One of the most celebrated plastic surgeons in the nation, Board-Certified, award-winning Dr. Ruth Celestin did not get to where is by drawing a fortune cooking quote and, poof, she became a celebrity plastic surgeon. It’s been a combination of non-stop hard work, great sense of personal direction, and the drive to live her best life, while also helping others attain their surgical objectives.
Dr. Celestin has worked on some of your faves, and has a thriving practice in the Georgia area. She completed her undergraduate studies at Rutgers University, and graduated from New Jersey Medical School. Self-Best Atlanta magazine once named her Best Plastic Surgeon for Breasts for three consecutive years. Media outlets like CBS46/WGCL-TV Atlanta call on her when they need a plastic surgery expert. She is the founder of Celestial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and is among the stellar surgeons at Oculus, a plastic and reconstructive surgery practice.
Kreyolicious: When you were little, did you visualize this life for yourself?
Dr. Ruth Celestin: In some ways, yes, but in others no. Life is full of surprises no matter how much you plan. I always wanted to be a doctor, thanks in large part to my wonderful pediatrician Dr. Anthony Ricciardi, and I thought I would be a Pediatrician because of my own love for children. But while in medical school I discovered that the best use of my talents, in conjunction with my hobbies and natural interests was the field of plastic and reconstructive surgery. It’s been a torrid love affair ever since [Laughter] As far as my personal life, I never imagined leaving the New York area and living in the South but taking leap of faith and stepping outside of my comfort zone has definitely paid off for me and been a blessing.
Kreyolicious: Has there ever been a time when you refused to perform a procedure on a patient?
Dr. Ruth Celestin: Yes, absolutely! I think a common misconception is that plastic surgeons are all about the money and that we aren’t really doctors. While some plastic surgeons may fit that stereotype, I’m proud to say that I am first and foremost a physician and therefore always putting safety and a patient’s well-being first. I’ve refused procedures for patients with unrealistic expectations as well as for patients who are not emotionally or medically optimized for elective surgery. It’s elective after all. That’s the importance of the consultation before surgery!
Kreyolicious: As a plastic surgeon, you help alter people’s looks to help them gain confidence. Growing up, did you feel beautiful and confident?
Dr. Ruth Celestin: Growing up in the 80’s was a mixed bag for a little dark-skinned Haitian-American girl. On the one hand, in America it felt to me like everything light was right and I didn’t receive many messages of positivity regarding my skin and hair. But on the other hand, in the microcosm of my home and family, my self-image was positively reinforced. My mom, dad, uncles and aunts etc. always told me I was pretty, had pretty brown gums and beautiful brown skin, and that I was a beautiful “daughter of Dessalines”. I didn’t quite know what that meant at the time and yes there’s undoubtedly some controversial history in that comment but I think it was one meant to positively reinforce my blackness, which I think any young black woman needs from her loved ones. More importantly than feeling beautiful though, my parents really went out of their way to make sure that I felt smart and empowered to get an education and make my dreams come true. They allowed me to believe that I could do anything I set my mind to do, and never let my race or gender serve as a barrier or an excuse.
Kreyolicious: What books would you recommend that you feel are must-reads for people serious about attaining success and personal growth?
Dr. Ruth Celestin: Well, I must say for a while I only read medical textbooks and plastic surgery textbooks and journals but now that I have a little more pleasure reading time, I would recommend: The Bible: Okay, I know some people won’t want to hear this and that’s fine, but I have found that a lot of the most successful self-help and motivational books in the world have principles and concepts directly taken from scripture. So, I try to make time to read what God has to say to me. Other than that, The Art of War by Sun Tzu, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey. Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, and lastly Skinny Girl Solutions by Bethenny Frankel, a recent read that I find highly motivational from a wildly successful female entrepreneur who started from the bottom.
Did you enjoy this interview with Dr. Ruth Celestin, famed plastic surgeon? Stay tuned for PART II, and PART III of the interview! Meanwhile…