Chinese Writer Spends $225,000 on Plastic Surgery to Look Like William Shakespeare

34-year-old Zhang Yiyi wasn’t happy with simply being called a great writer, he wanted to look the part as well. So he spent his entire life savings of 1.4 million yuan ($225,800) on plastic surgery, in order to resemble his childhood hero and role model – William Shakespeare!

The devoted superfan had a total of 10 operations – including eye reconstruction, eyelid surgery, nose surgery and a face tuck – over the span of several months. He is yet to emulate Shakespeare’s famously bald head, but he has settled for growing his hair longer, just to improve the likeness.

Interestingly, Yiyi is an accomplished writer himself, and actually used his book royalties to pay for the cosmetic procedures. But, like the English playwright, he started off poor; he was born in humble surroundings and grew up in a debt-ridden family due to his father’s failing business. Growing up, Yiyi was able to draw parallels between his own childhood and that of Shakespeare, whose father also was declared bankrupt when the playwright was a young boy.


After years of financial struggle, Yiyi finally made a name for himself as one of China’s most successful writers. And then, as a way of paying tribute to his hero, he decided to change his appearance.

He had work done on his nose, eyes, and lips, and his actions have sparked a debate on Chinese social media. When a photograph of Yiyi recently went viral on Chinese social media websites, some people said his efforts were worth it, while other’s dubbed him ‘Fool of the Year’.

“I think he has excellent physical likeness to Mr. Shakespeare,” wrote commenter Na Peng, from Beijing. “His eyes and nose look very similar and he has done it as a tribute. What greater sacrifice could someone make? I think it was a good idea. Anyway, it is his money and he can spend it on what he likes.”


But not everyone was as as supportive as Na Peng. City construction worker Feng Kung came down heavily on Yiyi’s surgery: “It is ridiculous, what a total waste of money. Why would anyone want to do something like this to their face. Personally, I think it is a bit weird. That is a life-changing amount of money and I can’t see much of a difference anyway.”

Meanwhile, Yiyi had only one response: “Life is a process of striving to become a better person. I think the surgeries are worth the money.”

Sources: Shanghai Daily,

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