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Rising Star Dr. Will Kirby: Nothing is sexier than intelligence. Nothing! And I wish that we, as a collective society, would put an emphasis on education

Nothing is sexier than intelligence. Nothing! And I wish that we, as a collective society, would put an emphasis on education. While I love the entertainment industry, it is over-romanticized and ultimately may be unfulfilling in many ways. So, it is my firm contention that if we all put a premium on science, technology, engineering, […]


Nothing is sexier than intelligence. Nothing! And I wish that we, as a collective society, would put an emphasis on education. While I love the entertainment industry, it is over-romanticized and ultimately may be unfulfilling in many ways. So, it is my firm contention that if we all put a premium on science, technology, engineering, and math, then not only world we all have a deeper connection to nature and our place in the universe, but we’d be protecting our planet for others to enjoy. To best answer your question, I’d like to inspire a movement where scientists, doctors, astrophysicists, conservationists, and researchers have as many social medial followers as models, actors, and musicians so the masses have role models that truly matter and make a meaningful difference in the world.


As a part of my series about TV’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Dr. Will Kirby. Dr. Will Kirby is recognized among the best reality television contestants of all time and is frequently cited as a leading aesthetic dermatologist. While he has been known to TV viewers for over fifteen years, many fans are pleasantly surprised to see him educating patients on the televisions in the lobbies of the numerous dermatology clinics he oversees. Scientist, professor, researcher, board-certified dermatologist, and television personality, Dr. Kirby has a devoted fan base spanning an enormous demography.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

The pleasure is mine. I was born in Europe, Florence, Italy, specifically and I attended kindergarten in Paris, France. My primary school education took place in Florida where my father was, and still is, an English professor. I grew up traveling which is a gift, but also trying to find my place in society.

Can you share a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

The word “path” implies a track laid down by continual treading and that’s just simply not applicable to me as this journey was by no means a clear passage. See, I’ve always had a love affair with science but, let’s be honest, most scientists are nerds — I however enjoyed comedy, and sports, and music, and television. And while I wanted to have my life filled with science, I didn’t want to have limitations on my scope of vision. So, I homed in on my natural attributes and eventually combined being doctor with being in front of a camera. I’m always flattered when I’m recognized as an “OG” in the world of reality television by winning CBS’s Big brother many years ago but I’m equally proud of being the Chief Medical Officer at the nation’s leading aesthetic dermatology group, LaserAway .

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

I once was offered a spot as a contestant on the well-known show, “The Price is Right”. But I was strongly considering not participating and the excuse I planned on telling myself was that I felt it was beneath me, a learned doctor. But, if I’m being honest with you, I was actually just frightened to go on for fear of losing. I was a huge fan of the show, but I was terrified of failure that I wasn’t even willing to try. So I asked one of my dear friends, someone in the entertainment industry I really trusted, Neil Patrick Harris, if I should go on secretly hoping that he would advise me to politely decline the offer. What was his advice? He said, “fk yes you should do it!”. And I did. And I bid correctly, and I spun the wheel, and I won the showcase showdown! My prize total was $51,300 (which I donated to charity)! NPH’s advice was spot on and I always try to incorporate it into my daily life. See we are all afraid but you have to cast that fear aside and travel outside your comfort zone to really see what you can achieve!

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

In the early 2000s I was up for two very different hosting gigs: One was a new dating show for NBC and the other was a sort of revamp of “Star Search” for Fox. The NBC dating show seemed much more cutting-edge and I thought that being the face of a new concept would make me a household name. Well that show was called “Love Shack” at it aired across from gulf war coverage with abysmal rating and was quickly pulled from the air. The Fox show? That became “American idol” and immediately became widely popular. Seems like a funny mistake now… but it was an awful mistake at the time! The lesson I learned is that “you can’t let the wins get to your head or the losses get to your heart”. All you can do is try your best, focus on the work, and ignore things that are out of your control. This is true of entertainment jobs of course but of all jobs!

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

Traditional broadcast television as we know it, is dying. And not slowly either. It has had a precipitous fall over the last decade and there is no reason to believe that trend is going to reverse. And don’t just take my word for it, simply look at the statistics: Overall viewership is way down and the viewers that remain are in older age groups. So, to address your question, while I still make appearances on television shows, the future of entertainment is producing your own unique content. No one embodies this more than my good buddy, Jeffree Star . I was asking him why he doesn’t participate in TV shows or movies and he abruptly reminded me that he has twelve million followers on Instagram and thirteen million followers on YouTube. Television executives would kill for numbers like that. So, what exciting project am I working on? My team and I crank out original, authentic aesthetic dermatology content every single week that we push out via social media and video-sharing websites!

I’m very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

As a white man I think it would be rather condescending for me to lecture on diversity in the media but I’m proud that my kids attend one of the most diverse schools in one of the most diverse cities in the world. Moreover, it gives me great pleasure to note that LaserAway has over 700 employees, 98% of which are women, and our staff is objectively hand-selected with no regard to race, religion, creed, sexual orientation, or national origin — we have an incredibly diverse team. I think the homogeneity that plagued both the entertainment industry and the workplace for so many years is slowing becoming a relic and I’m optimistic that that all fields will be more inclusive in the future.

