CHRISTA Billich was one of the first people to use Botox when it arrived here 15 years ago. She reveals what it’s done to her face.
IT’S enough to raise eyebrows. That is, if the eyebrows haven’t been paralysed.
Despite its omnipresence in pop culture and beauty mags, Botox has only been around for 15 years.
Yep, this month is the birthday of the game-changing, wrinkle-smoothing, injectable wonder, which — in April 2002 — got its official government go-ahead for cosmetic use, a move that turned it into one of the most successful pharmaceutical brands in history.
Since its introduction in Australia we’ve been ranked as one of the world’s biggest spenders on the injectable. And one of the very first Australians to undergo the procedure was colourful Sydney socialite — and both Melbourne and Sydney Real Housewives regular — Christa Billich.
“It was really just one of those things,” she remembers. “A cosmetic surgeon in LA was a collector of my husband, Charles’, work, and I remember him raving about Botox — the ease of the procedure and its little to no downtime. It sounded amazing and I was SO ready to have it done! So when I heard it was on its way to Sydney, I jumped on it.”
While admitting to undergoing various other procedures before the availability of Botox (“I wasn’t going to wait around for its miracles!”) she admits to being nervous ahead of her first injection.
“I’m not scared of needles, but I certainly don’t like them,” she says. “I had a champagne en route to the clinic — maybe two — which I’d probably not recommended, but whatever works, right?
“After the treatment, I was completely shocked when I looked in the mirror — I was expecting smooth skin right away, and instead had strange bumps where the needle had been. I was assured they’d do gown and surely enough, they did.
“It took longer for the effects to kick in than I thought, but that’s how Botox works, it needs a little time to start working its magic. Wrinkles start to soften and they don’t start coming back, as long as you keep up with the treatments.”
For Christa it marked the beginning of a 15-year-long love affair: “I was and am hooked!”
HER CHANGING FACE
Christa, 70, doesn’t want to even contemplate what she’d look like if Botox hadn’t come along when it did.
“Are you kidding, darling!” she laughs. “Never think about the what ifs. I’m very happy it arrived though. My face now looks natural, tight, smooth and youthful.”
This facial rejuvenation is also something she credits with attracting the attentions of younger admirers.
“I think younger men think I’m younger than I really am because