A Holistic Approach: Dr. Shirley Madhere

7 years ago by

I met Shirley Madhere a few years ago through a friend and loved her right away. She is a plastic surgeon and an authority in her field, but she’s also the most approachable and sweetest person ever.

Of course I always have so many questions to ask – with her holistic approach, she’s become one of my number one references in beauty. She was the one to tell me to strip down my beauty regimen for example. She’s a real pro at less is more, and she has so many lessons to teach, even if like me you’ve never gone under the knife, I thought this could be a great conversation.

And it was.

Shirley is fiercely intelligent, utterly beautiful, and unique in her holistic approach to plastic surgery. We talked about the perception of beauty, the stigmas attached to plastic surgery and finding joy in helping people realize their own best version of themselves.

[podcast_episode episode=”252951″ ]

pardon my french shirley madhere atelier dore photo

On her holistic approach to plastic surgery…
Beauty is really a heady topic, it’s physical, emotional, spiritual, psychological, medical. So I try to incorporate all of that in my practice, I try to approach plastic surgery holistically and try to address overall wellness. The outside with the needles and the scalpels, as well as the inside with the nutrition and taking care of your self, making it about self-love, not just what you put out there physically.

On keeping her own beauty philosophy in check with patients…
I have to be very careful about pushing my aesthetic onto someone else, but I also try to be of service. Part of that service is educating my patients. There is an education that has to go on and a conversation, and it has to be both ways. I have to teach, but I also have to listen. It’s a constant challenging dynamic to provide service, be of service, to educate and teach, to listen and then to perform.

On the power of procedures…
Believe it or not, procedures can help heal, and if not help heal completely, on a psychological and spiritual level, they can help open the door to create the opening to heal.

On the perceived vanity of plastic surgery…
Plastic surgery isn’t just about the procedures. It’s about helping men and women achieve their best versions of themselves, and they just happen to manifest it through procedures. That’s it. It isn’t vanity. It’s fundamentally human and quintessentially important.

pardon my french shirley madhere atelier dore photo

pardon my french shirley madhere atelier dore photo

A Holistic Approach: Dr. Shirley Madhere

pardon my french shirley madhere atelier dore photo

pardon my french shirley madhere atelier dore photo

On trends in plastic surgery…
Trends definitely change! I have to say, five years ago, there was a lot of butt movement. People really wanted a bigger backside and would name certain celebrities who have that particular asset! But now, it’s a lot of lips.

On plastic surgery in L.A. vs. NYC…
Not only is the definition of beauty totally individual, but there are regional differences! I used to work, live and practice in L.A., so I understand that aesthetic. I now live, work and practice in New York, which is a different aesthetic. If making generalizations, in New York, the work tends to be on a smaller scale. I hear more “I want subtle, natural, not too big,” although there are exceptions, of course. Generally, when I was working in L.A., it was on the other side of the spectrum. A little more pronounced, more voluminous and voluptuous.

On facing sexism during her education and in the industry…
The isms?? Oh boy, I’ve had a lot of that. Throughout my entire career. Training, school, it has been an evolution. I have grown. It manifests as adversity. Just pure, straight up, cold-blooded adversity. Initially I fought against it, I was not an easy student and probably created a lot of my own drama because I fought and was defiant. Finally when I learned to let go and release, accept and just do me, and change my behavior, as opposed to someone else’s, it got better.

On botox…
It’s so natural! Completely natural. It’s a product, a substance, a toxin, but a chemical that is produced naturally by a bacterium. We exploit nature for beauty! It is a beautiful thing!

On the five things she recommends to everyone…
Eat clean and try to find what works best for you. Sound and uninterrupted sleep. Exercise. To help me decompress, I do yoga, it’s a mind and body connection. But whatever works for you, get it in! Overall, for physical wellness, you have to have to some cardio, and that really is important as it keeps your heart healthy and keeps things flowing. Drink lots of water. And the fifth thing would be just to surround yourself with positivity.

A Holistic Approach: Dr. Shirley Madhere

Special thanks to The Chamberlain Hotel in West Hollywood.
Shirley Madhere, MD – Founder, Holistic Plastic Surgery: Person before procedure.
Consultations in-office and online here.

