crystal renn, BACK
beautiful crystal today
im sorry that i deleted this post before. i thougth you should think that this was stuiped or pointless/ meaningless and i guess i cared too much what i thought you should think about this.. i think like this very often, too often and i must learn to stop doing that cuz its blocking me in so many ways and i hate it...
you should really read this article (below) by louise france. its great! but before you read it i think its important to inform you that its not about weight or size, its about health and it's different from person to person..
louise is such a talented writer. i love her choice of words and how the describe certain things like "chewy yeasty dough", makes me think of a warm sourdough oh yum <3 ok you get my point, read the article!!
"I am sitting with one of the world's most successful models in an Italian restaurant in New York, and the model is eating. First she demolishes the contents of the bread basket – hunks of chewy yeasty dough, the kind of crusts Manhattan dentists cite in lawsuits. Then she sets upon a prosciutto, polenta and smoked mozzarella starter that, by my estimate, must surely be 764 calories of creamy, fat-laden comfort food, followed by a main dish of red snapper. I'm all for skipping pudding but she's a fan of the crème brûlée. She orders two, one for me, one for her. She gives the brittle topping a brisk whack with her spoon. "Isn't that just the best bit?" she says.
Six years ago Crystal Renn was an unknown "normal" size model. She weighed 7 stone and easily fitted into the size 0 designer samples routinely sent out for photo shoots. Despite being both skinny and beautiful – eyes like a homeless labrador, hip bones like handlebars – modelling jobs were few and far between. Home was a shared apartment owned by her former agency (which she refuses to name, presumably for legal reasons). Lunch was undressed lettuce and a stick of sugar-free gum. As an alternative to swallowing actual food she'd tune into food programmes on television. She'd watch the presenter bake a tray of brownies and her brain would send an automatic message to her parotid gland: her mouth would flood with saliva.
If Renn had remained as thin as many of her fellow models, we would never have met. She would not be one of the world's most successful models. She might, by her own admission, not even be alive. Now she's the best-known and best-paid "plus size" model in the business, featured in magazines like American Vogue and Harper's Bazaar, sought after by photographers such as Steven Meisel and Patrick Demarchelier. She's famous for her Rubenesque curves, her Moll Flanders bosom. Renn won't tell me how much she earns – "It would be kind of sick" – but I imagine that it must be in seven figures. She's modelled in the catwalk shows of designers like Jean Paul Gaultier (admittedly, the majority of designers, still obsessed with skin and bone, would most likely balk at using her) and fronts an advertising campaign for Evans. She weighs, she says, around 12 stone. She's a British size 14 (on occasion she's gone up to a British size 18). In the real world she'd be pretty average. In the screwy weight-obsessed modelling industry, she really is the elephant in the room.
With the help of a ghostwriter, she's written a vivid, very readable, rather wise memoir called, appropriately enough, as it will turn out, Hungry. She's only 23, which is precociously young to be considering one's autobiography. However, it would be true to say that she has already lived enough for several lives already. I can't imagine the book will sit particularly well with the mainstream modelling industry. She is devastating about what the business is like for the young women who dream of being the next Kate Moss or Liya Kebede: the pressure to stay thin, the unspoken camaraderie among anorexics, the shared apartments that sound more like coops for battery hens. But for anyone who is at all thoughtful about women and weight and the so-called obesity crisis, it is a revealing portrayal. Wannabe 13-year-old models should read it, as should their mothers. Twenty-three or not, she'd make an excellent patron for any charity that deals with young women and body image.
Crystal Renn and I meet again the following day. Apart from her fingernails, which are bitten down to the quick, a habit that dates back to the days of her eating disorder, she exudes ruddy good health. She's wearing Helmut Lang shorts over shiny leggings from Camden market, Lanvin flats, a checked lumberjack shirt from a charity shop. She sits cross-legged in an armchair, keen to talk. I don't think I've ever interviewed someone this intense, as in-the-moment as Crystal Renn. The morning segues into the afternoon. I decide that she's not the kind of person who does anything half heartedly, whether it's starving herself, being interviewed, or falling in love – two years ago she married Greg, a school teacher and the first man she'd ever had sex with.
We flick through some modelling pictures of when she was thin. When she talks about her old life she seems to slip back into it, as if hypnotised. It's the kind of skill – flipping in and out of personas – that actresses have, and I imagine it's partly what makes her a convincing model.
