I can’t remember the cute button nose I had before I first broke my nose when I was four.
I know from photos it was the dainty kind that scoops up at the end. And I remember running my finger over the top of my nose each morning as a child, as if whilst I slept all signs of a break had disappeared – and my insecurities with it.
I was born with a large helping of sinus problems from both of my parents, and having broken my nose twice before the age of 11, anything to do with that central point on my face was a contentious topic. I had always been told that I would need surgery on my sinuses as soon as I stopped growing. My grandfather would often try to make me feel better when I cried over how ugly it was by saying I inherited his strong Roman nose. But I knew he was only saying that to make me feel better. A Roman nose was powerful and strong – mine was bumpy and crooked.
Life with a large nose didn’t get any easier. I was taunted and teased by every one of my peers at school for having a feature that I already knew myself was less than desirable. Some boys in my class nicknamed me ‘Novis’ as a play on my surname, and I cried myself to sleep many times. I was already a stick thin 5ft 8in 12-year-old that was yet to get her braces. The only curve God had graced me with throughout my teens was on my nose – right in plain sight, where I didn’t want it.
The surgeon held my head in his hands and pressed at my nose with his thumbs before he said: 'You’d look so much prettier without that bumpy nose.'
As a teen, I learned to accept that my nose was simply just the way it is and snap back at my bullies with wit. I learned what kind of lighting made my schnoz look smaller and what angles worked best. And thanks to heroines like Meryl Streep and Barbra Streisand, I finally became happy to be known for being beautiful because of my nose. In some way, I was finally glad that it stood out.
A few months after my 16th birthday I received a phone call to let me...