List of other things discussed…
The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself, by Michael A. Singer
The Idiot, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Hyaluronic Acid
80/20 Rule


Add yours
  • J’aime beaucoup sa robe, mais aussi cette entrevue. Excellente idée de mettre ce post aujourd’hui, le 18 mai, fête du drapeau Haïtien!!

  • Plastic surgery surely has that stigma attached to it and for that reason I loved reading this interview. Surely breaks the stereotype! Lovely words and thoughts.

  • Carie May, 24 2017, 2:49

    Thanks, Sharon! We couldn’t agree more! xx The Atelier

  • Je suis sûrement préjugée et fermée d’esprit, mais pour moi la chirurgie (à part des exceptions, comme après des brûlures de peau) c’est un grand non. Je trouve ça assez choquant la façon de présenter la chirurgie comme quelque chose de normale. Vraiment, la femme s’est libérée du corset pour risquer des opérations médicales juste pour être plus belle ?! Non merci..

  • ALBANE May, 18 2017, 1:23 / Reply

    Le botox “C’est tellement naturel ! C’est complètement naturel. C’est un produit, une substance, une toxine, mais c’est un agent chimique produit naturellement par une bactérie. On se sert de la nature à des fins esthétiques, c’est beau !” euh là non. et pourtant je n’ai aucun souci avec la chirurgie esthétique. Mais par pitié qu’on ne nous la joue pas ambiance c’est naturel parce que la mode à LA est au naturel. c’est pas parce que le produit est naturel que se l’injecter sous la peau l’est. quand je vois la tête de meg ryan je trouve vraiment pas que le botox soit naturel. en tous cas ça y est quelques mois de vie à LA et tu commences à nous parler d'”approche holistique de la chirurgie esthétique”. c’est fou comme le lieu dans lequel on vit peut nous influencer.

  • As a long time reader of your site Garance, I’d like to respectfully weigh-in for the dissent:

    “Plastic surgery isn’t just about the procedures. It’s about helping men and women achieve their best versions of themselves” – I challenge the very premise of this statement. Why does the “best version” of ourselves mean we must look young and unlined? The best version of ourselves is what we do, how we connect to other, not what we look like in a selfie. We need to turn away from the mirror every once in a while. In my experience, folks who start with plastic surgery end up becoming more dissatisfied with their appearance and keep getting more. The result is we are pushing the needle on what is “normal looking” – blinding white teeth, eyebrows up to our hairline, foreheads so smooth and shiny you can see your reflection in them…- its scary.

    “On Botox: It’s so natural! Completely natural.” -There is nothing natural about injecting toxins in your face to freeze facial muscles to prevent movement and wrinkles. Notwithstanding the organic origins Botox, to claim or suggest otherwise is disingenuous and silly.

    As designer Isaac Mizrahi said once, the best way to look 60 when you’re 40 is face work.

  • Mamavalveeta03 May, 21 2017, 4:55

    I agree with you 100%, Terry!!!

  • Ingrid May, 22 2017, 2:08

    Me too!

  • Juli Frankel May, 22 2017, 5:27

    I agree! To truly support women is to support who we naturally are. Please don’t be sucked into getting poison injected. There are a million horror stories involving plastic surgery…you might want to explore those further. As a, bit older, female on the affluent Westside of Los Angeles – I can tell you first hand about the frozen faces and sagginess that I see daily. Not to mention the fried faces from all the skin treatments that abound.

    Please don’t take your blog in this direction!!!!!

  • Eh non! Pour ce que j’ai pu en voir autour de moi, le Botox ce n’est pas beau du tout! Tu t’égares, Garance à sortir des articles pareils… ;)

  • Heather MacLeod May, 18 2017, 11:49 / Reply

    Garance I listened closely when you asked the question about cutting the skin and healing the psyche. On a far end of the spectrum if you were Sikh you would feel so much that the body (as is) is so sacred you would celebrate the divinity of yourself just exactly as it is. And to stand fast behind that concept would bring yourself more divinity more and more each day. The quest for peace changes from always looking outside of yourself, to looking directly at yourself as the source. What a deeply refreshing perspective.

