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Meet The Man Who Spent More Than $80K To Become An Elf

Photo: getty
elf ears with earrings

Did someone watch a bit too many sci-fi films? Wherever his obsession came from, it must run deep, because one man shelled out a pretty penny to completely transform into a fictional character.

Luis Padron, a 29-year old from Argentina, has spent more than his life savings on plastic surgeries that would morph him into an elf.

That's right, this is a man who wants to look like an elf.

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Stating that he was bullied as a child, Padron turned to the fantasy world to cope. He became obsessed with angels, elves, and otherworldly characters from the land of sci-fi.

As his obsession grew, he became determined to turn himself into a real-life elf and started to bleach his skin and hair.

Since the beginnings of the bleaching, he now racks up around $4,300 per month in skin creams, SPF 100 sunscreen, and dyes.

Over the course of his transformation, he has spent close to $60,000 on various surgeries, like full body hair removal, operations to change the color of his eyes, and liposuction on his nose and jaw.

While he admits to getting some pretty strange looks, Padron says that he doesn’t care what other people think. And he plans on continuing with the surgeries until he completely looks like an elf.

He has big plans for his appearance, including hair implants that will give him a heart-shaped hairline, limb lengthening surgeries to make him 6 ft. 5 in. tall, and an operation to make his ears pointy.

Yet, Padron has plans for even more surgeries beyond that.

"In the future I want to do some more surgeries, for example an Adam's apple reduction and a cat eye shape, more fillers, another nose job and I also want to add some fangs to my teeth," he said. 

"I want to be an elf, an angel, and a fantasy being... my aim is to look inhuman, ethereal, graceful and delicate. I have my own beauty ideal and want to achieve that no matter what. I want to have my ears cut to become pointy like an elf's, my jaw to look more sharp like a diamond, a facelift, and an eyelift to give my eyes a cat-like shape," the cosplay merchandise salesman added. 

"I am also considering having muscle implants, too. There's also a surgery to make you taller and I will remove four of my ribs so that I can shape my waist to make it thinner."

"People have stared at me ever since I was a teenager, so it's very normal to me now. I like people staring at me and don't care what they think," Padron said. "Even when I'm not dressed up like an elf people stare at me. I have had long white hair for five years, I use larger contact lenses and I am very tall. I use makeup to enhance my features so they are more angelic and wear clothing that's more stylish or antique."

Padron considers himself 'trans-species.'

"I consider myself trans-species; in the same way transgender people feel, I need to become how I feel inside, I don't expect people to understand but I ask they respect it. The fantasy genre makes me happy and because I didn't have many friends when I was younger I submerged myself into it."

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His love for elves grew when he was bullied in school for dressing different and dying his hair. However, towards the end of high school, other students started to look up to him for being different, which made him want to take it even further.

"I was bullied as a child, and as an escape, I would submerge myself in fantasy movies like 'Labyrinth' and 'The NeverEnding Story,' as well as other fantasy tales. Over time things changed, older teens liked me because I was unique and that's what encouraged me to start turning what I felt on the inside into a reality. I started with cosplay but it wasn't enough; I wanted to change to become my own perception of beauty," Padron revealed.

Padron was only 14 when he decided he would turn to plastic surgery, but it wasn’t until six years later that he actually went under the knife for the first time: "I didn't care for how much it hurt because it allowed me to get one step closer to my dream of what I want to become."

Through his journey, he has also had Botox, freckle removal through bleaching, laser hair removal, and over 40 fillers. He even risked his health by going through with medically unapproved procedures to turn his light brown eyes to a crystal blue.

Because of this, he suffered from some painful side effects:

"It was without anesthesia, was very painful and meant I had to use eye drops and extremely black sunglasses; essentially, I became like a vampire with extreme photosensitivity. At first even watching stars in the sky was painful but three days later they felt normal again. I don't know how they affect my sight in the future. It hasn't turned to a crystal blue color yet; unfortunately, they are currently a grayish color, but I'm still hopeful as I have four more sessions left."

He has also had a procedure done to give him an 'anime jaw.'

"They have to cut the bone in four parts; then they removed a little part from the bone, they stick them together with 10 titanium nails that I have right now and then they make it really sharp like a diamond. I had to eat for one month only liquids, it was very hard for me because I love eating! The jaw surgery was so important for me because it was one of the most important steps that I have to do to my face to make it look more fantasy-like," he admitted.

Padron also revealed that he bleaches his hair weekly and has over 500 different contact lenses.

In 2018, Padron revealed how much he had already spent on his procedures: "I have around 40 procedures in total — some of them are really big and some of them are really small, I have spent around $60,000 in total."

While he has spent a ton of money on these procedures, they don’t seem to be a bad investment as his unusual looks helped launch his modeling career. He also gets paid to make appearances as an elf for events. 

However, Padron says that his transformation was something he wanted to do for himself and not as a way to gain attention.

"I really don't dress like this to provoke a reaction, I dress like this because I want to be OK with me, I like to look like this, for me and not for the others. So reactions are OK but it really doesn't change my life if they react or not for how I look," he said.

"I don't consider this an obsession, but in fantasy, you have all of the hope, love, friendship and good feelings. This helps me to feel like a good person but in fantasy, you have to be beautiful not only on the inside but the outside too. This has changed my life for good in so many ways, I can't even begin to describe it."

As of 2021, Padron is in the process of replacing his fillers with 3D-printed face implants.

However, this will take some weight gain on his part.

As he wrote in an Instagram post, "Being an elf takes a lot of maintenance... I’m currently trying to gain some more weight and can’t wait to start the process for face implants to replace fillers forever. With those two things checked, I’ll achieve a huuuge change."

We all spend money in one way or another to get ahead in our careers and be the people who we feel we ought to be. This elf really isn’t so different from us after all. 

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Editor's Note: This article was originally posted on May 11, 2017 and was updated with the latest information.

Shannon Ullman is a writer who focuses on travel and adventure, women's health, pop culture, and relationships. Her work has appeared in Huffington Post, MSN, and Matador Network.