"I see someone who has nothing inside, who is unfeeling, incapable of understanding what is happening to them. I talk about it as if it is a separate person. I don't feel that I am that person in any way. I am startled by the way my body looks when I don't eat. I think that is a picture of someone who looks like they are dying. That is me facing death at a really young age. I was all bones." She pauses. "My face looks weirdly bloated. My lips don't match the rest of my face – it looks as if I'd had lip injections. My back would stick out more than my front. I am just a straight line. At the time that is what I thought I needed to be."
She suspects the picture would have been retouched – to make her look bigger. "How sick was I really? How much did the photographer change?"
Unpicking why Renn spent three years of her life starving herself is not easy. We could start with the day a modelling scout picked her out at school in Clinton, Mississippi when she was 14 and a healthy, dessert-eating size 12. Renn says she never looked at any glossy magazines, had no concept of whether she was beautiful or not. "He got up from his chair and said: 'You are going to be a star. You can live in New York. Travel the world.' He showed me a picture by Steven Meisel in a copy of US Vogue. I had never even picked up Vogue." Then came the deal breaker. "He brought out a tape measure. 'Let me measure your hips,'" he said. They measured 43 inches. The number, says Renn, meant nothing to her. The scout told her she had to lose 10 inches. She remembers thinking: "Ten. Ten is nothing. Ten is such a stupid little number. Ten."
That evening she ate her last carefree, calorific meal: a fried cheesecake from Applebee's. Over the following months the scout came back twice to check on her progress. By the time her hip measurement had shrunk to 33 inches she'd lost 40% of her body weight.
Renn: "The stereotype of models is that we're brain-dead, but some of us are just starving." Between the ages of 14 and 17 getting thin – and staying thin – was Renn's obsession. The day she looked at her legs in the mirror and saw a gap between her thighs was a day of celebration. In 2001 the scout's agency signed her up and she left school and moved to New York. To be fair to her agency, they told her not to lose any more weight – they lied on her modelling card and said she was heavier than she was – but on the other hand there was a constant pressure to stay thin. She had all the signs of someone with an eating disorder, but no one took her to one side, including her grandmother, which I find strange, but she says that she would have carried on starving herself anyway. In photographs she is pasty, gaunt. She looks as though she has a near-fatal illness – which she did have.
There was some income through modelling, but not much. It doesn't sound like she was very good at it. She was too obsessed with her diet. "Now the problem was how to maintain what I had accomplished. That is very hard when your body doesn't want to be 95lb. When it is naturally more like 175lb." She barely ate, she took diuretics, she joined two gyms so that she could exercise for eight hours a day without being questioned. Every night she would ritualistically examine her body "as though it was a road map. Every vein, every bone. The way my feet looked". Her shoe size shrank. This horrifies me more than anything, more than the palpitations, the pain in her throat, the nights when she would get out of bed, cram a spoonful of peanut butter into her mouth, swish it about and then spit it out. "Even feet have padding," she says, sounding astonished that I had never thought of it.
The strange thing is it all stopped as abruptly as it began. Renn's body began to reject the extreme regime, and she put on weight. The agency noticed and called her in for a meeting. "I knew what was happening," she writes in the book. "They were going to take Polaroids and rub the truth in my face, like a dog trainer pushing a dog's nose in its excrement."
"You need to go on a diet," the head of the agency said. "I have a $40,000 job for you in two weeks. It could make you. But you have to get the thighs down."
She refused. A week later she signed on with Ford, an agency which has always had a reputation for supporting the careers of plus-size models, and she started to eat again. "Pizza, peanut butter, chocolate mud cakes. I ate a lot of those." She describes how she would sit on the sofa watching daytime television eating cheesecake every day. "Those first few months. It was absolutely amazing. It was heaven." I wonder if it was as easy as this – what must it have really been like to lie in the bath and look at her body and see new folds of flesh, squashy pillows of fat, when for all that time she'd been as straight and rigid as a clothes peg? She says: "Each pound was a discovery. I liked it. I felt myself becoming more who I am. I had a cleavage suddenly. I started wearing heels, short dresses, colour. I was becoming the weight I naturally am. It felt like I was a woman finally."
The recent brouhaha around the photograph of naked plus-size model Lizzie Miller in US Glamour magazine goes to show just how passionate people get about weight and body image. Miller's photograph, replete with modest pouch of belly fat, became a news story on both sides of the Atlantic despite the fact that this is how the majority of women look when they take off their clothes (if they're lucky).
