Local News

Bullying drives young woman to plastic surgery

Posted May 14, 2015

— Rolesville teenager Amy Arnold put up with bullying taken to an extreme. The teasing began when she was in second grade.

"I cried every night. I didn't even want to go to school," she said.

Classmates ridiculed her nose.

"They were like, 'You look like Toucan Sam from the Fruit Loops box,'" Arnold said.

She became so depressed that she didn't care about school. She didn't even want to get out of bed and face another day. She thought about suicide.

Although she didn't go so far as to take her own life, Arnold took extreme measures to end the abuse.

She scoured the Internet for solutions and learned about rhinoplasty – plastic surgery on the nose.

"I was doing research on it, looking on YouTube at people’s stories, how they got rhinoplasty, and I was like, that could be a good thing to do," she said.

Arnold discussed the idea with her parents. They met with Dr. Adam Stein, a facial plastic surgeon in Raleigh.

"I was like, 'I'm going to get this surgery,'" she said. "My family had doubts of course."

Stein said it was obvious that Arnold was in serious pain.

"She was pretty emotionally traumatized," he said.

Still, it's not an easy decision for Stein to operate on a teen.

"It's a life-changing experience," he said. "It's not like getting a haircut. If you don't like it, you can let your hair grow back and try again."

Arnold impressed Stein with her maturity.

"This was one of those times where I was actually wholeheartedly recommending the surgery," he said.

On Aug. 21, Arnold had the surgery. She documented her journey in a YouTube video aimed at giving strength to other young people who are bullied.

Even before the swelling subsided, Arnold said she felt better.

"It's like I'm looking at a new person and a better person. I'm more confident," she said. "I actually can talk to people and not be shy. I can make friends. I just feel great about myself."

Like any teen, Arnold indulges now in selfies. She even sends some to Stein. She calls him her hero.

"It really brings me back to why I do what I do – it's all about having people feel better about themselves," he said. "With Amy, it's clearly made a huge difference in her life."

Both Arnold and Stein emphasized that surgery is not a cure for bullying. It should be a last resort and one not chosen lightly.

More important, Arnold said, is treating others with respect and knowing that you can't change what's on the inside.

"You need to think about what you say because anyone that gets bullied will go through anything to make it stop," she said.

Arnold said she makes a special effort to befriend those she sees who are being bullied because she knows what it feels like.

"I’ll go sit with them and have lunch with them because I was in their shoes before, and I would never do such a thing to anybody," she said.


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  • Shane Taylor May 15, 2015
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    I think this is one of the very few stories that we all seem to be on the same side...No bashing, no idiocrisy (sp)...Just good comments...Good times!

  • Jeff Abbott May 15, 2015
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    You can really tell who the poor parents are. They're the one's who don't pay enough attention to their children at home, thus those children look for attention and acceptance at school, by bullying other children.

    I agree with everything you said Anne Jones.

  • Anne Jones May 15, 2015
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    Ok, here's my thought...the problem is not a "social crisis" as much as it is a "lack of parenting" on the part of the bully's parents and the "victim's" parents. I was bullied as a child, and my promise to myself was that I would NEVER allow anyone to bully my children. When my child came home from school and said someone said or did something to her, not only was I at the school in the administration's face, but I got in the faces of the parents also. I made sure that everyone within miles of the school knew that if they so much as looked at my child wrong, they would deal directly with me.
    The other thing is that I would never allow my child to go to such extremes to change who she is because of what someone else thinks of her. I believe the real issue is that this young lady really did not like herself. She used bullying as the rationale to change something that she didn't like. Poor excuse in my opinion, but if she can afford to do that, oh well.

  • Will Sonnett May 15, 2015
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    This girl's problem was not "bullying", her problem is a lack of self-confidence and her own dislike of her physical self. The "bullying" fad is an endless dark hole that the schools are attempting to go down and will result in nothing more than baseless law suits and more and more students who are taught that they are not responsible for how they cope with the world. Shame on WRAL for giving credence to this "social crisis".

  • Mike Jones May 15, 2015
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    I grew up being called ":SKI SLOPE" for the shape of my nose. pffft I didn't grow up and kill myself or whine and cry about it. I did not ask for a nose job. I learned to accept criticisms. My taking constructive criticism was a precious tool that led me to my Sgt promotion.

  • Shane Taylor May 15, 2015
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    Very well put! When I was in school Bullying was a joke. You either toughed it up or continued to get made fun of. Its sad that today you can't be a kid and deal with people not liking you, teasing you without becoming overly sensitive...

  • Teresa Poindexter May 14, 2015
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    What is the name of the video she made??

  • Jane Evans May 14, 2015
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    It's such a shame that people are so cruel. I just finished reading the comments about bullying from yesterday and it's pretty obvious who is raising the bullies. If you find out that your child has bullied someone and you don't do something about it then you are a bully also.

  • Daniel Corell May 14, 2015
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    Bullies only have as much power over you as you allow them to have.