Filipino had 23 surgeries to look like Superman

Filipino had 23 surgeries to look like Superman
Herbert Chavez has undergone 23 surgeries in 17 years so that he can look like the comic-book superhero Clark Kent.
PHOTO: Herbert Chavez/Twitter

Nose jobs, skin-whitening, liposuction, jaw realignment, bum implants and fillers - dressmaker Herbert Chavez has done it all in a bid to look more like his idol, Superman.

Even in the world of extreme plastic surgery aficionados, the 38-year-old from the Philippines stands out for his commitment to his cause. He has undergone 23 surgeries in 17 years so that he can look like the comic-book superhero Clark Kent, famously played by the late actor Christopher Reeve in the 1970s and 1980s.

But Mr Chavez has hit a recent roadblock in his transformation. Surgeons have refused to give him the implants to achieve the "abs of steel" of the American icon.

They said that he had injected himself with reportedly illegal fillers and should hit the gym instead.

This information, revealed in a teaser of an American reality TV series Botched, has gone viral around the world. Botched, which focuses on fixing plastic procedures gone awry, is not aired in Singapore.

When contacted by Life over the telephone, Mr Chavez says he will not give up his quest for the body of Superman.

He adds: "If those doctors don't want to do the surgery, maybe other doctors will do it for me."

But why does he not exercise?

"I'm busy with my regular work and I don't have time to go to the gym. I also eat a lot and I like chocolate," he says.

The 1.7m-tall bachelor, who weighs 61kg, says he has had so many procedures that he cannot recall the details of several of them.

His obsession with the superhero started at age four when he watched his first movie - Superman II - in the cinema.

Born with brown eyes, the son of a tricycle driver and street food seller used to be pimply and had darker skin.

On his 16th birthday, a friend gave him a pair of bright blue contact lenses. Around that time, he also started wearing foundation to make his skin look fairer.

At age 21, he started approaching cosmetic surgeons in the Philippines to make him look like his idol.

"What I do to my own body is my own business," he says.

"Some may laugh at my obsession, but everything that has happened in my life has been positive and it's all because of Superman.

"To me, going to the plastic surgeon is like going to the salon."

The operations, he claims, were free, performed in exchange for promoting the doctors' practice.

He says he has suffered no side effects so far.

The only procedure that he is reluctant to do is one to increase his height to 1.9m, the same height as Reeve.

"I don't think the technology for this procedure has been perfected yet," he says.

Anything else, however, is fair game. "I will stop only when my doctor says my body cannot endure it anymore."

He also reportedly holds the Guinness World Record for the largest collection of Superman memorabilia.

He has more than 1,200 items - dolls, mannequins, posters, comic books, mugs, curtains, rugs and bed-sheets.

Once a week, he dons a self-made Superman costume - complete with cape, cuffs and shorts over tights - and gathers with some cosplayer friends to take photos with children and sign autographs.

He also occasionally performs as a Superman-lookalike at malls and events. "I want to give inspiration and hope to the children in the Philippines," he says.

"I want to let them see and talk to Superman in the flesh."

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