I just finished reading plus size model Crystal Renn's new book, Hungry: A Young Model's Story of Appetite, Ambition and the Ultimate Embrace of Curves. I'm not really sure what I was expecting, I guess just an autobiography of sorts about her struggles with eating disorders as a straight-size model and how she accepted her body as a size 12 plus-size model. I appreciate the book for the efforts she goes to in explaining the fallicies in the BMI methodologies and how a size 12 is average these days, but it was almost like 2 different books. 1 book of her autobiographical journey, which I found interesting, and the other book of citing scientific studies and other peoples articles about size.
I love Crystal Renn because she is gorgeous and has broken many barriers in the plus size modeling industry (appearing in Vogue, walking in Jean-Paul Gaultier's show, ads for Dolce & Gabbana etc.) but I guess I just didn't relate to this book. I'm glad she pontificates on health at every size and being happy and having a positive body image, but in my eyes, if I was a size 12, I would be ridiculously happy! I guess it all comes from which perspective you're reading from. As a formerly size 34 person, looking at someone who can just eat healthily (but she's a smoker, blech.) and live the dream I look at her as one lucky beeyotch! But I'm glad now I know where she came from and what she went through to try to figure out she can't keep starving herself and working out 8 hours a day.
This is one of the quotes that got me to empathize and relate to her:
“My struggle was the same as that of so many other Americans, just writ small. Whether you're desperate to lose ten pounds or 110 pounds, the feeling of self-loathing is the same; it doesn't matter what your magic number is.”
Crystal also does state that she gets people upset at her for being a size 12 (she's a prominent model for Lane Bryant and Evans) because that isn't big enough; but on the flip size she can be seen as too large by some to do high fashion straight size editorial work. In one of her research-citing sections she states:
“People tend to get fervent about fat because they see it as threatening to the social order. They claim obesity is destroying the fabric of our nation, ripping its seams like a butt tearing through the seat of some too-small pants.”
Um, okay? But she also says how she's just on the “overweight” side of the BMI scale, which doesn't qualify her as”obese.” Nor has she ever been what I think people would typically describe as “obese.” Having never, ever remembering being under a size 14 (when I was 12), I have a really hard time relating.
I'm not knocking Crystal or the book at all. I'm glad she was able to find a place to tell her story. I just can't relate. I do hope that other aspiring models will have access to the story though and recognize the dangers of anorexia and compusive exercise. That being said, I'm not sure who the audience of the book is.
Anyway, I'm personally lukewarm on it. Wish her all the luck in the world, she is truly gorgeous and I appreciate her helping break larger sizes (even though not true plus large) into the high fashion world. She says in the video linked below she might want to do a clothing line or something, and if that's true, I would just urge her to try to be as inclusive as possible and to at least go to a size 28 in the clothes.
Link to video: Crystal Renn on Hungry