What does Nicole Kidman have in common with Barry Bonds? According to Academy Award-winning actress Rachel Weisz, both have used performance-enhancing drugs. In Kidman's case, Weisz is referring to Botox.
"It should be banned for actors, as steroids are for sportsmen," Weisz said in the August issue of the UK edition of Harper's Bazaar.
Steroids have been a major issue in baseball the last few years, and Bonds is the most prominent athlete to be tied to steroid use. The latest baseball star to be linked to steroids, Manny Ramirez of the Los Angeles Dodgers, came back after a 50-game suspension to thunderous applause. His fans didn't seem to care.
Steroid use is mostly associated with athletes, but Botox is less harmful and more widely used. When we think about plastic surgery, Michael Jackson is the first person who comes to mind. Botox use, however, is different than other major types of plastic surgery. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons estimated that 4.6 million Botox procedures were performed in 2007, making it the most common cosmetic operation in this country. Practically anyone can do the operation: plastic surgeons, dermatologists, nurse practitioners, nurses, physicians' assistants, and medical spas.
Although Botox is mostly used by women, there are an increasing number of men who have started using the drug, which is injected into the skin to smooth out wrinkles. According to the Web site eMedTV.com, side effects of Botox for cosmetic use include "droopy eyelids, nausea, muscle weakness, facial pain, indigestion, tooth problems, and high blood pressure."
Don't look for your favorite actor or actress to show signs of these side effects on the big screen, as they are very rare - less than 3%, according to eMedTV.
According to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, side effects of steroid use include, for men, "shrinking of the testicles, reduced sperm count, infertility, baldness, and development of breasts".
The 39-year-old Weisz is best known for her roles in the "Mummy" movie franchise, and won an Academy Award for her work in "The Constant Gardener" in 2005 co-starring with Ralph Fiennes.
The English-born actress admits that she likes it better in London than in New York. She said that English women are much less worried about their physical appearance than in the United States. "I love the way girls in London dress. It's so different to the American 'blow-dry and immaculate grooming thing'."
The whole "Nicole Kidman is to acting what Barry Bonds is to baseball" analogy that Weisz made in her magazine interview is coming under some scrutiny. Typically, and Barry Bonds is a good example of this, steroids improve performance. In addition, they're much more dangerous. Weisz asks us, on the other hand, "why would you want to iron out a frown?" Botox would, in that case, diminish the performance.
Weisz said Botox injections should be banned for all actors. But to compare the procedure to steroids is like comparing a Chihuahua to a mountain lion. Barry Bonds' head has grown as much as his body. You can see the effects of years of steroids. It's not known by the general public what other side effects he may be suffering, like "shrinking of the testicles," but long-term use is extremely dangerous.
Nicole Kidman, on the other hand, looks just fine. I agree with Rachel Weisz that Botox injections are a waste of money, and she seems to be doing well without them. But steroid use is a real problem in this country, and to trivialize it by comparing it to Botox makes absolutely no sense.
If I see Nicole Kidman with "droopy eyelids," then I'll start to worry. In the meantime, Manny Ramirez is back to hitting home runs for the Dodgers, and instead of apologizing to his fans, he said: "Why do I have to? I'm one of the best players to put the uniform on." He's one role model we can do without.
Steroids and Botox have nothing in common. Rachel Weisz is right, though. In America, we are obsessed with the way we look. That's more of a psychological problem. But she goes on to say that the use of Botox injections leave actors less able to convey emotion, and that it harms the acting industry as much as steroids harm athletes.
You've got to be kidding.