Interview of Pierjean Albrecht, Marbella Clinic, published in February 2007, in the Valentine issue of ESSENTIAL MAGAZINE.
“Keep young and Beautiful (if you want to be loved) was a song from a 1930s musical that has become a mantra for the modern age, keeping cosmetic surgeons in big demand from an increasingly younger clientele – some of them school age – who think life will be rosier with firmer breast or a prettier face. Now, in an unprecedented new book to be published later this year, one leading member of the profession claims nothing could be further from the truth. Pierjean Albrecht of the Marbella Clinic, talked to Belinda Beckett about his theories on love, happiness and the beauty myth
To his patients, Dr. Pierjean Albrecht of Marbella Clinic, is more then a plastic surgeon. He is a magician whith the ability to turn frogs into princes, ugly ducklings into swans and even wind back the age clock. It is easy to see why, looking at pre-surgery pictures of badly scarred, lined, jowly or flat-chested clients , and smooth-taut, pert results he achieves. There is only one problem – they all see him as a happiness doctor, able to transform their lives as well as their features, with a few deft incisions of his scalpel.
With skills acquired through 16 years of intensive training, Pierjean Albrecht, Marbella Clinic, can certainly deliver sexier bodies and younger looks and he freely admits that a more toned or shapely physique and a fresher-looking face can work wonders for self-esteem. However – and he is probably the first member of his profession to say so in print – aesthetic surgery is only of little help with the one thing that the majority of his clients desire, deep down, and that is, to be loved
“You can’t buy love with a facelift or breast augmentation any more than you can with a Ferrari or a Hermes handbag and yet, every day in my work, I see patients trying to pursue happiness only through physical improvements” he says. Out of a sense of professional responsibility, Dr. Albrecht (Pierjean) has put into words what colleagues in his profession rarely talk about in public, “to reassure the younger generation in particular, that they must trust in their inner qualities, look inside themselves for the key to their happiness, and learn to give”
What began as a series of articles published in his own magazine “Transform-Magazine”, grew into a manuscript for a 240-pages book which took him three years to write, over weekends, and contains startling revelations, among them that:
– The majority of patients are not being honest when they say they want a procedure “just for themselves”
– Almost 100% of patients are unhappy in their romantic partnerships and think aesthetic surgery will be a quick fix.
– Lipossuction and/or breast augmentation have become popular 18th birthday gifts from parents to their children.
– Children as young as 14 years have sought liposuction-with parental consent (It is Dr. Albrecht’s policy always to refuse this procedure to anyone under 18).
His book covers Pierjean Albrecht’s own formula for finding love and happiness, how cosmetic surgery can be used positively to achieve realistic goals, and cites many poignant real-life cases, such as the 27-year-old disc jockey of 27 , who was thrown into a panic at the sight of the slightest line on his face for fear he would lose his teenage following, and consequently, his job. And there is also the story of an 18-year-old girl who was reduced to tears by a plastic surgeon who told her: “No one could live with a nose like yours.” Seeking a second opinion from Dr Albrecht, in the Marbella Clinic, who explained that he could her cuter, but not more beautiful as she was good looking already, she went away with her nose, and self-belief intact.
