During the last few years, it seems like there has been an abundance of plastic surgery enthusiasts popping up all over the Internet. We have seen pretty much everything, from the real-life Ken and Barbie dolls, to the Kim Kardashian wannabes, to the Jessica Rabbit look-alike, and even the human elf. Now, there seems to be a new plastic fanatic taking over the web, who has become famous for going after his lifelong dream – to become a real-life Superman.
A 39-year-old man from the Philippines by the name of Herbert Chavez considers himself one of the world’s biggest Superman fans. The Clark Kent look-alike has spent thousands of dollars and nearly two decades on a total of 23 dramatic cosmetic procedures to achieve the superhero look. He has proven that he is willing to do pretty much anything to obtain his desired look, including undergoing dangerous, illegal, and poisonous procedures.
The superhero fanatic has dedicated his life towards this unique dream of his, and isn’t planning on letting anything stop him anytime soon. Despite the harsh criticism that the real-life Superman has received so far, he plans on continuing on his journey to become the Man of Steel.
When it comes to plastic surgery, transformations such as Herbert’s often raise the question of “how much is too much?” Is there such a thing as taking something too far? Many plastic surgeons and psychiatrists have spoken out about the issue and claim that people like Herbert, who repeatedly choose to rush to the operating table to achieve a certain look, are taking it too far. Although the topic is still up for debate, many doctors have stated that addiction to plastic surgery is certainly a possibility.
Whether or not you believe this aspiring Superman’s lifestyle is healthy or not, it is hard to deny the fact that this man is one extremely devoted fan. Just take a look at his house, each room is surrounded by hundreds of Superman memorabilia, he has even won a Guinness World Record thanks to his impressive collection.
However, according to this superfan, he isn’t doing this to get attention or to win any awards, he is doing this for the children. He hopes to inspire the young people out there, especially in the Philippines, that anyone can become a superhero.
Continue reading to hear Herbert’s story for yourself… you won’t believe what he looked like before becoming Superman.
Over the last few years, we have seen plenty of plastic fanatics go viral with their attempts to look like a real-life Barbie, Ken, Jessica Rabbit, elf… and so on. It seems like some people are willing to do anything, and spend anything, to reach their dreams of becoming their idol, whoever and whatever that may be. One man in particular, has spent the last 18 years on 23 different surgeries in order to look like his role model – Superman.
Becoming a superhero
Herbert Chavez is a 39-year-old man from Calamba City in the Philippines. He has dedicated nearly two decades of his life in order to look like the one and only Superman. We aren’t talking about a simple nose job or face-lift here, Herbert has undergone multiple dramatic procedures. According to the Clark Kent wannabe, he has already undergone 23 cosmetic surgeries including multiple nose jobs, liposuction, skin-whitening, ab-fillers, and jaw realignment. He is determined to do whatever it takes to become the real-life Superman.
Paying the price
Herbert is also willing to pay the hefty price tag that is included in his transformation process, so far he has shelled out 300,000 Pesos, which is equal to nearly $16,000. Although it may not seem like a huge amount compared to some of the other Internet plastic celebs out there who have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars towards their plastic dreams, but in the Philippines, where the average hourly wage is 90 Pesos, it is considered a fortune.
According to the Clark Kent look-alike, he fell in love with Superman when he was only five years old, when he first started watching the movies. He said in an interview, “As a kid, I loved superheroes because the first movie that I watched was Superman II with Christopher Reeve. So I dreamed to become this superhero some day.” When he reached his teens, he decided to change his look a little in order to be more like the famous flying superhero.
When he was 16 years old, Herbert made his first step in his transformation, deciding to get bright blue-colored contact lenses in order to match Clark’s iconic blue eyes. He explained that the lenses were given to him, secondhand from a friend as a birthday present. After that, he took his look a little farther and began applying makeup “to change from Hebert Chavez to the superhero guy.”
It was then that Herbert also started collecting Superman action-figures and toys. In 2012, after many years of collecting, he was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records for having the largest collection of Superman memorabilia in the world. It was listed that he had more than 1,253 items from life-size dolls, to movie posters, comic books, jewelry – with some of them worth thousands of dollars each. In 2017, his record was topped by fellow Superman enthusiast, Brazilian Marco Zorzin who has 1,518 Man of Steel-related pieces.
However, According to the Clark Kent look-alike, he now has well over 5,000 pieces of Clark Kent merchandise and is planning on extending his collection to 10,000 pieces and win back his place in the Guinness World Records. Herbert’s large collection of Superman memorabilia was getting so out of hand, that he even had to move to a bigger home in order to accommodate for his thousands of superhero shirts, books, toys, dolls, lunch boxes, pillows, and more.
Mr. Chavez gained public attention after appearing on the popular National Geographic series that follows people’s unique customs, rituals, and choices that often seem “bizarre” to others. In one episode of the show, titled Extreme Collectors, Herbert and his impressive collection of Superman items were featured. However, the series mostly focused on Herbert’s extreme plastic transformation. Writer and historian Philipp Blom spoke out against the wannabe superhero, he said, “If your desire to resemble a superhero comes so strong that you have cosmetic surgery, than it probably goes too far.”
During the episode, Herbert explained to viewers what it is about Superman that he loves so much, and the real reason he wants to become him so badly. According to him, it isn’t just because of Superman’s well-known good looks, but because he is a good person. He said, “I admire Superman because he is such a good man. He is handsome, and he helps people.” He continued, “So wanting to become Superman, or wanting to collect, is one and the same.”
