I felt like it had to be included. It was at our good friend Lara's daughter's Bat Mitzvah - the first Jewish celebration I had ever attended. Look at these gorgeous and super happy people! I'm blessed to live a life filled with the best of friends and so much laughter and love. We always find a way to have fun.
And I'll end this story with the mandatory bathroom selfie. I'm wearing John Varvatos, Calvin Klein and Penguin. Penguin has the cutest little 3-in-1 packs of bow ties, lapel pins, and pocket squares, for just $60. They literally had one in every color imaginable, I feel like building up my bow tie collection again.
It's all of a sudden mid-February again. I feel like February always creeps up on me, and before I've even realized it, March is already there. But this year I'm ahead of the game. Or so I'd like to think, lol.
I'm sure you're all dying to know what I've been doing since I last blogged (kidding). I actually hate how boring my life seems now, but I assure you all I'm having a ball most of the time.
I've been working on marketing/branding a very diverse group of exciting small-medium sized companies for the past few months, and so far I'm loving it. Sure, it can be a lot at times, but I'm blessed to know so many talented people in marketing and PR in Los Angeles that I feel like I almost have unlimited access to help and advice - which is truly invaluable when I'm the only one on 'my team' trying to provide my amazing clients with the best solutions possible. So far, so good.
What I have realized is that life is about learning new things, meeting new people, and putting your inner creative beast to work at full force. Combining personal life with work life actually works out great for me, but I guess living in Los Angeles makes it more of a necessity than a pain in the ass. It probably doesn't hurt that I am completely shameless when it comes to my personal life either. I love hanging out with my clients, I consider them all good friends, and I can't imagine working for someone I wouldn't want to have lunch with.
Enough about me and my start-up business, what matters is that all is well and that I'm very happy. I also just realized that I have lived in California for more than 4 years, and I don't regret a single thing, including moving here from Europe and leaving that part of my life in the past.
L.A. might seem shallow and like it's full of narcissistic assholes, and while that is totally true, I have to say that the people here have made me feel so welcome and so part of everything, to the point where I rarely think of myself as an immigrant or an outsider, except for when I'm dealing with the federal government, which I don't really do that much unless I have to.
I might be blessed with a so-called flawless American accent, but the level of acceptance and the amount of love and friendship I've experienced while living here, is just baffling and I am truly grateful for everything that has been handed to me since I came here with my life packed up in a suitcase as an insecure 21-year old in January of 2015. Happy to say that I've moved on and am happier than I've been in a long time.
Cheers everyone, here's to a fabulous 2019!
For quite some time I've wanted to become less reliant on my iPhone, and I was confident I would be just fine without a phone. That being said, I wasn't willing to give my phone up voluntarily for a little personal challenge, so the Universe decided to kill my iPhone X: it fell out of my pocket and the whole thing smashed and bent to the point where I was fascinated by how poorly the new iPhones are built. I also learned something.
1. I rediscovered ancient forms of communication.
That's right. It turns out I don't even need an iPhone to call, text, or FaceTime people. I can just do that from my MacBook or iPad. I might not be able to reach people who don't have iPhones, but that's alright with me. I don't know that many people anyways, and certainly even fewer people without iPhones, if any at all.
2. Without my phone, I all of a sudden had all this extra time on my hands.
I was literally sitting there staring into the wall wondering what the hell to do. I mean, there's only so much Alexa can do to keep you entertained, and I'm not the kind of person who can watch TV for more than 30 minutes without getting bored. So with the 'Screen Time'-feature I realized I spent an astonishing 6+ hours a day playing mobile games.
I found a quick solution: I started playing The Sims, Sim City, and Grand Theft Auto on my MacBook again. This way time flew, and before I knew it, I finally had my replacement phone.
3. New habits.
Getting around town without a phone is nearly impossible. I don't have a working wristwatch - I thought those were decorative. I don't care for an Apple Watch (what a stupid thing), and I don't feel like opening up my laptop on the train to see what time it is. So I just kind of tried to cope without knowing what time it was, and also without GPS, and without the ability to reach anybody outside of a free WiFi zone (anywhere in L.A.) - I was kind of clueless, but happily so.
