Jennifer Grey is looking back on a decision that changed her career and life upon the release of her new memoir, Out of the Corner, in a new interview. The 62-year-old actress admitted to regretting getting two nose jobs after starring in her breakthrough role as Baby opposite Patrick Swayze in the 1987 film Dirty Dancing and explained that it left her looking “unrecognizable” to some, including Michael Douglas. She recalled attending a premiere shortly after her second rhinoplasty and said the actor didn’t know who she was when he turned around.
“That was the first time I had gone out in public. And it became the thing, the idea of being completely invisible, from one day to the next,” she told PEOPLE. “In the world’s eyes, I was no longer me. and the weird thing was that thing that I resisted my whole life, and the thing I was so upset with my mother for always telling me I should do my nose. I really thought it was capitulating. I really thought it meant surrendering to the enemy camp. I just thought, ‘I’m good enough. I shouldn’t have to do this.’ That’s really what I felt. ‘I’m beautiful enough.'”
Jennifer further explained that her mother, Jo Wilder, who was also an actress, was the first person to suggest she get a nose job to make it in the acting industry. “She loves me, loved me, always has, and she was pragmatic because she was saying, ‘Guess what? It’s too hard to cast you. Make it easier for them.’ And then I did and she was right,” she said. “It wasn’t like, ‘You’re not pretty.’ It’s like, ‘Guess what? If you don’t want to be an actor, okay. But if you wanna be an actor…'”
“But when I was a kid, I was completely anti-rhinoplasty,” she continued. “I mean it was like my religion. I loved that my parents did it. [Underwent rhinoplasty] I understand it was the 50s. I understand they were assimilating. I understood that you had to change your name and you had to do certain things, and it was just normalized, right? You can’t be gay. You can’t be Jewish. You know, you can’t look Jewish. You’re just trying to fit into whatever is the group think.”
In her memoir, Jennifer also touches upon her nose jobs and how they made her feel. “Overnight I lose my identity and my career,” she reportedly wrote. “I spent so much energy trying to figure out what I did wrong, why I was banished from the kingdom. That’s a lie. I banished myself.”
In addition to writing about plastic surgery, Jennifer writes about other memorable moments throughout her career and personal life, including dating actors Matthew Broderick and Johnny Depp.
Out of the Corner comes out on May 3.