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Photos by Chris Howgate

If nature fails to deliver perfection, there’s always another, synthetic, route to the body of your (or someone else’s) dreams. Devotees of body enhancement in London share their notions of physical beauty
Sustanon / STEROID
fraser, 28 / real-estate consultant

The drug that Fraser takes to further his female-to-male transformation — the basic mechanics of which were achieved with sexual-reassignment surgery — is Sustanon, a steroid that boosts muscle growth and increases male secondary characteristics (e.g., deepening of the voice, growth of facial and body hair, etc.)

“Beauty for me is a toned, muscular,
male physique.”

“I’ve been taking Sustanon since October 2002. My general practitioner prescribed it, acting on instructions from my psychiatrist. The side effects I’ve experienced include acne, a high sex drive, and male-pattern balding — thinning of the hair on my temples.”
Phentermine & Xenical / DIET PILLS
Scarlett, 22 / Photography student

“They’re prescribed by a dodgy South African doctor — he even gave them to friends of mine who are a perfect weight. You walk into the clinic, pay, and they give you the pills. They suppress my appetite, supposedly speed up my metabolism, and there’s a fat-blocker, too. I started taking them when I was 18. Since then it’s been on and off, depending on how much money I have — or how fat I feel.

“Beauty for me is slender, graceful, curved but toned, oozing sex appeal — the girl that everyone wants to be and wants to sleep with.”
Sustanon / STEROID
Alistair, 38 / Chef / drainlayer / gym trainer

“I’ve been taking it occasionally for three years. I started when I was living in Brazil, and I felt a little self-conscious — with all that beauty abounding, and so little covering it! The side effects include dehydration, bad skin, aging. It’s also said to cause bad moods, unreasonable behavior, and even testicle shrinkage. I know I’m stupidly ignoring good professional advice regarding steroid use, especially at my age, and alongside city stress and party overkill. It isn’t a recipe for good health in the long run.

“After I complete an intense workout … I surprise myself as to how buffed I look! That only lasts for three hours, though.”
Ranti, 22 / Furniture-design student

“I smoke a packet of cigarettes every two days — to suppress my hunger. If I’m a bit hungry, I smoke and I forget about food. I can go a day without having food. And honestly, I’m not hungry at all.

“Some people aren’t beautiful in a conventional sense, but they look beautiful. It’s about how you carry yourself. I don’t know — I’m quite happy about how I look.”
BRITNEY, 4 / Cow

Britney is given 200 mg a day of Rumensin at feeding time by her owner, a British farmer who prefers to remain anonymous. Rumensin “enables cattle to obtain more energy from any ration,” according to its manufacturer. Basically, it causes Britney to bulk up while eating less (saving her owner money). The drug, because it’s a non-hormonal growth promoter, allows some British farmers to get around European Union bans on animal growth hormones, which are still commonly used to supersize cattle raised in the US, despite fears among some scientists that they can cause cancer in humans who consume hormone-fed beef.
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