Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Back With a Book Review

I just read this book - Hungry by Crystal Renn - and I give it a B+. It was a really good read and the only reason I didn't give it an A is because while Miss Renn is clearly educated this is not a book I would read just for shear enjoyment.
Hungry is the story of Crystal Renn the worlds most successful plus size model, though plus size is certainly a relative term. Miss Renn is a size 12. If you have opened a magazine lately or shopped for plus size clothing you have seen her. She is the girl in the American Cancer Society add shot form the back, beautifully draped in a red silk, showing off her womanly curves. She is also the unofficial face of Lane Bryant. The beautiful dark haired dark eyes one who looks like she's about 7 feet tall.
In truth Miss Renn is 5'11" and in her book she describes how at the age of 14/15 she starved her body in order to reach 95lbs and a size 00 on that 5'11" frame. 95lbs! Size 00! 5'11"! No wonder she was hungry. The author describes her spiral into deliberate anorexia as both shameful and paradoxically empowering. She would be proud of herself for only having an apple and a piece of gum on certain days. During her "straight size" modeling days Miss Renn subsisted on little more than Diet Coke and would work out for 6 hours a day splitting her time between two gyms so the staff would not know how dangerous her lifestyle had become.
The modeling industry, of course, did not care; saying to Miss Renn when she reached over 100 lbs once that her thighs were too fat. Too fat??? Are you kidding me? I'm surprised she could even walk around on those little twigs, much less workout for 6 hours a day. I got your thighs right here.
The ironic thing was that even after all that hard work and clearly unhealthy lifestyle Miss Renn's modeling career never really took off. Finally at age 18 she had had enough. She signed with the plus friendly Ford Modeling Agency and began to eat, even getting up to a size 16 before settling on a healthy 12.
Miss Renn is very clear on the fact that every woman has a healthy weight range and that it may be different for every woman. She is also aware that she is a fashion model and not a doctor or nutritionist. She does however offer observations on her own life and those of other models in her acquaintance. She states, for example, that she has a certain straight size model friend, who is naturally thin (a size 2, I think) and that while this woman certainly eats healthy and doesn't indulge in a lot of sweets or alcohol, she doesn't necessarily "diet". the question raised is, "Why can't all different kinds of women be considered beautiful?" Who decided that tall and thin was the standard of beauty? Are we really saying that heroin-chic Kate Moss is more beautiful than the woman next door? I'm not one of these "real women have curves" girls, because the fact is, not all women do and does that make them less of a woman? My mother is a petite size 4 with "barely A" boobs (I think I was adopted) and she is no less a beautiful woman than my plus size, super stylish, friend Mary. Or myself for that matter with my G boobs.
Miss Renn's book tells of her struggle to find her own personal healthy weight and how once she did she finally became successful in her career. Of course we are not all super-models. But we are all struggling to find our own ideal weight.
It just so happens that size 12 is my personal goal right now. Of course I'm a little south of 5'11", but heck no body's asked me to strip it all off and pose for a breast cancer ad either. Well, at least not yet.

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