People magazine published a compendium of former Disney stars, including Miley Cyrus, Hilary Duff, and Ashley Tisdale, on their celebrity blog today. Only instead of the typical “where are they now” fodder, they hired Hollywood trainer Harley Pasternak to talk about where their bodies are now. “Let’s take a look at some Disney child stars who have blossomed into hard bodies and how they stay in shape,” he begins. “I’ve included some exceptions who’ve opted to “fill out” rather than work out.”
And that’s only the intro.
To be fair, half the point of marketing yourself as a Hollywood trainer is to convince clients that you’ll make them look like a star, so it’s no shocker that Pasternak is a little superficial. But snarking on how the “fit (and not so fit)” stars’ bodies have changed since their Disney days doesn’t seem like a smart way to make anyone want to work with you, not even women who are obsessed with conforming to Hollywood ideals.
Would you want to work with a guy who said this about Lindsay Lohan?
“She’s thin, yes, but thin doesn’t equal healthy! In fact, Lindsay has become something of a poster child for an unhealthy young woman.”
Or this about Christina Aguilera?
“While I applaud her for embracing her body, I can’t help but be a little skeptical. While she’s definitely not grossly overweight, she doesn’t look comfortable in her own skin like she did once upon a time. When Christina was in prime shape, she commanded attention and exuded confidence. What do you think?”
Or someone whose primary concern when observing Vanessa Hudgens‘ performance was the way she looked?
“I saw her performance in Sucker Punch, and was very impressed by her amazing body!”
Not only is he blurring the line between health and looks; he’s sizing up the worth of each star based on their bodies.
And notably, he only chose to scrutinize former female Disney stars. Ryan Gosling, Justin Timberlake, and Shia Labeouf are missing from his list (despite the fact that a large part of their fame is blatantly tied to the way their bodies have “blossomed” since their Mickey Mouse Club days).
I’m not the only one who thought his blog post was tasteless. Commenters were so upset that Pasternak apologized…in the comments section:
To those of you whom I offended in today’s blog, I apologize. It was absolutely not my intention to do so.
In no way, shape or form do I think that a woman’s value is determined by her weight. I was not commenting on these women’s worth. Above all, I am an advocate for health. Health through diet, lifestyle, physical activity, and overall wellness. I am not an expert on self-worth or psychological well-being, i am an expert on nutrition and fitness, and in this blog, that is what I discuss weekly. Skinny does not equal healthy, and fat does not equal unhealthy, and neither can determine who you are as a person.
I understand the objection that many of you had that i commented on women that have never been clients of mine, and I can’t help but agree with you. I should not have commented on people i don’t know information about first hand.
As we all know, as a nation, we’re out of shape, and my job is to help people be the healthiest versions of themselves through diet and exercise. But we’re also a nation fighting eating disorders and body image issues, and I should be more sensitive to both issues.
Please accept my apologies.
Hollywood trainers tread a precariously thin line when it comes to promoting health and marketing themselves in an industry that puts strong emphasis on looks.
The vast majority of Hollywood clients aren’t paying hundreds of dollars a session to lower stroke risk and maintain healthy arteries. But even if customers do prioritize aesthetic results, trainers like Pasternak should know better–and do better–than this.