Jennifer Grey was a bonafide ’80s queen after her role in Dirty Dancing, instantly beloved for her unique look: a lithe frame, short curly hair, and a pointy nose. But following the fame, Grey got a nose job… which left her unrecognizable.
‘Dirty Dancing’ Stardom
In 1986, Jennifer Grey appeared in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off as Jeannie Bueller, sister of the mischievous Ferris. It was a key role for Grey, introducing her to longtime boyfriend Matthew Broderick and serving as a breakout for the newcomer. Just one year later, Grey would find international fame with the smash-hit Dirty Dancing.
Starring alongside the talented Patrick Swayze, Grey stole our hearts as Baby Houseman, the wide-eyed, rich girl naïf who learns to dance sexy at summer camp. Next to the hunky Swayze, Grey imbued the part with a natural charm. She looked like an everyday, real girl — right down to her unusual nose.
The Nose Job
Jennifer Grey officially declared herself “out of the corner” with the release of her 2022 memoir. In it, the 62-year-old discusses the plastic surgery which halted her career.
After undergoing a minor rhinoplasty during the late ’80s, her nose did not heal correctly, sending her back under the knife a year later. That’s when Grey came out unrecognizable — to not only her friends and family, but also to the casting directors of Hollywood. “In the world’s eyes, I was no longer me. I had unwittingly joined the Witness Protection Program,” she told Parade magazine. In the book, she recounts a time when Michael Douglas turned around and didn’t recognize her on the red carpet.
In another interview, with People, Grey revealed that it was her mother who initially pressured her into the first nose job. “I was so upset with my mother for always telling me I should do my nose… I just thought, ‘I’m good enough. I shouldn’t have to do this.’ That’s really what I felt. ‘I’m beautiful enough.'”” she said. But she eventually… Grey relented, resulting in the altered schnoz she has today.
Grey also noted that both of her parents, actors Joel Grey and Jo Wilder, had undergone nose jobs. And, as she understands it, they were trying to assimilate. Both came from Jewish families, and Grey says those types of procedures were normalized in their community. “I understood that you had to change your name and you had to do certain things… 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.”
But now, after years outside the spotlight, Grey is reclaiming her narrative. Her memoir, Out of the Corner, is earning positive reviews.