The Future Of Beauty: “With VR You Can ‘Try On’ Cosmetic Procedures And Visualize Realistic Results” With Dr. William A. Kennedy III of of AEDIT
…We believe true beauty is unearthed by those who choose to be uniquely themselves rather than conform to a standard. We strive to inspire a movement that will empower everyone to be bold and challenge the preconceived notions of beauty by living by their own aesthetic.
As a part of our series about how technology will be changing the beauty industry over the next five years, I had the pleasure of interviewing William A. Kennedy III, MD.
William A. Kennedy III, MD, founder and CEO of AEDIT, is a world-renowned, board certified Head and Neck Surgeon and fellowship-trained Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon.
Practicing for over 10 years, Dr. Kennedy’s experience and extensive list of credentials place him at the top of the most-trusted surgeons in his field. He is dedicated to giving his patients natural results using the most innovative and minimally invasive techniques offered in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery today. He is best known for his attention to detail, his commitment to research, and, most importantly, his devotion to his patients.
Over the years, Dr. Kennedy has set out to improve the aesthetic experience for patients through technology. In 2016, he founded AEDIT (pronounced “ed-it”). At the time, information on aesthetics was only offered in a limited and often biased way, hindering the process of discovering cosmetic solutions and aesthetic providers by making these decisions more complicated and confusing than they needed to be. Where to start? Who to trust? What’s even possible?
In response to these challenges, Dr. Kennedy created AEDIT to provide consumers with a single destination that offers trusted, unbiased, and medically approved content and tools in support of every step of the aesthetic journey, from discovery to recovery. It is the only technology-driven platform that delivers innovative self-service solutions and transforms complicated medical data into understandable information with easy-to-use tools and engaging resources tailored to each user — from visualizing their ideal aesthetic to searching for cosmetic solutions and booking with board certified providers.
Dr. Kennedy earned his BS from Boston University, MS from Boston University School of Medicine, and MD from the University of Vermont College of Medicine. Born in Massachusetts, he currently resides in Manhattan and practices at hospitals within the Greater New York City Area.
Thank you so much for doing this with us Dr. Kennedy! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Growing up, I was surrounded by those who dedicated their lives to helping others. My father was a mayor and my mother was a public school teacher. Their commitment to serving their community has always been a source of inspiration. The medical field was particularly appealing because I was able to combine my desire to help others with my interest in science and math.
Specifically, I was drawn to facial plastic surgery because it allows you to really make an impact on someone’s life. Being able to change or reconstruct an individual’s appearance can alter their life in a way few other things can.
Throughout my career, it became evident that many patients struggled through their aesthetic experience. They had difficulty understanding their options, didn’t know who to trust, and there was nothing out there that supported them along their journey. It was important to me to create a solution that would make sure anyone who is looking to undergo a cosmetic procedure didn’t feel discouraged or confused, but instead felt empowered.
I knew there was more I could do to be of help, which is why I founded AEDIT.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
As a facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon, I have helped many patients who have suffered from severe trauma to their face. One instance that stands out to me most was a 17-year-old female patient who had an unfortunate interaction with her dog, which resulted in a large part of her cheek being bitten off. While her trauma was not life-threatening, nor would it limit her functionally, she was understandably concerned from an aesthetic standpoint. Almost inconsolable, it was my role to help her feel as comfortable as possible and reassure her about all the unknowns she was experiencing. My ability to calm her and put a smile on her face was not a result of my suturing or surgical expertise; it was my confident demeanor as I explained the medical process and the reassurance I provided that I would be with her throughout her entire journey — all the way through recovery.
While no patient could prepare for this sort of instance, her experience reminded me of the importance of forming meaningful patient-provider relationships and making sure patients feel supported and cared for every step of the way. It is one of the many reasons why I founded AEDIT, and, now, it serves as a major part of our mission.
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?
Success for me is having a patient that is happy with my care. A “tipping point” in my career as a facial plastic surgeon happened over time as I began to realize more and more how I could ensure this level of happiness. While results are, of course. one of the most defining factors, the best care and service comes from a combination of delivering on expectations and forming a trusted relationship.
What has helped me reach this level of success is understanding the importance of looking at the bigger picture. It’s not just the outcome, but the process of how you get there. My patients are happy because they feel listened to and supported every step of the way.
I think a major takeaway from this is understanding a patient’s goal and working backward from it to figure out what the necessary steps are to reaching it. If I solely focused on my surgical skills and didn’t pay attention to how I communicated with my patients, then the odds of someone even booking with me would be very slim. Just offering a good result isn’t going to result in success. It’s the whole experience.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
There’s a dear friend of mine who has always been in my court: Matthew Camp, MD. We’ve known each other since before medical school, and he is definitely one of the main reasons why I am a doctor today. He encouraged me to pursue my passion and helped me through the med school application process. Since I can remember, he’s always been there for me and has supported me throughout each major chapter of my life.
Our bond comes from the similar challenges we’ve faced and the shared views and goals we both possess. Likeminded, we always talk about how we can help improve the lives of others and what technological advancements we can create to do so.
I’m grateful to have him in my life, as he has helped me maintain a positive perspective, even through the setbacks and struggles. One instance was when we both weren’t accepted the first time we applied to medical school. Although this was discouraging, he reminded me of my strengths and reasons for pursuing a career in medicine. Later, with his support, I excelled through school and was recognized as the top candidate for my fellowships in plastic and reconstructive surgery.
