Hungry – Crystal Renn

Crystal Renn - Hungry 1

What an INSPIRATION!!! This is a must read book for anyone thinking about working in the fashion industry, being a model, going on a diet – or just if you’re not 100% happy with your looks.

Renn is an absolute star, when you read back through her history and hear of everything she has gone through, she truly is a fighter – someone who I look up to and think, I wish I could do something as good as her someday!! Because whether she thinks so or not, I think she has made a great change in the industry.. yes it is a one that’s just beginning but she worked hard to not only change the industry perception of plus size models but also to make herself healthy, heal her problems and turn herself into a women that is happy with her image and the person she has become.

The media portrays this ‘ideal’ of perfection and sells not only the look but also the lives of the models… so many young girls want to be a model, and nobody actually takes into consideration that it might not be all it’s cracked up to be! From working in the industry I knew it wasn’t a Cinderella story but Renn’s account opened my eyes – it’s NOTHING like the fairytale, particularly if like Renn your DNA doesn’t do size 0!

For anyone attempting a diet, especially a quick weight loss one – please, I beg you read this book first. Life shouldn’t be about watching what we put in our mouths every 10 seconds, it should be a joy, fun, as for all we know we’re only here once! Why waste it contemplating on whether there are more calories in a diet coke or a stick of sugar-free gum! Take a note from Renn and embrace the size you’re meant to be!

Crystal Renn - Hungry

Crystal Renn - Hungry

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Antonio Beradi & Roland Mouret; Curvy Requested!

Antonio Beradi AW'09

Whoever thought such things could fly from the mouths of two top designers… I never realised it was possible! I just wish they had spoken louder, and clearer so the rest of the world could have heard their tiny but slightly effective fight towards the greater good.

I came across these quotes in Crystal Renn’s Hungry and wowie, what a shocker!! According to a journalist from The Times (not sure if this is UK or US), ‘designers such as Antonio Beradi (above image AW’09) & Roland Mouret (below image of Beyonce) have spoken about problems finding girls who adequately fill their womanly clothes.

Beradi comments that “we have to spend days altering things. We add padding and pieces that work inside the clothes to exaggerate their bodies into a more female form.” “I see advertising going back to that powerful 1980s mentality, when girls like Linda Evangelista were the ideal.”‘ (Renn, 2009 p. 111)

What a statement, I never realised some designer actually wanted larger models, (though ‘larger’ to them may be a US 2/4, UK 6/8 – it’s a start). It’s so great to hear that the super skinny don’t look great in Mouret and Beradi’s clothes – because as I’ve said time and time again, it’s what you wear for your shape and size that counts. Not the actual shape and size you are!

It’s a given that some things look better on skinnier people, but it’s also FACT that some things look better on the more curvy amongst us – happily argued by Mouret and Beradi here! Plus Beyonce looks FAB in the Mouret dress below!

Roland Mouret - Beyonce

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Marilyn Monroe – not a size 16!

Marilyn Monroe

There has always been a statistical debate on whether Marilyn Monroe was a size 16, or not? The majority of my life the media has portray this image of curvaceous Monroe and therefore hypocritically stated that if Monroe was a 16 and beautiful – so can’t we all! They often forget the fact (especially in magazines) that two pages ago they were showing the newest, tiniest and totally unhealthiest looking models (oh they say, we need to keep the balance). Yes, they do need to keep the balance but not with a hypocritical yo-yo opinion, and not with unhealthy models – that’s where it HAS to stop.

All I want is No. 1 the truth and No. 2 a broader representation of society, not with a yo-yo half hearted opinion to please every living soul – the whole magazine, newspaper, whatever it may be needs to voice it’s ok to be whatever size you want, whatever race etc. Not one minute page (e.g. page 184 ‘Lizzie Miller’ comes to mind!).

Anyway back to Monroe, after a tad of research I realised that Monroe was no-way near the pretence the media gave her. She was a curvy, hourglass shape with stats of 36-23-35 in her youth with her weight fluctuating throughout her career. Apparently this 5ft 5″ beauty wore a 30E bra, and according to The Times magazine this made her a 8 or 10?!

The Times ‘Was Marilyn Monroe a size 16?’

It’s perfectly viable that she wasn’t a 16, as with those stats – no way! But an 8 or a 10 with a 36″ bust, I don’t think so! She may have had a tiny frame and a small waist but when you realise that an 10 was pretty non-existent in that day… and an 8 just didn’t happen (according to my interviewee’s). The sizes were different to they are today – with all the attempts to flatter women with more generous sizing – the 8’s and 10’s aren’t what they used to be.

Marilyn Monroe

On a final note I think Monroe was more of a 10 – 12 throughout her career, especially as her stats changed with time! She wasn’t the larger sized icon we thought she was, but she was curvy, beautiful and pretty much accepted her larger busted shape – something that wouldn’t happen so readily nowadays.

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Cindy Crawford far too healthy!

Cindy, Linda & Naomi for the Versace Catwalk

Don’t you just love it when a well know fashionista back-lashes the industry – ok, she’s actually a massive supermodel with one of the best figures of all time! But she has the guts and honesty to voice the significant fact that if she was a new model entering the industry today, she wouldn’t have ever made it onto the catwalk!!

‘I would not have become a supermodel in 2009, I look too healthy. A body like mine with big breasts, normal thighs and toned upper arms would not be tailored for today’s runways.’ Crawford told German magazine Bunte.