    Listening to Shirley’s answer, she is very aware of the idea of some people who have gotten to the point of “hating parts of themselves”. Even writing that sentence out is very sad. It’s very sad that part of our culture/the marketing creates hatred of people towards themselves. We all need to be healed from that perspective, because certainly any division of the Self from the Body is disease-creating, and begets suffering. Hatred is a very strong very violent energy. Can you imagine? And if you are a mother disliking yourself, you are going to inevitably pass this along to your little ones. And what a farce! Our children love us exactly as we are. We should lovingly shift to see ourselves through their eyes.

    I hope that more and more, Shirley’s procedures become very mimimized, and that she approaches her practice of beauty from a foundation of teaching women firstly how to care for and nurture themselves through non-surgical beauty practices. And maybe cutting the skin becomes a very slight un-occasional addition of her practice. I hope this one day becomes the shift for most of her clients.

    Much love!!

    Pippa & George Interior Design

  • Katell May, 19 2017, 6:25 / Reply

    Quand on demande à un homme ce qu’il préfère chez une femme il parle plutôt de sa façon de bouger, de parler, d’être, plutôt que de la perfection de son nez, de la forme de ses lèvres…
    C’est le charme qui compte, pas la beauté esthétique. Résistons à ce diktat du monde de la mode, ne rêvons pas d’être quelqu’un d’autre mais essayons plutôt d’être nous en plus apaisé, plus en accord, plus éveillé, …
    Le travail c’est à l’intérieur qu’il faut le faire, pas à l’extérieur!

  • While I appreciate the differing points of view on your blog, just…..NO. I’ve never understood cosmetic surgery and despite Dr Madhere’s appealing character, expertise, and holistic descriptions, I will stay with the face I have. The American appetite for physical “self-improvement” is fundamentally self-abnegating.

    I like being human.

  • Mamavalveeta03 May, 21 2017, 4:57


  • Fracol May, 19 2017, 8:10 / Reply

    C’est étrange de penser qu’en changeant la surface, on acquiert une meilleure estime de soi. Pour moi c’est un leurre, une illusion. C’est d’ailleurs comme cela que je perçois la vie Californienne et spécialement LA, le royaume de l’illusion. En ce sens, cet article prend acte de cette illusion. Mais quid du regard critique ? En tant que française, tu as certainement développé cet esprit critique. Du coup, je suis assez déçue de ne pas lire une sorte de questionnement (même sous-jacent) contre ce système de croyance.

    Et puis il y a une autre question qui est posée ici en filigrane sur les questions de mode et de beauté sans toutefois la remettre en cause, la questionner. Les fesses ? les lèvres ? et demain, qu’en sera-t-il ? Aussi il est facile de reléguer au fond du placard son jean slip passé de mode. Mais je m’interroge de ce que l’on fait de ses fesses rondes ou de ses lèvres botoxées quand elles ne sont plus à la mode.

    En bref, revisiter les philosophes de l’esthétique permettrait de proposer des grilles de lecture différentes aux lectrices et de ne pas avaler tout cru de belles illusions.

  • Alexandra May, 19 2017, 10:22 / Reply

    Heuhhhh ben NON .
    Et le côté le botox c’est naturel pardon mais ça c’est un gros gros gros mensonge.
    Ok ça fait dix mille ans que les femmes sont leurs meilleurs ennemies et se limitent à leurs attributs physiques n’ayant de cesse de voir que des imperfections …
    Chère Garance pour moi votre blog c’est celui de filles libres et assumées par celles qui sont effrayées par une ride du lion. Bises

  • I’m honestly surprised to read so much dissent in the comments – I wouldn’t describe myself as an advocate of plastic surgery necessarily, but I still found this interview positive and enlightening. I loved reading Dr. Madhere’s perspective on the subject, which comes from a place of much experience and education; many of the comments here, especially those criticizing her claim that it’s “natural,” seem to stem more from personal stigma and philosophy. Either way, I think it’s strange for people to feel so vigorously opposed to it when it’s much easier to just accept that some people want it.

