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Alexis Stone
courtesy of Instagram/@thealexisstone

This artist spent months transforming himself into the Bride of Wildenstein


TextAlex Peters

And then last night, he pulled off his face

Manchester-based drag queen and make-up artist Elliot Joseph Rentz, also known as Alexis Stone, became Instagram famous for his incredible celebrity transformations – turning himself into everyone from Adele to Post Malone to Anna Wintour.

Then in August this year, Rentz, who had already had cheek fillers, rhinoplasty and Botox, announced that he would be undergoing major plastic surgery. Explaining his decision in an emotional YouTube video, Rentz said: “I don’t want to look the way I look today, I don’t like the way I look. I don’t connect with what I see, I never have. So I’m changing it all. In a month’s time, I’m having dramatic surgery.”

In November, after posting various pre- and post-op images of himself on Instagram, Rentz revealed his “new” face. Closely resembling his heroes Jocelyn Wildenstein and Priscilla Presley, Rentz debuted exaggerated cheekbones, cat-eyes, an enlarged jaw and fuller lips. The transformation, however, drew more criticism than praise.

“I’m glad ur happy but you look weird and terrifying, sorry,” said one commenter. “I am actually so scared I pray that this isn’t real what have you done,” wrote another. “JESUS........... JESUS......... JESUS....... WHY JESUS...... WTF?” said a third.

Over the next few months, Rentz continued to post on his social media channels, including a ‘Get Ready With Me’ tutorial and a 40-minute video in which he answered questions from followers which touched on topics including his mental health and sobriety. Then, on New Year’s Eve, Rentz announced his first “brand collaboration” and uploaded a video in partnership with The Creme Shop. It was your average blogger x brand collab...

Until he pulled off his new face.

Following the reveal, Rentz posted another video which follows him in the six months leading up to and immediately after debuting his “plastic surgery.” In the blog, which spans from June until November, Rentz opens up about his motivation behind what he calls “Project Reinvention,” saying: “For the last year and a half, from when I have started having Botox or filler, I have, every day, been called botched, I’ve been called a monster. There is such a stigma behind plastic surgery.”

Citing Mrs Doubtfire as a childhood hero, Rentz explains: “This is my modern day version of living the fantasy,” as he used the social experiment to explore and “bring attention to the social construct of making a monster. If enough people scream and shout that someone’s a monster or that they’re botched… it becomes believable.”

The blog reveals the elaborate process involved in the stunt, as Rentz travels back and forth to Barcelona to collaborate with Oscar-award winning make-up and special effects artist David Marti on multiple masks and prosthetics which Rentz wore every time he left the house or filmed a video for over three months.

In the aftermath of the reveal, Rentz’s stunt shines a harsh spotlight on the pressures our social media-centred society puts on people to fit unrealistic beauty standards while at the same time levelling intense criticism at those who try too hard to achieve them; and asks us to question the double standards of what we deem as acceptable and unacceptable cosmetic surgery, and who gets celebrated or punished.

Tomorrow night we'll be speaking to Rentz all about it over on our Instagram. Stay tuned.

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