Crystal Renn Talks Curvy Models for Marina Rinaldi 2011 Campaign

(Please read our 4/26/11 article on anorexia. We feel even more strongly that Crystal Renn should not be discussing healthy weight management, when she is not an expert on successful recovery from anorexia. Today’s NYTimes article treats anorexia as alcoholism, saying that a woman (10 times as many sufferers from anorexia are women) is at risk for many years, perhaps decades. Read Anorexia in Thirds
 1/3 Die, 1/3 Relapse, 1/3 Recover.

Crystal Renn is interviewed in Daily Mail about her new Marina Rinaldi 2011 campaign, explaining to readers why she refuses to be defined by being plus-size or a size 2.

Renn says: ‘Just because someone is a size zero, it doesn’t mean they can wear a skirt any better than someone else who is a size 14. I know, because I’ve been a size zero, and I honestly felt better about myself when I was a size 14.’

Great, Crystal. Then why go from a size 14 back to a size 2-4?

As a woman whose own weight has moved up and down the scale over the years, I understand Crystal Renn’s argument. I just want her to stop talking about herself as an adviser to women about weight issues with little professional education on the topic, that would ground her personal advice in scientific facts.

Even in her Daily Mail interview, Crystal Renn sounds like a paid spokeswoman:

Some people think that if you are plus-size, you can’t be chic, that you have to hide your figure away. Marina Rinaldi never tries to do that — their clothes are beautifully cut to accentuate a woman’s curves, to show them as the assets and attributes they are.

Crystal Renn Says She Weighs 45 Pounds More Than Her Anorexia Days

Crystal Renn insists that she now weighs about 45 pounds more than when she was a ‘straight-size’, size zero model, making her — as she insists — a lot heavier than the average model.

Her irritation about people’s wanting to categorize her size is becoming a bit self-absorbed for me.

I could care less what size Crystal Renn is as a model. However, she did establish a personal, psychological relationship with women who struggle with their weight and body image.

American women — and Brits, too — are very screwed up on this entire subject, compared to French, Italian, Brazilian and probably Swedish women, too.

After hearing Crystal Renn’s recent video, in which she is positively misty-eyed about her new modeling assignments, in a way that the fierce supermodels of the 90s never would have been, I have my own doubts about just where the Crystal Renn story is going.

My focus is on her personal authenticity as a woman, not her size. I am also concerned about her psychological wellbeing, hearing her sound like a newly crowed Miss America, when talking about modeling for Karl Lagerfeld, who I believe has a complex relationship with strong, powerful women.

I supported her weight loss to whatever healthy weight Crystal chooses. However, my allegiance is to readers who don’t need one more canned message about weight control and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Turning to for information about weight cycling — which even Crystal Renn admits she does — the health information disputes some of the bad news I’ve read about gaining, losing, gaining weight.

While most experts don’t recommend weight cycling, this article says:

  • A person who repeatedly loses and gains weight doesn’t struggle harder to lose weight in the future, because weight cycling doesn’t affect metabolic rate.
  • Weight cycling doesn’t increase the amount of fat tissue when weight is regained. Muscle isn’t lost and may be gained if one is on an exercise program even if weight is gained.
  • Studied don’t confirm that regained weight settles around the stomach, which is more dangerous fat.

This article suggests that the biggest damage of weight cycling is the negative psychological effects of failure and discouragement over regaining weight. Crystal Renn confuses me when she says that she loved herself more at size 14 than as a size 0 model — yet she lost the weight again, which most doctors will say was good for her health.

Self-esteem, guilt, and defeatism are critical psychological states for women who are yo yo dieters beyond a few pounds. For Crystal Renn to suggest that we are all beautiful at any size is great advice and the first step to self-love, not self-loathing.

I just don’t want to wonder if Crystal Renn’s advice today was paid for by Marina Rinaldi but when the focus is her shots in Vogue Mexico she’ll be agreeing with Kate Moss that ‘nothing tastes as good as thin feels’.(I love Kate, in spite of her statement.)

The Sexual Politics of Downsized Women

The fashion industry has sent many mixed messages to women over the years. For me, redefining a healthy body from size 4-6 90s supermodel size, to a 21st century size 0 body has come at a considerable cost to women’s psyches and self-confidence.

My readers know that I consider the size 0 model — or fashion monasticism — to be another manifestation of men’s need to control women’s bodies. I’m too involved in sexual politics to ignore the reality that women have been downsized. I write these words acknowledging the rise of the luxury market in Asia where beautiful, small women abound.

It was the firing of Filippa Hamilton by Ralph Lauren for being too fat that caused me to step back and take this new direction of thought and analysis. Filippa wasn’t only not fat — she is damn sensual. The gears in my mind have gone through a seismic shift in the last 18 months around the fashion industry, models, body image and sexual politics — aka feminism.

Filippa Hamilton has stayed true to herself in the last two years. We’ll see her looking gorgeous in bikinis for H&M this week. Filippa penned no books or made herself a spokesperson for strong, sexy, healthy women.

Crystal Renn should just focus on being a great model at whatever size she wants to be. I don’t appreciate her constantly expressed annoyance that people are trying to put her under the model size microscope.

The way to end the limelight pressure is to stop talking about the issue. Then people will move on. Anne

Recent Crystal Renn:

ALL articles on Crystal Renn

Anorexia in Thirds | 1/3 Die, 1/3 Relapse, 1/3 Recover (Crystal Renn at Met gala for Alexander McQueen May 2, 2011)

Crystal Renn’s ‘Oh My Lord & Taylor’ Campaign

Fashion & Feminism | Crystal Renn’s Miss America Chanel Moment

Crystal Renn’s Ford Model Card Calls Her a Size 2