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Erin Strecker
September 12, 2013 AT 06:31 PM EDT

It’s secret week on The Talk, and each day, one of the ladies on the panel is opening up about a deep secret. On Monday, Sharon Osbourne shared that in her 20s, she had a fling with Jay Leno (!). Today, the topic got more serious for Julie Chen.

In a nearly 10-minute segment, Chen spoke movingly about her decision to, when she was 25 and a reporter for a local station in Ohio, get eye surgery. Her then-boss told her she’d never be an anchor with her eyes. “He said, ‘Let’s face it, Julie, how relatable are you to our community?'” Chen relayed. “How big of an Asian community do we really have in Dayton? … On top of that, because of your heritage, because of your Asian eyes, I’ve noticed that when you’re on camera, when you’re interviewing someone, you look disinterested and bored because your eyes are so heavy, they are so small.'”

She talks about how devastated she was, and, after getting similar feedback from some agents, decided to go ahead and have the surgery. Shortly after doing so, her career took off. “Now, it’s like I sometimes wonder. But I will say after I had that done, everything kind of, the ball did roll for me. I struggle with, ‘Wow. Did I give in to the man in doing this?'”

Check out a highlight clip — which also has her co-hosts’ supportive reactions — below:

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