Vogue – ‘Body Language’, 29/10/09

What a quote, but it’s so true! What happened to the great bodies of Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista and Naomi Campbell – the massive eighties supermodels? They are sexy, attractive and most of all look like women, so again our question forms on why the industry started to introduce stick thin waifs onto the runway!

Cindy, Naomi, Tatjana, Christy, Linda - 1990 British Vogue Cover

I’m sure you all remember (or if your younger than me, have heard of) the massive 1990 British Vogue cover that commenced the supermodel era and featured Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington and Tatjana Patitiz. Back then their slender, toned and largely curvaceous (compared to today’s standards) figures were the be all and end all. At the time I’m sure the general public thought of them as thin and an unreachable standard to achieve, but now relating to their androgynous counterparts they are as Crawford quotes ‘far too healthy’!

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‘Plus sized’ – is it a fad?

What I really want to know, is how can the fashion industry classify a size 12 ‘plus sized’?

The average size for people in the UK is a 14 – 16, so I really don’t understand how a 12 is therefore a plus size!! Yes the average size is larger than it used to be 50 years and even 10 years ago, but we are getting bigger as a nation. For example, the average height has increased from 5ft 2in in 1950 to 5ft 4in in 2004, so it’s no wonder that people are growing in other areas too.

BBC – ‘Not-so-little-Britain’

I think the main issue is that our shape is also changing, an average women in 1950 would have had measurements of 37 – 27.5 – 39, whereas a 2004 female would be a 38 – 38 – 40.5. So as you can see we’re no longer a curvy, hourglass shaped nation – is this down to the fact we’re evolving, getting taller, larger etc. Or are external influences of hormones to blame – alongside the fact we probably eat a lot more than we did then.

But whatever the answer is, at the end of the day we’re changing shape as a society not individuals – it is an average after all, and surely this means the fashion industry and other media counterparts should look to appeal to the masses – last time I checked this is the average!

Plus Sized - US Glamour

What are your thoughts on plus sized models?

Here is a plus sized model from US Glamour magazine. If you ask me she looks great; healthy, curvy, beautiful and above all normal!

US Glamour Magazine

I’m not suggesting that plus sized is the only way – no sir! I just think it’s necessary that the industry evokes a broader range of models – showcasing reality. At the end of the day the population includes people of all sizes, be it a size 6 or a size 20, and each have their own hang-ups and problems with their bodies! We don’t need more pressure from the media and fashion industries too!

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Age Discrimination – Twiggy for Marks and Spencer

Marks and Spencer - Twiggy

Ok so the size debate is a massive issue in the fashion industry but it’s not the only one! After looking into the Dove brand and all their research and campaigns I realised that as a society were pretty discriminatory in a number of ways. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not our fault – were just meek and mild puppets on the end of a string that dance, prance and fully agree with what the media shoves in our faces! You could say we don’t have a choice, as really we don’t, being a child of late 80s I grew up with the whole ‘ideal’ of perfection slowly gaining pace, but today it’s even worse, the Dove survey found that girls ‘between 6-11 years old’ were becoming concerned with their appearance and body weight.

Though at the end of the day we do have a choice, don’t we? For all I know we’re supposed to be living in a democratic society with a choice for pretty much everything, bar it seems the ‘ideal’ of perfection!

One of these key discriminatory areas seems to be the ‘age’ issue, because obviously that doesn’t coincide with the ‘ideal’ of perfection. How could anyone ever sell a product looking a day over 20? No one would buy it!! Oh and of course in last years census the majority of the UK population was under 20 – great you’re really approaching the target market! NO, at the end of the day only a minority of the population is under 20 and well a 20 year old isn’t going to buy Oil of Olay Anti-aging formula – are they?

Marks and Spencer - Twiggy Advert

I vote that companies should take note from a brand like M&S – they did a great advertising campaign that included a range of models/celebs with ages that equalled each range in their target market. Yes it may be a few years old now – but I personally think they did a great job showing the world, that like Dove you don’t have to be a 20 year old lollypop lady (oh and I don’t mean the local school school one – I’m talking about head too large for the body) to promote a great product.

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The Dove Campaign – Vanity on a different level

Dove Beauty Campaign

I knew there was a increasing problem with women’s body confidence today due to factors such as the fashion industry, advertising and media but I honestly didn’t realise it effected so many people, and not just in the UK, but throughout the world.

On looking into the Dove Campaign I stumbled upon the research they completed in 2004 – 2005, the research that commenced the worldwide campaign to promote ‘natural beauty’.

“Only 2% of women around the world describe themselves as beautiful.”

“more young girls (15-17) in Great Britain than any other countries surveyed believe it is hard to feel beautiful when confronted with these ideals.”

“nine in ten women (15-64) globally want to change some aspect of themselves”

“Great Britain is where women have the lowest appearance satisfaction and self-esteem, and the greatest desire to change their physical selves.”

“two-thirds of women (15-64) globally have avoided an activity due to feeling badly about the way they looked.”

Dove – Campaign for Real Beauty

I can’t believe things can get so out of control and society can make people so vain, because at the end of the day no-one can compare to the media’s ideal of perfection – not even the so called ‘ideal’ themselves without their make-up, stylists oh and the retouch team. It is ridiculous that things can get this far without someone doing something about it!

How do you feel about your body? Do you think the industry needs to change?

If you have any strong opinions please comment below and if you have 5 minutes to spare it would be great if you could fill out my questionnaire.

Click here to take survey

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