KimberlySmedley

The ‘butt shot guru’ Kimberly Smedley spoke with the AFRO about her new book and the need to improve the self-esteem of young girls.

Kimberly Smedley, an Atlanta native, known as the ‘butt shot guru’ has once again gained the media spotlight. She was recently released from prison after serving a 36-month prison sentence for illegally injecting commercial-grade silicone into the buttocks of clients in hotel rooms in various cities around the country, including Baltimore and D.C.  Smedley said her clients paid as much as $1,600 in cash for the cosmetic enhancements.

In an exclusive interview with the AFRO, Smedley, who has authored a new memoir, The Backside of the Story: My Personal Journal into the Black Market Butt Injection Scandal, said that while she had no medical training and the procedures were illegal, her ultimate desire was to help women desperate for cosmetic enhancement.

“My intentions were never to hurt anyone because the same thing I was injecting in other people I have in myself,” said Smedley, who received similar injections in 1999.  “I had the injections because growing up I would always get singled out because my butt was so flat.  I really felt like I was helping women to feel better about themselves.  However, I’ve learned that are only a temporary fix because all of the issues that I had, I still struggled with them after the injections.  It really was like putting a bandage over a sore, but not really addressing the wound. You have to deal with this from the inside first.”

Smedley, taunted as “ironing board booty” by cousins and later rejected by men who saw her lack of posterior as unattractive, grew increasingly self-conscious about her appearance.

“I knew I wanted to cosmetically fix the way I looked.  Did I use wisdom? Absolutely not.  I never once asked him for any information or any type of literature or anything,” Smedley said, referring to the friend that gave her butt injections 14 years ago. “I just knew that I wanted it and I wanted it bad.  I laid down and it hurt so much and I wasn’t even numbed.  I cried and I took the pain because all I could think about was how I was going to look when it was all over.”

While the physiques of African women has long been both maligned and conscripted, American popular culture has created a highly sexualized beauty aesthetic that tends to contort and reframe women’s bodies through digital body augmentation.  It is this toxic visual culture that Smedley says her book aims to counter.  Factoring in the fascination the world has maintained for the Black body, Smedley documents the rise (and fall) of the Hottentot Venus and the quiet embrace Black society has for hips and buttocks.

“We allow media to have too much of an impact on our children.  Young ladies need to know that what they see on television and in magazines is not reality.  These women’s images have been put through Photoshop, and it is only an illusion.  When you see the person in person, they do not look like their pictures because we are constantly being sold a fantasy,” Smedley said.

The reality of cosmetic butt injections has only recently become apparent to Smedley who said that in the 14 years since her own injections, she has developed osteoarthritis.  Oddly enough, Smedley also said that the one noticeable side effect of the injections is that over time her buttocks has gotten bigger.

“It just keeps getting bigger.  If I gain weight, I don’t get bigger anywhere else.  I started out covering up my behind because I didn’t have one, and now I’m covering it up because I do.  At some point you just don’t want that type of attention because there is a difference between a gaze and a gawk,” she said.