by ALISON SMITH-SQUIRE - on 2nd April 2007 Like many women of her generation, Shahnaz Khan devoted her 20s to studying and furthering her career, but as the university lecturer reached her 30s she realised she was ready for the next stage in her life. She saw herself married to a wealthy and loving man, living in a period detached house, preferably in some leafy road with two children - naturally a boy first, followed by a little girl. It is a dream which no doubt strikes a chord with many a single career woman, whose biological clock has started ticking loudly in her ear. , whereas most would content themselves with upping their social life, maybe cutting back on their work hours and perhaps getting out a little more, Shahnaz embarked on a far more radical, expensive and ambitious plan to attract a suitable partner. She decided that the only way to ensure her dream of meeting Mr Right became reality was if she re-invented herself and looked completely different. Consequently, she has spent the best part of the past decade travelling the globe in a bid to transform herself into a woman with the looks she believes are necessary to snare such a desirable man. Her quest for the finest cosmetic surgery to perfect her facial features has seen her fly thousands of miles, from her cottage in Bradford to countries such as the USA, Croatia and Thailand. To date, she has spent somewhere in the region of £20,000 on re-modelling her face Apart from spending large amounts of money on beauty creams and hair treatments, she has had two nose jobs, a nose tip elevation, a mini face-lift, face peeling antiwrinkle treatment, eye lift and bag removal and - apparently most painful of all - a dimple inserted into her cheek. Her eyebrows have also been removed and tattooed on, along with further tattoos of eyeliner, lip liner and lipstick - a type of permanent make-up that the strongest cleanser will never remove. Shahnaz’s face re-modelling, which began in 1999 and finally ended this year, is now complete. Yet, whether reinventing herself has been a worthwhile investment, resulting in the realisation of her life dream, remains to be seen. For although she has indeed rekindled a relationship of sorts with a man from her past, the bottom line is that since she began, nearly a decade has passed. Shahnaz, is now 41 and not only is she still single, she is also still a virgin. And, having spent so long preparing herself for the next step in her life, her chances now of having the two children she longs for are slim. Shahnaz’s journey began when, having dedicated herself to years of study - achieving degrees and other qualifications in psychology, drama and archaeology, she took a long critical look in the mirror and didn’t like the face she saw. "I was a nerd, a bookworm," she recalls, "Throughout my 20s I had dedicated myself to academic research. My head was filled with literature, words and statistics. "I wore no make-up and dressed frumpily, having no idea what clothes suited me. "It was only in my early 30s, when I’d just begun lecturing under a clinical psychologist, that I realised I had to break out of the suffocating academic world I had existed in for most of my life. The clinical psychologist I was working for wasn’t only clever, she was a trendy woman with a great sense of fashion and made me realise you could be academic and attractive. "It was as if I’d emerged from an enclosed room of intense studying into one of light. "I suddenly noticed how other women took care of their appearance and when I compared myself to them, the difference was startling." At the same time Shahnaz says she answered an ad for a therapist to work for a football club, motivating the team. It was there, during her interview, she met Michael for the first time. "He was a wealthy businessman who was involved in the running of the club. He was more than 20 years older than me but everything I wanted in a partner," she says. "I didn’t take up the job but we got on well and we met again a few days later to discuss work. "He made an off the cuff remark about me being beautiful. But when I got home and looked at myself I realised he must have been referring to my mind, and not my face. "He hadn’t seen the real me because I didn’t look as I felt inside. "The problem was I had a plain, boorish face. I didn’t feel ugly but when I went out I felt invisible and insignificant. "When I thought about it more, I came to the conclusion that people looked past me - there was nothing about my face to hold their interest. "I then realised that although I had developed my mind, I hadn’t developed my appearance. It doesn’t matter how clever or worldly you are - people make snap judgments in seconds. "The truth was that my outward appearance was holding me back." And Shahnaz came to the rather drastic, and sad, conclusion that unless she radically changed her looks, the type of relationship she yearned for would elude her. "I didn’t just want to marry anyone," she says. "There were men that fancied me but I didn’t like them. I went on a few dates, but there was never anyone serious. "My looks didn’t attract the sort of wealthy, intelligent men like Michael. Instead, they were seedy or unintelligent men who thought, mistakenly, that I would be the right woman for them." As a result, Shahnaz executed the first stage of what she called her "plan of enhancement". "To start with, I had blonde highlights and extensions put in my hair. I bought magazines and studied the fashion pages, then I went out and bought myself some new clothes," she says. "But I soon realised I would have to do more than this if I were to really transform myself." She began studying the faces of celebrities she wanted to emulate. "I wasn’t going to be unrealistic and become a fake plastic Barbie doll type of person," she explains. "So I focused on women - mainly film stars - who I admired and whom I felt shared a similar look with me. Sophia Loren was one, Gina Lollobrigida was another, as was Ava Gardner. "I studied photos of their noses, their eyes, their mouths - I reckoned if I tweaked parts of my face in a similar way, it would enhance my looks." She then began saving up for the surgery. "As well as working full-time as a lecturer, which gave me a salary of over £25,000, I took on lots of extra jobs," she says. "In the evenings I washed dishes in a hotel, I looked after children in a private nursery, I stacked shelves in my local supermarket. "To help me afford good skin creams I would write to cosmetic companies and ask for samples, which they would then send me. I managed to afford my hair highlights by going to hairdressers as a model." As devout Muslims, it’s perhaps no surprise that her family were deeply shocked by the changes Shahnaz was making to her appearance. "They felt they were unnecessary and that I should live with the face I had been given," Shahnaz says. "I come from a very academic family. My mother, Madina, couldn’t believe it when she saw my hair. She and my father, a teacher, who came to Britain from Pakistan in the 1960s, had instilled a strong academic work ethic in me and my five brothers and sister. "I couldn’t blame them for wondering if I was doing the right thing. I was brought up as a strict Muslim - to have a beautiful mind and not a beautiful body. "I am sure they thought what I was doing was simply frivolous, but while they didn’t approve, they didn’t try to stop me. "Perhaps it was clear to them how important the changes in my appearance were to me. The way I look now has transformed my personality and made me much happier." Her first cosmetic procedure cost £1,000 and involved having make-up tattooed on her face. "This was a fantastic investment," enthuses Shahnaz. "It meant that even first thing in the morning or last thing at night I looked freshly made-up." Shahnaz then accompanied her 20-year-old niece, Nya, on an appointment to see Dr Michael Evans Sachs, a surgeon renowned for his nose jobs. Nya was considering having a nose job and they saw Dr Sachs, who is based in New York, at a consultation day he was doing in Britain. "While I was there with my niece, he mentioned my nose was rather broad," says Shahnaz. "When I got home and looked at my nose I thought he was right." Shahnaz’s method of choosing her surgeons was slightly unorthodox: not only did she check their qualifications she also checked if their astrological charts were in line with hers. Convinced the American doctor’s horoscope did match her own, in 2002 Shahnaz visited Dr Sachs’s clinic in New York. "I had the first nose job in 2002. However, creating a smaller, narrower nose took two nose jobs over a couple of years in New York, totalling £3,500. "At the same time, I also had my eyes done, which cost £2,000. My upper lids were drooping - but as soon as this excess skin was removed, they looked larger and clearer. "I also had fat removed from the lower lid giving me the eyes of a teenager." But her odyssey wasn’t over. "