For Brielle Biermann, hindsight is 20/20.
The 22-year-old reality star recently opened up to PEOPLE about why she decided to dissolve her famous lip fillers last month and how her confidence has evolved over the years.
“I’ve been getting them injected off and on since I was 18. I flew out to LA in June 2015 and wanted them done so badly,” she tells PEOPLE. “My mom took me to [celebrity cosmetic surgeon] Dr. Simon Ourian.”
Despite being “terrified of needles,” Biermann says she continued getting her lips done by various doctors during routine trips to Los Angeles — and even admitted to PEOPLE that she’s lost track of the number of times she’s gotten injected: “I don’t even know how many syringes have been used on me over the past five or six years.”
Biermann says she always loved the look of big lips and quickly got carried away, ignoring the advice of friends and family.
“I didn’t realize how big they were,” the star says. “I’d be like, ‘Oh, I’m going to LA,’ and they’re like, ‘Okay, well maybe let’s not inject the top lip. The top looks good. Let’s do the bottom.’ I was like, ‘F*** you guys. I’m going to do what I want’.”
“I didn’t realize how crazy it looked. I feel looking back, my lips really looked a little crazy,” she continues.
Biermann — who’s always been candid with fans and followers about her decision to get her lips injected, but denies undergoing plastic surgery on the rest of her face — says she was “irritated” by the overwhelmingly positive response to the significantly smaller pout she debuted in an Instagram selfie in January.
“First day of work in 2020… last interview of Don’t Be Tardy season 8,” Biermann slyly captioned the shot.
The reality star followed up with an additional post the next day that called attention to her new lips, dissolved by Atlanta-based Dr. Thuy Doan.
“New year! New lips! New hair! Same b****!” Biermann captioned a video, which shows her posing in a mirror.
“The [social media] engagement was through the roof,” Biermann tells PEOPLE. “Everybody was loving my [new] lips. It’s like people are so against any enhancements and are so judgmental. It made me feel bad. I feel bad for people out there who need the enhancements, who want the enhancements, but they’re scared to get judged or to go through kind of what I’ve gone through.”
“I don’t understand why somebody who doesn’t like their lips or hips or whatever can’t go get that fixed if they have the money to,” she says. We shouldn’t shame women for wanting to help themselves. It’s natural, but it doesn’t always have to be the goal.”
The Bravo star also recently shared a series of throwback photos that showed her look before having any lip fillers: “Dissolved my lips yesterday… gonna look like 18-year-old Brielle again soon,” she wrote alongside a photo of herself looking away from the camera. “2020 new year new me!”
Earlier this week, Biermann revealed that she re-injected her lips “just a tad” to correct unevenness from getting them dissolved.
“All the filler I had before made my lips uneven… so I had @dr.thuydoan re-inject my lips JUST A TAD and I couldn’t be happier. Still NO WHERE NEAR how there were before…,” the Don’t Be Tardy reality star wrote over a selfie on her Instagram Story.
Although she added “less is more!” to the caption, Biermann adamantly defends her original decision to enhance her look.
“Not everybody’s born with that beautiful natural pout, those beautiful perky boobs. If we can enhance ourselves, we should uplift women and tell them it’s okay to enhance yourself,” she concludes. “There’s definitely a line between going overboard like I was at one point or just enhancing yourself here and there. If somebody wants under eye filler to brighten their under eyes, we shouldn’t sit here and judge them.”