Today, I call him anytime I have a new idea that I want to run by someone. Since the early days of AEDIT, we’ve spoken numerous times about the product and its mission. It’s rewarding to have his support.
Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. The beauty industry today has access to technology that was inconceivable only a short time ago. Can you tell us about the “cutting edge” (pardon the pun) technologies that you are working with or introducing? How do you think that will help people?
Today’s patient is much more independent and informed due to the surplus of information that is readily available at our fingertips. Compared to years past, we are seeing more patients that are *certain* of the results they want to achieve or the procedure they are looking to undergo. As a result, the problem we are experiencing is the influx of misinformation and unrealistic expectations.
As a way to address this situation, we set out to create not only a platform that would offer medically approved and easy-to-understand information, but also a 3D aesthetic simulator — The AEDITOR — that allows users to virtually “try on” cosmetic procedures and visualize realistic results right from the palm of their hand.
It is definitely a monumental product to enter the aesthetics space. We launched this tool as an iOS app and immediately generated a large user base — even without a big marketing push. This is the first of its kind to be created for consumers, as all other realistic and medically accurate morphing technologies are only available in the practices of medical professionals.
With the AEDITOR, consumers are in control of their morphing experience and can use the app whenever and wherever they please. The simulator scans and measures the user’s facial features to create a completely individualized experience and produce results that are truly obtainable.
We see this helping patients along their aesthetic journey. For example, it can improve patient-provider communications, especially the typical consultation conversations today that are often focused on the unobtainable results of other facial filter apps and tools that many patients are hoping to achieve.
I think we are already experiencing the consequences of technology with the rise of “Instagram Face” — a newly coined term used to describe how social media, facial morphing apps, and plastic surgery has created a certain desired look that is causing a lot of people to look, well, the same.
The purpose of our morphing technology is the inverse of this. We want people to visualize results that are personalized to them and their features. That said, it is very likely people may try to achieve a morphed look similar to someone else, so there could definitely be an unintended consequence of creating more sameness as a result.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the “beauty-tech” industry?
The beauty-tech space allows consumers to engage with the industry in a whole new way. For example, our product will open up the world of aesthetics to every layperson by breaking down the barriers that typically prevent its access. This wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for technology.
Overall, I am most excited about the space because:
- Technology is revolutionizing the beauty industry and placing more emphasis on personalized experiences and giving consumers the opportunity to be in more control of their beauty decisions, whether that be virtually trying on lipstick before purchasing or, in our case, trying on a cosmetic procedure before booking a consultation.
- Technology is allowing more access to all that the beauty industry has to offer, including aesthetics. It has allowed us to make it easier for consumers to get trusted information and find answers in a matter of clicks.
- The reach of technology is incredible. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to connect with as many people and as many different regions as we are able to now. It’s particularly interesting in the aesthetics space, as there are different cosmetic trends depending on the area of interest and we are able to interact and provide the right information based on this.
Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest?
- Accessibility is a double-edged sword. While it is great that technology has made the beauty industry more accessible in so many ways, I think it can also create consumer demand and control that may present challenges.
- Security issues are often a major topic when it comes to technology. The more consumers are asked to provide personal information, the more issues the beauty-tech industry may face unless stricter privacy measures are implemented. This is definitely something I would suggest as an improvement.
- Understanding that technology can supplement but not replace human touch, especially when it comes to aesthetics.
You are an expert about beauty. Can you share 5 ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”? (Please share a story or example for each.)
- Take care of your body — Being in the medical field, I always encourage patients to take care of themselves and keep healthy by adopting an active lifestyle and eating well. I think the better you feel, the more beautiful you feel, too.
- Get enough rest — Beauty sleep isn’t a made-up thing. Sticking to a routine sleeping schedule is important for your body and mind.
- Stress-relieving activities — The more stressed we are, the harder we often are on ourselves. Find a good stress release and be easy on yourself!
- Flaunt your features — We all have features we like about ourselves, and those that maybe make us self-conscious. Focus on flaunting the ones you love
- Express yourself — Style is an expression of who we are. Getting dressed in clothes that make you feel like yourself can also help you feel good and beautiful.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :
At AEDIT, we believe true beauty is unearthed by those who choose to be uniquely themselves rather than conform to a standard. We strive to inspire a movement that will empower everyone to be bold and challenge the preconceived notions of beauty by living by their own aesthetic.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“There is no such thing as failure if you don’t give up.”
I’ve always tried to live by this quote. Throughout my life, a passion of mine has been learning about technology and how it can help us care for others. I was able to focus on this when I studied biomedical engineering and now as a facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon and founder of AEDIT. Being raised in a family where math and science weren’t necessarily the focus, it was often a challenge to teach myself and comprehend the medical world. Although it was difficult, through perseverance, I was able to excel in these areas.
One of the reasons I founded AEDIT was to empower people with the necessary tools to learn about all that the aesthetics industry has to offer and, in doing so, give them the confidence to make informed decisions.
How can our readers follow you online?
Readers can follow us on social media (@aedit) and subscribe to our weekly newsletter via aedit.com.
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.