I could feel my anxiety and blood pressure go down a little bit. It's nice to not be reachable.
And now that I have my phone back, I try to limit the time I spend using it as much as possible. I mean, I'm on my laptop right now, and I know that I can blog directly from my phone, it's probably easier too, but I just really like a good old keyboard with the 'Do Not Disturb'-function turned on, because fuck notifications (they're mostly reminders I ignore for infinity).
Earlier today, after a four hour long meeting in Santa Monica, I went to Eataly at the new Westfield in Century City for a business meeting / cocktails with lovely Louise from Hollywood Hot - we brought our own hot sauce. I like how my hand looks so huge that it actually has its own stainless steel stand.
As you may or may not have noticed, I've been offline for a few months. I've been growing increasingly tired of Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and whatever else is out there, and since blogging is such an ancient art that was perfected long ago (by me), I thought it'd be cool to be retro and bring it back in style.
There are a few things I feel like I need to clarify first. This was brought to my attention by my husband, who rarely goes online (except for when he wants to look at pictures of botched celebrities). He googled me, and found nothing but horrible pictures of me from a decade ago. Probably doesn't help that most of the search results are fake blogs claiming to be me, and the rest of the websites are either claiming that I'm a prostitute or a gold digger.
Well, these are the facts: This is the only website out there that is written by me, Lars Tangen-Ackerman, I'm running three successful businesses, and neither include selling sex or digging for gold. I'm paying my taxes on time, and I've been happily married for almost 4 years now.
Although I am flattered that those haters think I am attractive enough that someone would actually pay to have me sexually, I think it's highly inappropriate, but when I go off the grid, it keeps me on the radar, and even though I'm not sure what that radar is, I assume it's better to be on it than not.
I remember from elementary school that they said that everything we put online will come back to haunt us, but I humbly say that they were wrong: When people claim to be you and spread false rumors online about you, you have no control over that, and by the way, Karma is gonna come and bite you in the ass. (Karma's got razor sharp teeth)
I was originally gonna make a "2018 Year In Review" post, but figured that 2018 sucked so much that it's probably better to move on, and erase it from my memory. I'll erase it from my memory as soon as I have put up a few dreadful 2018 photos on my website, so that it can be remembered for all eternity, and when the AIs take over the world, they'll know that I gained 20 pounds and lost it again -- all in the same year, just again showing how uniquely talented and valuable to society I am.
As a highly respected human being in my community, I concluded that photoshopping should be left for the pros, and be reserved for those who are too insecure to show that they don't look like Barbie dolls in real life. Okay, truth be told: I'm too lazy to even think about editing away my giant pores. I don't have enough time on my hands to spend an hour editing a semi-shitty photo of myself that only my family, friends, and stalkers will see. For your amusement, I should say.
In 2018 we became local celebrities on the Westside. Even the CVS I go to had seen us on TV, and when I went in to pick up my prescription, I thought I was hallucinating when I saw pictures of us on the walls. I guess being on the wall of fame at the local CVS is quite a big accomplishment. If I don't survive 2019, I want "he was loved by his pharmacist" on my gravestone.
On Christmas Eve, we had our chosen family over for my dreadful vegan cooking, and lots of champagne. We also played cards with our niece, and that's all I can remember. We all know the holidays suck, and the fact that they are finally over, gives me enough strength to get out of bed in the morning.
I love that every new day brings new experiences. Remembering that some days are good, some days are bad, and some days are just meh, is just a fact of life. Perhaps we just need a little reminder now and then. But these ups and downs are all part of this adventurous journey that we call life, and I believe that we have more power over it than we might realize.
Today has been a surreal day, in a very good way. I got up very early and worked with my husband at our salon, and after about five hours there, I went to work for one of my favorite clients at her home in Bel Air, and we ended up going back to the salon in Beverly Hills together -- the gorgeous woman needed her hair done. And there's no better hairstylist than my husband in this town!
I've been meaning to decorate the salon for Halloween since like October 1st, but that's just not happened yet. So I went to a liquor store across the street from the salon to buy candy for our clients.