  • Albane May, 20 2017, 4:37

    Je pense que la chirurgie plastique est très bien quand elle est bien faite et tant mieux si elle aide certaines personnes à se sentir mieux dans leur peau. Je suis la première à être saoulée qu’on invoque le naturel pour justifier son rejet de la chirurgie esthétique. Je pense que chacun est libre de faire ce qu’il veut de son corps et que s’epiler se raser se maquiller ne sont pas naturels non plus. Et que ce n’est pas un problème. Mais par contre j’ai beaucoup de mal avec la mauvaise foi donc je suis agacée de lire que le botox est naturel. Dire que l’on n’est pas obligé d’accepter le corps que la nature nous a donné ok mais nous faire un discours marketing bidon du style le botox c’est naturel c’est juste non.

  • Mamavalveeta03 May, 21 2017, 4:53 / Reply

    The overall tone of the conversation strikes me as someone trying to convince themselves that “plastic surgery isn’t vanity!” And re:Botox….”It’s natural! It’s a beautiful thing!” If you search around enough, you can find some “expert” to support almost any opinion. The concept of plastic surgery as helping people “achieve the best versions of themselves” Is laughable. Yeah, the best version of your face and neck cut open, or of a toxin being injected near your eyes.

    The fact that there are trends in plastic surgery is rather disturbing, too. So, when big butts are out, do you go back for another surgery to get your cheek implants removed??? And “duck lips” (which, c’mon, they always are!) are universally poked fun at.

    I also take issue with the idea of plastic surgery being “healing” – If you’ve had a mastectomy and want reconstruction, for sure. Or if you were injured in a car accident, from physical abuse, or had trauma from war, of course! But how is it healing to convince myself that I’m not good enough exactly the way I am, wrinkles, sun spots and all?

    If you want surgery that badly, just call it what it is: PLASTIC surgery! And yes, it IS vanity. Don’t try to convince yourself that you’ll look so much better afterward…just embrace the fake for what it is. But consider this: Maybe, just maybe, our best selves are the perfect creatures we already are.

  • violette May, 22 2017, 4:34 / Reply

    surprise et un poil de tristesse en lisant cet article… les photos sont toujours aussi belles, toi aussi, Garance… mais qu’y a-t-il de toi dans le choix de cette publication? ta distance, ton sens critique, ton humour? quel leurre…..

  • Delphine May, 22 2017, 11:09 / Reply

    Why so judgmental???
    The only reason most women are still hiding getting work done is because of other women’s judgement.
    We embrace technology, science, but we can’t allow women to use advancement for their physical appearance?
    Is it vanity? yes, just like when a women buys an anti aging cream or an anti Cellulite cream.
    And why always bringing back to Garance moving to LA? Giselle Bundchen went to PARIS when in need of plastic surgery…
    If only women stopped being so judgmental towards one another, why care if someone got botox, WHY?

  • Mamavalveeta03 June, 6 2017, 4:25

    Why is it judgmental to express my opinion? The reason I think women should really, REALLY question it is because it’s SURGERY! People do still die while having plastic surgery. And you can’t change your mind once it’s done. I’ve seen some really bad plastic surgery and Botox gone awry. Yes, creams and serums are “vanity,” but they’re not invasive procedures. Nothing could convince me that a “trend” is worth changing my face for.

  • Look, I have nothing against it if you want plastic surgery. But for the most part it’s vanity, pure and simple.

  • this podcast drew me in for a moment until i realized how ridiculous it is. it is easy to convince ourselves of anything but plastic surgery is vanity, it feeds insecurity, and does nothing to support the holistic body. trust your gut. honor your intuition. eat well. and age gracefully and with gratitude.

    i am so saddened by this podcast and hope young people won’t look toward botox as a ‘natural treatment’ — there are no long term studies on their effects, which could lead to permanent paralysis.

  • Atelier Doré May, 24 2017, 2:52 / Reply

    The topic of plastic surgery is a super sensitive one and we are committed to showing different perspectives, especially when they come from specialists like Dr. Madhere, who has a unique approach to her work.

    People have a wide variety of reasons for wanting and getting plastic surgery and preferences vary so what might feel natural to one is not the same for all.

