I was at the book store a few months ago and was stoked to see Hungry, the autobiography of plus-sized model Crystal Renn on the shelf.
I devoured this book almost as fast as I would a slice of carrot cake and definitely did not have buyer’s remorse.
Basically, Renn provides a very candid account of her foray into modeling that quickly segued into a dangerous spiral of compulsive exercising and severely undereating in order to whittle herself to the skeletal proportions she was brainwashed believed were necessary to have a successful modeling career.
Luckily, Renn had a revelation after her skeletal self was told she needed to go on a diet in order to snag a job that could “make her.”
After spilling all of the dirty deets to her agent about her ridiculously excessive exercise regime, accompanied by the most punitive of diets, the agent responded that as long as she gained any weight, she can still work, never in a high fashion sense, but in a “sexy” sense (think Victoria’s Secret, not Vogue).
Renn’s agent was even more defeatist about plus-size modeling, telling her she’d never do any editorial.
I bet that agent is choking on her words somewhere because Renn has done plenty of work for magazines like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, and Elle, and for designers like Jean-Paul Gaultier and Dolce & Gabbana.
Oh and she’s now a size 12 and I’m not shocked that she’s an even better model, especially given she’s not constantly so hungry she’d eat her arm if it wouldn’t ruin her modeling career.
Renn makes no bones (pun not intended) about saying that her career skyrocketed after she gained weight and also offers great insight like this:
“Whatever our size, whatever our history, and whatever our burden — if we choose not to be happy, we won’t be. So many women spend their entire lives thinking they’re too heavy, and then they look back at pictures of themselves when they were younger and realize they were beautiful. It’s sad that they didn’t know it at the time.”
Most recently, there was a frenzy on the fashion/gossip blogs in which pictures of Renn taken for a “Fashion For Passion” campaign were edited to make her look slimmer.
Well, what better way to clear up a mix up than to go directly to the source?
“I was shocked. When I saw the pictures, I think I was silent for a good five minutes, staring with my mouth open. I don’t know what was done to those photos or who did it, but they look retouched to me. And listen, everybody retouches, but don’t make me into something I’m not….Having had an eating disorder, I know what that very thin body looks like on me, and it’s not something I find attractive. It’s not something I aspire to.”
Do you think editors have a right to digitally alter pictures for the prospect of selling more magazine issues?
Or do you think this practice should be discouraged as much as possible and that models should be portrayed in their natural glory?
Would you like to see these cover models taking more of a proactive stance by speaking out against their air-brushed photos like Renn did?
Have you ever stopped buying/reading a magazine because of excessive photo-altering?