Almost all their candy was from Eastern Europe, and since I'm not fluent in Slavic, I ended up buying a bag full of what I am pretty sure was Snickers and Reese's Pieces with a Polish ingredient list. Lol.
They had lollipops though, and who doesn't like lollipops? I'm so not a candy person, but I can always lick on a lollipop.
We both just got home, and right now we're having a glass of wine while we're doing our thang. I've put on Beyoncé, and while Hubby is making jewelry, I'm writing this.
He just dropped a giant diamond ring in my wine glass, and I'm not sure whether to drink it or just pour myself a new one. For some reason I feel like diamonds should have antibacterial properties, but I guess that's just being blissfully ignorant.
I can't wait to share photos of our brand new patio and living room. We've been working on it for a couple of months now, and it's so lovely that I just hate leaving home, and coming home is like a wow-experience, every single time. I've been thinking about doing AirBnB in one of our spare guest suites, it would be a wonderful way to meet people from all over the world, but we're still a little too skeptical to make the final decision. Anyone with experiences to share?
I love you all, thank you for all your support and kind words of encouragement. It feels good to know that there are people out there who care for me, and I want to let you know that the feelings are mutual.
Even in the darkest of moments, speaking our truth can be the most effective step towards healing. I'm living proof... moving on to the next great thing!
I would like to finish by saying Fuck Photoshop. Body dysmorphia, eating disorders, anxiety, and depression are all on the rise. Flawlessness comes from within, and not via an app. This is me, too lazy to try to edit myself to look like someone I'm not. Embracing how we actually look, rather than trying to edit ourselves out of proportion might not make the world a better place, but perhaps we'll feel a little bit better about ourselves, without drugs or therapy. From now on I won't post any photoshopped pictures, it's just a matter of principle.
In the past few weeks I've written 14 blog posts that I've just, well, not published. It's not that I don't want my word out there, I think it's more about me getting more comfortable in my own skin, and doing what's good for me and my loved ones, rather than just writing for the purpose of writing. I'm still not sure what the purpose of this post is, but whatever, I've enjoyed creating it!
This is my first lottery ticket ever. We almost won $190 billion, but we didn't, so whatever... The point is, I'm being adventurous and trying new things that I've always steered away from. Um, technically it was my husband who got this at the gas station, but I still consider myself adventurous due to the fact that I actually checked whether or not we won $190 billion. Which we didn't... lol.
I can tell you one crazy thing, though! This might come as a shock to you all (or not), but I've never been into sports, and while I always cheered for my hometown's soccer team Molde Fotballklubb (MFK), it took me like a decade just to learn the rules of soccer, which is a game with fairly simple rules compared to all the American sports, like baseball and whatever else is out there. I'm clueless when it comes to basically any sport, I just know that whichever team has the most points win. And then they advance into more prestigious leagues, I guess...?
Our amazing botox/fillers-lady Elizabeth of Rand Rusher in Beverly Hills stopped by to get her hair as fiery hot as herself. Our clients are just the most amazing people, from all walks of life, all corners of the Earth, and it's just a whole big love fest. I'm sporting the kick ass vegan leather apron I got my husband for use at work, in an attempt to reduce the amount of new clothes we have to buy. One day at the salon = at least one forever-stained outfit, but not any more! Yay for brainpower.
However, 10 years ago I went to my first Dodgers game. I was like 14 and still living in Norway, just visiting L.A. for a language travel.
I didn't understand what the hell the players were doing on the field, and the free food was really the most exciting thing about it. Now that I actually live in Los Angeles, and the Dodgers are playing games like all the time, I'm kinda secretly hoping for the Dodgers to fail so I don't have to deal with the insane traffic that every game brings. A trip that would've taken me 20 minutes on the freeway can take 2 hours when the Dodgers are playing. No likey.
I'm also kind of cheering for the Dodgers, and want them to win the World Series or whatever it's called, because that would be cool. Wow, I'm really wordy this morning!
I guess this could be considered the first thing I've ever put in writing about sports. Even in college when I was writing for the university newspaper, and was asked to report on sports stories, I just came up with some excuse so I wouldn't have to put myself through all that.
