• Wed, Apr 18 2012

Does It Matter If Crystal Renn Is Plus-Sized Or Not?


Crystal Renn‘s body has spurred many a debate, and her newest look—bleach-blonde and slim—on the cover of Schön! magazine is no exception: Many are saying that she doesn’t look at all like the plus-sized model who rose to fame, and some have said that plus-sized women feel betrayed by her “startling slimdown.” But does it matter if Crystal Renn is plus-sized or not? If you ask us, what matters most about her weight is how everyone chooses to react.

Renn, who struggled with eating disorders and body image issues for several years in the beginning of her modeling career, has said herself that the biggest pressure surrounding her body today come from the media and the public. In an interview posted to her agency’s blog, she explained:

I think that by placing a title on my head, which is ‘plus-size,’ and then the picture that these people have created in their mind about what plus-size actually is, I’ve basically failed you just with that. Because I couldn’t possibly live up to that, and at this point in my life, I would have to actually have another eating disorder to live up to that expectation.

Marsha Hudnall, a registered dietician and owner of women’s health retreat in Vermont, told Shape pretty much the same thing:

Society wants Crystal to fit in a ‘box’ neatly on either end of the scale — extremely thin or plus-size. Now that she doesn’t fit into one of these boxes, it almost seems that people are questioning her honesty.

Hudnall also explained that this kind of obsession over her weight is unhealthy not just for Renn, but for the women who get caught up in tracking her body, and other celebrities’.

In an interview with RadarOnline.com, PLUS Model Magazine Editor-in-Chief Madeline Jones described some of the harsh judgement that’s been placed on Renn’s weight. Specifically, she says that many Plus-sized models take issue with the explanations that Renn’s given for her recent weight loss:

“You don’t lose that much weight doing yoga and hiking! You have to put a lot of effort to go from a 14 to a size 6,” she told RadarOnline.com. “We’re not that stupid, we know how hard it is to lose weight and she insulted our intelligence.”

Radar also quoted Jones as saying that Pus-sized models feel “betrayed” and “insulted” by Renn’s weight loss, but Jones has since claimed she was misquoted in the article.

Crystal Renn’s weight seems to matter to people who aren’t Crystal Renn mostly because we want to validate ourselves through the way she looks. Which isn’t a sustainable way to feel good about your body, whether she looks fat or skinny. Because if Renn has taught us anything, it’s that bodies change; whether it’s because of weight loss, weight gain, age, or even pregnancy—no one gets to keep the same body for life. And getting mad (or gloating) when celebrities’ bodies change isn’t going to make us feel any better about the process.

This doesn’t change the fact that there’s a serious dearth of diversity in women represented by the media. But that’s not Crystal Renn’s cross to bear. She’s only one model, and even in the worst scenario—that she’s backslid into disordered eating and is losing weight in unhealthy ways—her health is her own business, but demanding media representation that doesn’t encourage such behavior is, ultimately, ours.

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  • Naomi

    It’s her body, and she has a right to do what she likes with it. As long as she’s doing what she sees fit for herself, she’s not betraying anyone.

    • Briana Rognlin

      Totally agreed, Naomi!

  • Niki

    Renn went from writing a best-seller about overcoming an eating disorder and becoming a famous plus-sized model to losing it all. She has lost the weight so quickly that she doesn’t even look young and healthy anymore, so I hope that she hasn’t gone back to her old ways. I was happy to hear that Renn was chosen for the ‘Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue’, because they’ve changed their image a bit over the past few years and all types of supermodels ought to be celebrated in that issue. Though she claims to be a size six now (which isn’t that small), she was almost unrecognizable in the photos! Renn was so beautiful as a plus-sized model and often spoke of how proud she was of her body, and self-esteem is what true beauty is all about! I applauded the high-end designers who put her in their ads and runway shows to prove that other shapes and sizes could wear their clothes as well, but it looks like she won’t be standing out much anymore. I think that she looked great in the beginning of her career (pre-eating disorder), but what about all of her fans who also overcame eating disorders and admired her for embracing her body as a voluptuous woman? I don’t blame Renn for wanting to get back into high-fashion modeling, but losing such a large amount of weight and completely changing her image is a pretty big deal! We are all entitled to our own opinions, and I think that this woman is sending the wrong message.

    http://facebook.com/healthhappinessandhottness

  • Corina

    Thanks for linking to me! I agree that the most interesting – and important – aspect of the whole debate is how people have reacted to it. I also don’t understand why some people just assume she returned to dangerous habits to lose weight so she could do high fashion modeling again. That doesn’t even make sense to me?

    1: We don’t know if she intentionally lost weight or not. She has mentioned integrating exercise into her daily routine for the 1st time since recovering from her eating disorder and she had a relationship end around the same time, which can mess up your eating and activity levels.

    2: If she did intentionally lose weight, we don’t know if she did it in a healthy or unhealthy manner. We can speculate based on how she looks in pics or how much bigger or smaller she looks in a period of time, or we can go by what she says in terms of her current/past dress size…but we don’t know for sure.

    3: If she did intentionally lose weight, we don’t know why she chose to do so. She has said that it was a combination of changed activity levels (see above points) and wanting to be more healthy. I tend to believe her on this, because…

    4: She was the top plus size model in the whole world for a while there. She made magazine covers that no plus size model had been on, did runway shows for designers who had never hired plus size models before, and got tons of exposure for being a hot, sexy, curvy lady. Forgive the cliche, but she was a big fish in a small pond at her prior size – one of only a few coveted high fashion plus size models with name recognition. Now she’s a small fish in a big pond competing with other girls that she doesn’t always stand out from. Seems like a dumb business move to me.

    5: People – even famous people – are allowed to make their own decisions about their own bodies. I know some politicians and certain segments of the population don’t agree (at least when it comes to a woman being allowed to make decisions about her own body), but it’s the truth. Even for people that are famous specifically for their bodies!

    Personally speaking, I think she was cute in the beginning of her career, frightening at her thinnest, sexiest at her curviest, and most forgettable now. Luckily I’m pretty sure she doesn’t give a shit what I think about her ;)
    End of rant, thanks for listening lol :D

    • Ella Jane

      I agree with all your points here… my only concern about her recent weight loss is that after she was photoshopped to a fraction of her size in a Nicholas Routzen campaign for the Passion for Fassion, Renn was quoted as saying “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.”

      It looks like she’s back there. Frankly it’s none of my business what she does with her body, and given that we are not friends, haven’t even met, my concern is slightly misplaced. I guess I’m just sad to see one less woman who looks like me in the industry and one more that looks like what I’ll never, ever be.

  • Fabel

    Whatever size she is, she’s being Photoshopped much smaller, for sure. She doesn’t fit the mold for a “straight sized” OR “plus sized” model, but since she’s closer to the former now, they seem to have decided to slim her down even more for pictures.