It's the same with Renn. Everyone has a view on how she should look. Stylists have complained about "having to do the fat girl" when she turns up for shoots. She's turned up for jobs only to find that the clothes don't fit. On websites people write "barf" underneath her pictures. On the other side of the debate, some photographers have deliberately made her look fatter than she is. She happily admits to having cellulite, but there have been shoots that have been lit to accentuate it. Then bloggers complain that she is not fat enough. "Everyone expects me to be this huge woman," she says.
The irony, of course, is that Crystal Renn is really not fat. She's not even chubby. She's 5ft 9in. Her vital statistics are 38-31-42. She's slight enough to get away with not wearing a bra. The idea that she's plus size seems daft, I suggest. But she resents the idea that everyone has an opinion on the breadth of her thighs. "If they judge me for not being big enough, is that not the same as judging me for not being thin enough? When do we stop? My size shouldn't matter," she says. "Let's get rid of straight size and plus size. It's bullshit. Just say model. Full stop."
This is a bit like having her cake and eating it (which I suppose is what she is doing, both literally and within the industry). She's in a business that is predicated on judgment values. Part of her success is because she's known as the plus-size model. Indeed, read the book and she sounds like a spokesperson on behalf of overweight Americans who she thinks are in danger of becoming marginalised and demonised. At the same time she rails against skinny models – "flounder-flat fish-eyed eastern European girls" – and the trend away from the Amazonian supermodels we were used to in the 80s. She argues for an end to sample sizes and underage models, both of which perpetuate the notion that size 0 is normal.
Ultimately Renn has no answers. She does not have the solution to the increasing rates of girls with anorexia. But she speaks a great deal of sense when you consider the fact that she is only in her early 20s, and the background she came from. Ultimately you can't help but wish her well. She's a much better role model for teenage girls than someone like Victoria Beckham or the Olsen twins. "I'm a curvy girl. You can't erase it… Women should be able to look at me and think: 'She's beautiful.' But also: 'I could look like that.'"
.....if you haven’t read crystal renns book Hungry, READ IT. i will. When i find it, and i never read. never
take care loves
this makes me so happy
take care <3
she talks so much sense. she is so lovely.
I actually read the whole thing! I don't think she's too honest when she says that gaining weight was that easy...I felt really uncomfortable in my own skin when I did (the flesh in my stomach when I sat, my face was rounder, my arms no longer looked like sticks. And having to buy lots of new BIGGER clothes...that sucks), but she's nevertheless inspiring.
P.s. I'm saying this as I eat a delicious apple crumble I baked this evening :D
i love that you put it back up again! this is such a good post!
Thank you! i loved this post!
thank you miriam, I don't have time to read it right now, so please let it be here for tomorrow??
she can be fat because her face is beautiful.
almost girls are "normal personn" not mannequin ,
ugly + fat is different
I think u have totally missed the point here.....................
M- you 2 <3
Jimena- yes, i agree with you! i know the feeling and the struggle too. thanks for yr comment<3
tononame- than tell me instead of sneaking with words, i like to know what i've "totally missed" here
anym- thats bullshit... we have just created this stupid norm what beauty is, it's sad and crazy
Jimena is right about gaining weight
And this post is great and she is beautiful
anym- yes she has and thank you
hehe I meant the post i wrote to the anonymous person who wrote "she can be fat because she's beautiful.... etc"
i love the post
to no name- ah ok sry, my mistake heh
hur går det i skolan? går du fortfarande? vad vill du göra senare? :)
To no name: i think "anonymous" missed nothing.
he/she (?) IS RIGHT!
I'm ugly face, i feel better since i'm very skinny than fat.
steph- gahh stop sayin that!! i just can't agree with you..
for example, this picture is not about her face or her body/how she looks
it's her confidence that makes this picture so beautiful! it dosent matter what siza u are! trust me
anym- skolan går skit. går sista året.. längtar tills jag går ut.. skall inte plugga vidare efteråt. har ig i typ alla ämnen förutom teater som jag har mvg i heh
åh vilken fråga. jag gillar så himla mycket
just nu har jag lite planer på gång. dock lite hemliga men jag skulle vilja hålla på med både konst och politik. två saker som jag vet inte hör ihop men det vill jag ändra på. jag har även ett brinnande intresse för mat som jag inte vill släppa. även träning och kost är någonting som jag älskar och är väldigt intresserad utav. och reklam i dagens samhälle tycker jag är väldigt intressant, alltså hur man idag använder sig av den och så.. fast jag gillar ju också att skriva. vi får se vart jag hamnar heh (+teater är också jätte kul!!)
crystal is no longer a plus sized model in my opinion, she looks skinny nowadays..