From your personal experience, can you recommend some things the community/society/the industry can do help address some of the diversity issues in the entertainment business?

Again, I think would be disingenuous for me pretend to have the answer to any diversity question in the entertainment field. That said, I’m optimistic that this great melting pot we live in will soon spill over and be more accurately represented in the media and arts. But, to get more granular, let me please emphasize that diversity needs to improve not just in entertainment. My message to anyone reading this to not be so narrowminded to think that the disparity is limited to what you seen on your screens; Science-based jobs are sorely lacking women and minorities representation and we as a society desperately need to improve there too. So please do what you can to make entertainment more diverse but acknowledge that not extending that same courtesy to the scientific fields, medicine specifically, is a myopic mistake.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why?

1) The single most difficult word in the English language to say is “yes”. Don’t left fear stifle your potential. Try everything and don’t hold back.

2) Don’t be afraid to pivot. You aren’t the same person today that you were ten years ago and ten years from now you won’t be the same person you are today. Allow yourself to adapt and change without judgement or emotional retribution.

3) Hobbies are good. Don’t feel guilty about having hobbies. You don’t have to always be in work mode. And the irony is that by focusing on your hobbies you’ll be refreshed and more focused when it is time to return to your occupational obligations.

4) Listen more. I’m extremely opinionated and have always accomplished a lot by being headstrong but it took me a long time to find out I’ve found that listening is an easier and more enjoyable means by which to accomplish goals.

5) Laugh, because if you aren’t having fun then you are doing it wrong. I was once working with people who didn’t see my vision and didn’t respect my acumen. I was miserable and we were mired in mediocrity. It was scary to leave but it was the right decision and now I couldn’t be happier, and I laugh all day!

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

As an associate clinical professor, I teach dermatology residents and help guide them as they are starting out on their career paths. This is also true of unscripted television contestants who have just exited a show. Why? Well I do it to help others, but I have a selfish reason too: Being a mentor prevents “burn out”. We are social creatures by nature and when your friends win, you win! My advice to colleagues in entertainment, the medical fields, or any industry for that matter is to “pay it forward” and utilize your wisdom through mentorship.

You are a person of enormous 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. 🙂

Nothing is sexier than intelligence. Nothing! And I wish that we, as a collective society, would put an emphasis on education. While I love the entertainment industry, it is over-romanticized and ultimately may be unfulfilling in many ways. So, it is my firm contention that if we all put a premium on science, technology, engineering, and math, then not only world we all have a deeper connection to nature and our place in the universe, but we’d be protecting our planet for others to enjoy. To best answer your question, I’d like to inspire a movement where scientists, doctors, astrophysicists, conservationists, and researchers have as many social medial followers as models, actors, and musicians so the masses have role models that truly matter and make a meaningful difference in the world.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Everyone wants to define success via a traditional construct: a raise, a promotion, a new role, more episodes, another season, more patients… all demonstrable things. But they have forgotten that just because you can’t measure something doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. So not that they directly helped me achieved any level of success but, I’m grateful for my kids. My kids bestowed the two most valuable yet unquantifiable life lessons: Hard work and patience. It really is the journey that matters most and if you are really honest with yourself you might see realize that the help you got along the way was actually just the friendship, comradery, and support from friends and family that allowed you to work hard and be patient.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Discipline is the key, not the cage.” This is a quote I love and implement into my personal and professional life on a daily basis. Please take a moment, left your eyes softly close, and think about this quote for a moment. Ahhh, there it is. I see so many people who view themselves as “free spirits”, but their lack of discipline actually prevents them from being successful. And not just successful from a business perspective, I mean that they can’t find success in love, in friendship, in hobbies, in life! I objectively compartmentalize all elements of my life and then take a hierarchical approach, an extremely disciplined approach, and it allows me to accomplish more meaningful objects than a haphazard dive in would. There are a lot of negative connotations unfairly associated with the word “discipline” but it’s actually a glorious expression. If you feel caged in for any reason, the paradox is that discipline might be the key that just saves you.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Because I abhor hypocrisy, I always put my money where my mouth is: I’d like to volunteer one day per week of my time to an Elon Musk project. He is a once-in-a-generation thinker and a single, lengthy breakfast or lunch with him just won’t cut it. I have an extremely unique skill set and I’m more than happy to lend it to his causes; that’s how committed I am to bettering science. So, Mr. Musk, if you are reading this, let’s just grab a quick drive-through burrito together and then you put me to work!

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Follow my personal Twitter account at @DrWillKirby, my personal Instagram account at @DrWillKirby1, and you can learn more about my aesthetic dermatology career by going to @LaserAway on Instagram..

This was very meaningful, thank you so much!

Funny how you learn a lot about yourself by answering someone else’s questions. Hmmm.

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