We’ve read over and over again about how runway models struggle to maintain their size 0 skeleton-like frames, but we’ve never heard about the struggles “plus-size” models endure in the same industry.
Weight struggles for “plus-size” models?
Some might think this seems like an oxymoron, but Ford Models’ recent interview with “plus-size” model Crystal Renn begs to differ.
In the video Renn reveals the tremendous pressure she feels to maintain her “plus-size” body type:
“I feel pressure probably more than any place from the public and the media. I think by placing a title on my head- which is plus-size- and then then the picture that these people have created in their mind about what plus-size actually is, I basically fail you just with that, because I couldn’t possibly live up to that.”
Renn is arguably the most recognizable “plus-size” model in the industry, working with major designers like Chanel, Dolce & Gabana, and Jimmy Choo. Maintaining this superstar “plus-size” body, however, has been a struggle for Renn who has spoken openly in the past about her battle with eating disorders.
“… at this point in my life I would actually have to have another eating disorder to live up to that [the public's] expectation. I had anorexia ultimately because someone else set the standard for me and I wanted to follow it and if I followed what the public wanted from me or what the media wants from me I would be doing the same thing. I would have a binge eating disorder.”
The problem herein lies in the fact that what the fashion industry deems “plus-size” and what the media and public deem “plus-size” (and even what you and I might deem “plus-size”) are two very different ideas.
While the fashion industry traditionally considers a size 10 to be “plus-size,” the public and media have a much larger perception of that body type, particularly because an average woman in the United States is actually a size 14.
For Renn this is a lose-lose situation. For the fashion industry she must maintain a size 10 but for the public and media a much larger body is expected when they hear that she is a “plus-size” model.
How can she possibly please both sides?
It’s impossible. And trying to do so would be a very unhealthy endeavor- one Renn refuses to take on as she herself has battled with negative body image and eating disorders.
“I think the most important thing we all need to know…is that it’s about individual health. You cannot tell if someone is healthy or where they are mentally from what’s going on on the outside because health is different for everybody at different times.”
I could not agree more and applaud Renn for speaking so openly about her struggles as a “plus-size” model.
Maybe if the fashions industry, the public, and the media dropped the “plus-size” title from models like Renn and everyone focused on the beauty of an array of different sizes and body types, Renn and other models could focus on being their most healthy selves instead of struggling to maintain a body type that is not theirs but instead fulfills the perception of those around them. (Hey, I can dream can’t I?)
Related from Care2:
Photo by Mandiberg used under a Creative Commons license - http://www.flickr.com/photos/theredproject/2831350088/