Dr Vincent Wong tells Aesthetics why he started the first LGBT campaign in the industry, and what he finds most challenging about his career
As an aesthetic practitioner and owner of VinDoc clinics in London, Dr Vincent Wong is well known for his work on celebrity faces and has now become a regular speaker at global conferences. So, where did it all begin? Born and raised in Malaysia, he grew up in a culture that was very competitive.
He recalls many of his friends’ parents pushing their children into becoming doctors or lawyers. But for Dr Wong, entering the medical sector was all his decision. “Contrary to normal stereotypes, I was the one who told my parents I wanted to be a doctor!” laughs Dr Wong. “I was heavily influenced by my godfather, and medicine is what I’ve always been passionate about. From that point on I worked really hard so that I could make it happen. I did my A-levels in Singapore, and then I decided to move to the UK to complete my medical degree,” he says.
After studying in the UK, Dr Wong achieved a Bachelor of Science and Medicine from the University of St Andrews, and a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery from the University of Aberdeen in 2010. He comments, “I wanted to study here because the education is highly respected and recognised worldwide. I also wanted to move somewhere that wasn’t very hot after living in Malaysia, so strangely enough I guess you could say I moved to the UK for the weather!”
Dr Wong says he knew early on that he wanted to be involved in the aesthetics field. “After I left uni, I worked for the NHS for a few years doing general surgery and respiratory medicine, but I’d already started to look into aesthetics on the side. In 2011 I started undertaking specialised aesthetics training with aesthetic practitioner Dr Kate Goldie on her MedicsDirect course. She was the person who created me! Even after training had stopped, I regularly emailed her or her team and kept in contact when I had any questions. I still view Dr Goldie as my mentor and teacher even when I see her at conferences now – I don’t think that will ever change! She’s someone who I really look up to.”
Now a clinic owner, Dr Wong offers botulinum toxin, fillers, threads and body sculpting. In the last three years, he has started to specialise in the masculinisation and feminisation of the face for transgender patients. He states, “With trans patients, who they are on the inside often differs from what their external appearance is. The aesthetics specialty offers them a way to change that and become more themselves.”
Dr Wong has been involved with the LGBT community for many years and has since started his own campaign called #IAMME, the first LGBT campaign in medical aesthetics. It involves him interviewing prominent figures in the LGBT community about issues they have faced, and the aesthetic procedures they have had.
He explains, “I first started to become involved in the LGBT community by attending Pride every year. I always liked to be involved in some way – even if it was just being on stage dancing with Sinitta! Through attending these kind of events I met so many people, especially in the trans community, and a lot of them expressed to me that they had always wanted to try things out in aesthetics but they didn’t know where to go to or who to trust.”
Dr Wong explains that he was inspired to try and make a difference. “I wanted to start something to help and demonstrate how aesthetics can be used in a positive way. Through this, the LGBT community can learn about what procedures they can get and what practitioners they can go to that will deliver what they want without them having to fear prejudice. It also benefits the practitioners because they are able to learn about the thought processes of, and get an insight into, the trans community.”
Having a career in aesthetics hasn’t always been easy, Dr Wong explains, as the social stigma surrounding aesthetic treatments can sometimes be difficult to break. He comments, “It’s hard dealing with people who have a negative perception of the industry. Some people are very much against any kind of aesthetic treatments, and because of that I find I get judged by people because of how I look and my choice of career. I’ve also found that some people think that aesthetic doctors aren’t as skilled as ‘real doctors’, which is hard as I’ve put a lot of work into getting where I am.”
When asked what advice he would give to anyone entering the industry, he states, “The key thing is to constantly keep updated in aesthetics and see what is actually working for patients. This is a field that requires a lot of dedication so you need to stay focused. Keep being you, and don’t let anyone alter that!”
What is your biggest achievement?
I had cancer two years ago, and that really put everything into perspective for me. So, my biggest achievement is overcoming that, being able to continue to run my business and being about to realise what life really has to offer.
Tell us your favourite treatment to perform?
That would definitely be dermal fillers. Especially for facial balancing.
Do you have advice for other practitioners?
Don’t give up, have fun and be fearless!
What’s something people don’t know about you?
I’m very good at creative gift wrapping. When I was younger and it came to Christmas or birthdays, I always found that other people could wrap presents better than me, so I learnt by watching videos. Now, people come to me over Christmas to help them gift wrap!
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