Missing one thing
Today, Herbert is confident that he is closer than ever to looking like the real-life Superman. Unfortunately, according to him, one thing is missing from achieving the look – muscles. Mr. Chavez has attempted on numerous occasions to obtain the superhero’s iconic “abs of steel,” but has so far been pretty unsuccessful. According to him, each time he uses an ab-filler, the results only last for around six months at a time at most.
Over the last few years, Herbert has been getting his abs and chest filled using injections called MesoLipo, which is not legal in the United States. Instead of lasting rock-hard muscles, he had multiple bumps and spots appear all over his body after using the dangerous filler. Herbert went on E!’s series Botched, where patients who have had less fortunate plastic procedures try to get help by renowned plastic surgeons of California Dr. Terry Dubrow and Dr. Paul Nassif.
Instead of surgery, Herbert was recommended to take a safer and healthier approach to achieving his desired toned body. Dr. Dubrow said, “This Superman needs to get into the gym. Abs of steel should be gained by exercising and eating right.” Mr. Chavez confessed that he didn’t have the healthiest diet, “I do like to eat chocolate.” However, he was still left feeling “disappointed” for not getting the answer and help he had hoped for.
The superhero fan has no regrets whatsoever about any of the procedures that he has had done so far. In fact, he believes that by becoming the real-life Superman, he is doing something good in the world and inspiring others out there who want to go after their dreams. He explained, “I like to show to the people, especially the children of the Philippines that I’m here. Superman is real.” He continued, “What I want is to give them inspiration. To give hope.”
Spreading a message
Herbert expressed that although he may not have actual super powers, he still considers himself a true superhero. “At the moment I can’t fly, but to be a superhero it’s not necessary to have super powers.” he exclaimed. He is hoping to spread that same message to children around the world, especially in the Philippines. He said, “I want to spread the message that we can all be superheroes, that all of us have that potential within.”
Herbert is convinced that he doesn’t only look like a superhero, but that he is one. He said that he often feels like he is actually becoming the “real Superman.” He explained, “There have been certain incidents in my life which have made me realize that I’m a real Superman. For example, I’m almost 40 years old and I still have no wrinkles. Isn’t it too much of a coincidence?” He said, “That is because I am Superman.”
Making a living
The Superman look-alike did not have the easiest childhood himself. Growing up in poverty, his parents struggled to keep the family afloat. Herbert recalled, “We were very poor at the time. My mom was selling food and my dad was a tricycle driver. Today, Herbert is doing well for himself by owning and operating his own shop in his home town of Calamba that sells beauty pageant gowns, costumes, and formal wear. On top of the store stands, of course, a life-size Superman statue.
Sticking to character
Becoming Superman is no easy task. Besides the plastic surgery, Herbert has to spend hours each day on applying makeup, styling his hair, and getting dressed in the appropriate costumes and accessories. He occasionally takes a visit to the United States in order to walk the Hollywood Boulevard, which is known for its celebrity and movie character look-alikes such as Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, and of course Superman. In this picture, Herbert is seen signing an autograph for a young Superman fan.
However, just like any plastic fanatic who has gone viral, Herbert has had his fair share of negative criticism over the years. The aspiring superhero has received plenty of harsh remarks online since going viral. One person commented on an article about him, “This is so very sad. The guy seems to think people will only like him if he dresses in blue and has hair made from plastic!” Another wrote, “Bad news: you’re far from Clark.”
The majority of Herbert’s online following seem to be against his decision to undergo dramatic and dangerous surgeries to look like a superhero and claim that he has gone too far. So is there such a thing as “too much?” Dr. Roxanne Guy, the president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons claims that “There is such a thing as too much plastic surgery.” She explained that “too much” is when patients repeatedly get surgery in order to “fill an emotional need.”
Is plastic surgery addictive?
The topic of whether or not plastic surgery is addictive has been on the table for quite some time, and the truth is that we may never reach a conclusion. Dr. Katharine Phillips, a psychiatrist at Rhode Island’s Butler Hospital body image program claims that a plastic surgery addiction is “not an official diagnosis.” She added, “But certainly patients can feel very driven to get cosmetic procedures; that it is their only hope.”
Before and after
The 39-year-old recently shared photos of what he looked like prior to his Superman transformation. Looking at the two pictures, it is nearly impossible to see any resemblance whatsoever. Herbert is almost completely unrecognizable now, compared to his pre-Superman days. Love it or hate it, there is no denying that this man has undergone a complete transformation and looks like an entirely different person!
Just like how the on-screen Superman has changed over the years, so has Herbert. In these photos that Herbert recently shared with the public, we are truly able to see just how much the Clark Kent fan has transformed over the years. The first photograph on the left shows him in 1995, at the early stages of his superhero look, and the last photo on the right shows what he looks like today. Not only have his physical appearances, such as facial features, changed over the years – so have his costumes.
Thanks to Superman
Looking back, Clark Kent’s number one fan is happy with all of the choices he has made so far in order to become Superman. Despite the big costs and risks that he has sacrificed to get to where he is today, he is confident in his decisions. He explained, “I totally don’t have any regrets. What is there for me to regret? Everything that has happened in my life has been positive and because of Superman.”
Plans for the future
And does Herbert plan on stopping anytime soon? It certainly doesn’t seem that way, at least, not in the meantime. He still plans on pushing himself to the limits until he truly can’t take anymore. He explained, “When my body says it cannot endure it anymore or when my doctor says that my body cannot handle it because of age, then I will stop.” Until then, the comic book enthusiast plans to keep on working towards his goal of becoming the world’s only real-life Superman