“In today’s society, there is a huge pressure on young people to have the supermodels bodies or film stars looks in order to gain the approval and admiration of their peers,” says Pierjean Albrecht, from Marbella Clinic. “Almost every client tells me they only want this for themselves, but this is not true. When I ask them if they would still go through plastic surgery if they lived alone on a desert island, the answer is NO. “
“The problem is that happiness depends on external factors over which we have little control. In theory, we could say that we can work hard to earn enough money to be happy, we can develop the necessary skills to seduce, we can improve our looks to find partners and we can take care of our physical fitness to preserve good health, but this is a false paradise. With money, beauty and health, we can seduce, but true love requires more. “
“Epicurus taught us that we should know how to distinguish between what will brings us happiness, and what makes us search indefintly for that happiness, which in the end becomes a source of dissatisfaction. These are desiresthat are difficult to achieve, such as glory, fame, riches and power, rather than attainable things, such as enjoyement of the beauty of nature and the simple pleasures of life. “
“The paradox of our era is that we are aware of inner happiness, but develop more and more consumer products to achieve it, that are mere playthings and tools for pleasure, most of them contributing to global warming. The pursuit of health is replaced by an egocentric search for a pretty and efficient body, the pursuit of happiness by the pursuit of fun, and the pursuit of love by the pursuit of sex. “
Pierjean Albrecht’s own childhood has very much influenced his beliefs. He was brought up in the forests of the Vosges, near Strasbourg, where nature played a key role. “It was a beautiful place, where everything was in perfect harmony, but when I went out into the real world, the opposite was the case,” he said. “It made me think. Also my parents gave me total freedom and trust, there was love, but no rules. Naturally I made mistakes along the way, which also makes you think. I have been practicing meditation for the last 20 years. We should all take a long, honest appraisal of ourselves, it is very important in finding the inner peace we all seek, enabling us to enjoy life as free prople, not enslaved to our desires. Then we have more give to others “
“Those enslaving desires tiraniques arise from with the confusion of happiness with pleasure, which begins in the cradle”, says Dr Albrecht. “From the momentwhen we cry for our mother’s milk, and are soothed when we are given it, we are aware of that feeling of satisfaction that causes us to confuse the gratifullfiled desire with happiness. Later in life the famous adrenaline comes into play . This fast-acting drug has a short-term effect. You constantly need more of it, because the very essence of pleasure is that it does not last. All magazines for men and women, carry articles on sex, but instead of promoting a couple’s successful sex life, through love andtenderness, they make people believe that it is a question of pure technique. You can have great sex with occasional partners, but it is a thousand times better if your body is in sync with your heart. It is about giving and sharing delicate feelings, rather than taking and keeping physical pleasure. “
Dr. Pierjean Albrecht, from Marbella Clinic, feels that young people in particular are losing their way.” They live in an unreal world with their iPods, and mobile phones and computer games that permit them to live a virtual life that is not theirs, where everyone looks like Lara Croft. They have more so-called pleasures than previous generations, but it is obvious that they are no happier. On the contrary, pleasure can be the ennemy of happiness, which can not be found through material possessions. Nature, birdsong, contemplating the sky, the clouds, the sea, there are things that can bring us moments of intense pleasure and happiness. And when it comes to finding love, there is a simple shortcut, you have to give love. Once you do that, you are so complete that you no longer need to seek love. Love comes as a gift, on top of an already existing feeling of permanent happiness. Anyone who manages to love themself and others, without expecting anything in return and with compassion, comes closest to achieving their own personal and permanent happiness “
Although Pierjean Albrecht has found much of that happiness through the rewarding relationships he shares with his patients, it is surprising that this good-looking, eligible bachelor has never chosen to marry. “My job is demanding and I don’t want to make someone unhappy by never being there. ” he says. “However, I personally believe that, in any relationship, passion is best preserved by a little distance. When they first meet, couples are very enthusiastic about the qualities they share. It is not until they live together, facing life’s day to day problems, that they discover what they don’t have in common, and these dissimilarities can destroy a marriage. “
At 44, but looking 34, many may wonder wether Pierjean Albrecht, from Marbella Clinic, is a selfportrait of his own art. In fact his youthful looks are genetically inherited, but he will certainly try his own procedures “when the time comes, and when I have time.” Generally, he recommends 30 as the best age for starting treatment, when the skin is more elastic. He studied medicine and general surgery, before branching into plastic aesthetic surgery, gaining a Ph.D. SUMA CUM LAUDE, which allows him to teach and carry out research. He has developed many new techniques and written papers for leading medical jpublications such as the “Aesthetic Surgery Journal” last August, in which he describes an advanced but less invasive process, working on many details of the face to achieve more natural results with less visible scarring than for a standard facelift.
Being French, he naturally compares it with the fashion world . “It’s the difference between ready-to-wear clothes and haute couture – the secret is in the small details, rather than big cuts which can produce scary movie results. It is very fulfilling to be able to help people feel better about themselves. There is nothing wrong with taking advantage of today’s extraodinary techniques to look younger and sexier, but we must learn to use this “blessing” wisely and only for the right reasons.
Dr. Albrecht is a surgeon who specializes in Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, registered at the General Medical Council of Malaga. He is also an Expert Witness to the Court.