I grew up in a small town in upstate New York, a far cry from my Trump Tower address in downtown Chicago.
My father and mother were both originally from the Bronx, New York and both shared a common religious and ethnic background, being Catholic and of Slovak decent. I was brought up in a lower-income household of six, the oldest of four siblings, three boys and the youngest, my sister.
As a first born child, my parents were fairly strict with me. My father had wanted his first child to be a boy; a child who would reflect his interests, beliefs as well as physical attributes. I was anything but what he had expected. Instead of sports and cars, I was drawn to the arts and had an affinity for the “finer things in life.” I had an intense passion for sketching and sculpting the human form, for music and for performing. I watched television longing to be one of “those people” who lived in luxury, glamour and “fabulosity.” My community, my family, and my friends didn't seem to understand me or my interests. I always felt that I was destined for more grander things, but wasn't sure how my life would be any different from the one I had experienced as a child.
In my youth, it wasn't a reality for my family to embark on any extensive travel. Therefore, my view of the world was limited to what the library and television had to offer. I developed a great interest in different cultures and became enamored with archetypal beauty - the Egyptians (especially, King Tut & Queen Nefertiti) and Greek, Roman and Renaissance art (specifically Adonis and Michelangelo's David.). Additionally, the lives of famous figures like Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Andy Warhol, and Donald Trump fascinated me. These interests were instrumental to the formation of my personal view of beauty, the lifestyle I wanted and the notoriety I sought. Thus, the Justin Jedlica rendition of the “Ken Doll” was born.
Before I had even graduated high school, I began searching for a plastic surgeon to "fix" my nose. I was seventeen. My family was not supportive of my decision to schedule my surgery. Therefore, without their blessing, I was forced to wait until I reached the legal age of consent, eighteen. Four days later, I climbed onto the operating table and underwent my first cosmetic surgery. Years later and a consistently increasing number of procedures, I continue my journey of modification. The process itself is cathartic for me. The restructuring of the contours of my face and body in an effort to customize myself perseveres as I grow as an individual. I plan on maintaining my looks and continuing to present the most optimal version of myself.