    Differing opinions is what makes for great conversations and something we really value!

    xx The Atelier

  • Meryl weis May, 28 2017, 9:19 / Reply

    Any idea what the doctor is wearing? It’s such a beautiful dress!

  • Quand j’étais petite et jusqu’à la fin du lycée, je voulais devenir chirurgien esthétique. Je ne sais pas vraiment pourquoi mais ce métier me fascinait, j’y voyais surtout le côté “psychologique” d’aider les gens à se sentir mieux que le côté “transformation en quelqu’un d’autre”. En fait, je pensais même que je pouvais orienter des gens pour qu’ils soient plus beaux en restant eux-même, en freinant un peu leurs envies trop “folles” de chirurgie comme on peut le voir parfois.
    Bon après, je ne me suis pas engagée dans des études de médecine car je ne me sentais pas capable d’y arriver mais aujourd’hui, j’ai développé une passion pour la mode, ce qui m’a fait ouvrir un blog il y a 6 ans. Je parle de ça car j’y trouve un gros point commun : celui de se sentir mieux, se sentir plus belle, plus confiante, plus forte, en restant soi-même mais en “s’améliorant”.
    Quand je m’habille (au sens “faire un effort vestimentaire”), je me sens clairement plus forte (sans pour autant me sentir nulle quand je suis nue/au naturel/sans “artifice”).
    Pour avoir été privée de ça des années en sortant avec un fou, je peux dire que la mode n’a rien de superficiel ou d’inutile. Je compare à la chirurgie esthétique car on entend souvent les mêmes commentaires à son sujet : “mais ce n’est pas utile, reste comme tu es, nos défauts font partie de nous, c’est superficiel ,…”. Pareil quand on dit qu’on aime les fringues (pour résumer) :)

    Du coup, je pense que notre jugement doit être un peu plus modéré concernant tout ça. C’est sûr que la chirurgie n’a rien d’anodin et qu’on ne se fait pas refaire le nez comme on achète un jean chez Zara… mais elle peut aussi rendre plus fort, plus sûr de soi et plus à l’aise avec les autres, comme quand on a trouvé le jean parfait et qu’on se sent prête à conquérir le monde. Il y a un gros côté psychologique derrière tout ça, comme le souligne Shirley.

    Après, je ne sais pas si je ferais de la chirurgie plastique/esthétique un jour, je ne me suis pas encore posée la question car je ne me sens pas concernée mais je comprends la plupart des personnes qui le font.


  • Garance, I’m your fans for your natural beauty and simplicity style. It’s good to have some views of plastic surgery and botox in your blog,just for knowledge and keeping up of what’s going on now. But just keep doing promote the natural beauty, how we can aging beautifully without strange things injected in our face, body, etc. However the last tips from dr. Madhere are so totally true, and my Mom have told me most likely the same tips too : and she’s high school graduate,75 years old, healthy and look fabulous..and you and me will be like that too, without botox and surgery

  • A bigger issue has been revealed here – some women are still committed to shaming other women for what they do with their bodies.
    You can love yourself just the way you are without tearing down those that choose to change their appearance. You can also love yourself/have self-respect and have a procedure done – the two aren’t necessarily related… Do all women who wear makeup have low self esteem or do we just feel an extra boost of confidence with a few coats of mascara? Who are you to say what’s too far? Plastic surgery can absolutely be a form of self-love and it isn’t for us to judge! Allow women to make choices about their OWN bodies and stop policing them!
    Side note to the entitled… this site is the creative expression of the Atelier – they owe us nothing! We are here to admire, be inspired or move along & if you decide the latter, I don’t think your judgement will be missed.

  • I just started listening to the podcast a couple weeks ago and have listened to several. I really enjoy them, and I really love Garance, and I mean this in the nicest way possible, but she has to stop interrupting and talking over everyone so much. There are so many times where I’m listening to one person speak and they are interrupted and it’s so frustrating because I really wanted to hear them make their point and then they don’t get to. Today I got so frustrated with the roommate podcast I had to shut it off. Again, no disrespect, just trying to be constructive. Thanks!

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