Plus-size model Crystal Renn doesn’t like being called “plus-size”. She also doesn’t like people making fun of her past eating disorder. So why would the size 10 model indulge in a photoshoot of face-stuffing sausage, flanks of meat and a massive serving of spaghetti (photos below)?
The series of “fashionable” photos featuring the 24-year-old Renn were the brainchild of celebrity photographer Terry Richardson. They aren’t the first in controversial photos for the photographer, who’s been known in the past for “sexually exploiting males” and creating a reputation
of photoshoots that are to an “extent autobiographical and are noted for their controversial, graphic sexual subject matter.” The pile-on photos of Renn pigging out are not only strengthening the myth that plus-size models are diet negligent but are also putting Renn’s reputation back in “potentially disastrous” territory, according to StyleBistro.com
. While Crystal has, in the past, come forward about her past eating disorder she’s also been quick to point her finger at the strictly-thin modeling and fashion industry. While the young model worked in the business sporting a size 0, in the past seven years she’s made a name for herself as a happy, plus-size model at a size 12 (now a size 10). After pictures emerged of Renn looking “shockingly thin”, she was left defending her frame and figure. Industry expert Nicholas Routzen blogged about the instigating photoshoot and said that Renn doesn’t have issues with body weight or eating and that she’s “in great shape”. However, he says, her looks can and do change based on the camera angle and lighting in any given portrait. “I don’t want some girl who’s recovering from anorexia to see the picture and think I don’t think that you can be any size and be beautiful. That’s completely not what I’m about,” People.com quoted
the 5-foot-9 model as saying after losing 25 pounds post-‘plus-size’ debut. “Over the years I had made my way down to 165 lbs. and a size 12,” she said, adding that her recent weight loss is a result of working out – Something she had shunned for almost a decade after being super-skinny and “miserable”
. In a past blog post about Crystal Renn at Size 12, one reader retaliated against her fuller frame saying, “It must be nice to eat everything you want!” Unknowing to Renn’s motive for doing the French Vogue shoot, her spread does
contribute to the belief that “plus-size” models can eat anything they want, penetrating an ignorant belief that being curvy is being unhealthy. She may not like being labeled a “plus-size” model, but she is. And engaging in a smorgasbord of a photo feastmay not have been the best move for breaking trends in popular thought that curvy females are that way because they pig out. Miss Plus-Size America 2003 and spokesperson for the Binge Eating Disorder Association Chenese Lewis
says it best.
“There is no part of Crystal Renn that is overweight or obese, so for someone to assume she has unhealthy eating habits because she is a plus-size model is very ignorant,” Lewis says of past comments on Renn’s weight. “I think people associated the word ‘plus-size’ with fat and unhealthy and unfairly stereotype people.”
She adds, “There is a major misconception that if someone is plus-sized that they have let themselves go or don’t care about themselves. And it’s simply not true. Someone can have a healthy and active lifestyle and not be skinny.” Renn has said before that she loves “the opportunity” as a curvy model “to show that you can be big and beautiful and sexy outside”. She says she appreciates her role in the modeling industry because she’s able to defy “the narrow interpretations that normally define” the runway. So in her binge eating photoshoot is she helping to facilitate the narrow-minded facade that bigger girls eat bigger meals?
Article by Examiner * * * * * * * * * * * When I first saw these ads (which will be in French Vogue’s 90th Anniversary issue), my first thought was the obvious sexualization between the food and Crystal – which is a common denominator in every Terry Richardson photograph (very original). But then it does go deeper. I’m not sure what Crystal and Terry were thinking when they shot these editorials, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Terry just wanted to make a photo about gluttony while using Crystal and the food to be provocative. He just does that. All the time. But I wonder it was meant to be as controversial as it is, communicating that people who fit into the “plus size” categories don’t eat well. Did Crystal and Terry think about that? Crystal did have an eating disorder and she is a fighter for plus size models. Would she and Terry make such a negative statement about the relationship of food and plus-size models just for the sake of controversy? Without a doubt, Terry would do anything just to get some buzz. But I’m not sure about Crystal. I’m hoping that in the near future, Crystal will talk about the shoot (she usually does if and when her work is being criticized/misunderstood) and what was implied.