As usual, life is a trip, with the good and the bad and everything in between. The weather is amazing (yes, I love you California), and today we're going shopping in Venice. My husband is so excited about it that he's literally been talking about what new outfits to get for a week now, so when he gets home in an hour, I'm gonna surprise him with a giftcard to his favorite store, and take him straight there.
I'm hoping for a beautiful rest of the day, gosh, I only slept two hours last night... But most of all I want to thank each and every one of you for reading all this nonsense, and even giving me feedback. Wow!
The sleep survey I published a little while ago here, (still time to complete it - please do), is almost at 100 respondents, and I can't wait to write a piece about healthy sleep habits, and reveal the huge differences between Americans and Europeans in sleep habits. So stay tuned for more!
Our dear friends Mary Jane & Cate + MJ's son Christopher, took us out for a fabulous vegan dinner with lovely cocktails at Gratitude on Canon Drive in Beverly Hills tonight.
The company was amazing. The food was beyond. The drinks were great. The service was impeccable.
And Chris brought a few "Fuck Trump!"-buttons from San Francisco for us to wear.
Well, more like a collection of three dozen different "Fuck Trump!"-buttons.
I chose the one with the rainbow flag, and Phil took the one with the middle finger.
Take your pick, right?
God, I miss San Francisco, how liberal it is, and everything about it except the weather. It really reminds me of Oslo.
What a fun evening!
I really needed to get out and be with people I love, sharing a meal, meaningful conversations, and lots of laughs and an overall amazing mood and a great vibe. Good therapy for the soul.
Thank you so much my dear friends.
- xo, Lars
BTW, check out my Snap story @larstangen :*
September was crazy -- a month full of new experiences, exciting adventures, and life changing moments.
It's been so much fun and such an experience helping my friend (and first celebrity client) set up her social media!
You all know who I'm talking about, the beautiful lady who danced with a broken foot (!) on Dancing With the Stars last night -- and who will repeat that again tonight.
That takes not only talent and stamina, but also courage and grace. Yes, I'm talking about Nancy McKeon of course! (Call 1.800.868.3411 to vote for #TeamMcVal!)
The experience of working with Nancy on DWTS has been nothing but amazing!
I even did my first Instagram Live video in September.
I'm not sure if I'll do it again, but that too was a valuable experience, and even though I felt embarrassed, people were really nice.
Life isn't always what it seems like, and the other day I posted a little piece on Instagram about this...
Every month has its good and bad moments, and everything in between. I guess that's the definition of life itself, even though we strive for perfection and everlasting happiness, it is impossible to feel the good without experiencing the bad.
In September I was featured in two newspapers. I’ve been on television. I bumped my toe and could barely walk for a week. Someone coughed on me and I had a cold for a few days. Someone even keyed my car! Yet I’m still here — waiting for the next chapter of this amazing adventure that we call life.
These pictures were taken for an interview with a Norwegian newspaper in early September. The feedback I have received on that piece has just been overwhelmingly loving and positive. I want to seize this opportunity to thank everyone (you know who you are) for your support and kindness. I can't believe I'm being called 'courageous' and 'brave'. I'm truly humbled.
I'm really just a regular guy, and I too have my insecurities... But I believe in being open and honest, truthful and kind. Paying it forward... I don't even know if I'm making any sense here, but I'm a writer, so I don't really have to, right?
Bring it on October!
I'm switching gears to a very upbeat and exciting venture. My husband's best friend Nancy McKeon is officially on Dancing With The Stars, and was the only star chosen for the big reveal this morning.
As I am a good friend of hers, I have taken on the role as her Personal Assistant here in Los Angeles.
Future posts will be in English, and my focus is on Nancy McKeon, Phil Ackerman, and the entertainment industry. Please note that if you have anything personal you want to talk to me about -- feel free to send me an email at email@example.com
Thank you for all the support! Tusen takk for all støtten! Time for a career change...!
My husband Phil Ackerman does her hair, and here's a little clip of them on set in the middle of the night. Check out my Instagram @larstangenackerman for more updates.
Nancy backstage with Val. Check out my Instagram @larstangenackerman for more updates.
I'm Lars, born and raised in Norway, living the dream in California.