Crystal Renn deserves major props for putting plus-size models front and center in recent years. The 24-year-old has walked the runway for big designers like Chanel and Jean-Paul Gaultier and has appeared in ad campaigns for a variety brands like H&M, Dolce & Gabbana, and Jimmy Choo as well as plus-size retailers like Lane Bryant and Torrid. She’s also posed for the biggest fashion magazines on the planet. But spectators are finding fault with her because they fear she’s losing weight and caving to media and industry demands to stay thin. This might be the case. But Renn also feels extreme pressure to maintain her plus-size model status, which isn’t easy since she now clocks in at a size six/eight with a 37-38 inch hip. The modeling industry generally considers size 10 and up to be plus-size. (Unbelievable, we know.)
The reason for that is women look 2 sizes larger when photographed or on camera in the clothing as opposed to in person. Size 6 is perfect. Sizes 8 and 10 are nice if you are athletic and toned. Once you go into the double digits I think clothing can look a bit frumpy. I know because I have been there!
In a great new video interview with Ford models, Renn explains why her figure has changed so much over the years, and why perhaps it shouldn’t matter. “A lot of people wanted to point their finger at somebody. They wanted to find a conspiracy when there actually was none,” she says in the interview. “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 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 has openly discussed her weight battles and eating disorders in the past, and says she has to swear off labeling herself to avoid another relapse. “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.”
We think it’s unfair that Renn should have so much pressure on her to be the face of plus-size women, because as we all know, weight can fluctuate. Fit models who generally wear a size two or four often struggle with maintaining their size, or develop eating disorders and unreasonable body images. If we wish the fashion industry would widen the gap on different sizes of women showing off clothing, and their bodies, why should we require Crystal Renn to maintain a larger size if that’s not what her body is gravitating towards right now?
While initially we worried that Renn was succumbing to the stereotype of a model not eating and losing weight at all costs, Renn says she is healthier now and has taken up hiking and other forms of exercise. As Renn says, “You cannot tell if someone’s healthy, where they are mentally, from what’s going on on the outside, because health is different for everybody at different sizes.” As women, we can only imagine how horrible it must to have your weight and body shape scrutinized as part of your job. So perhaps we should stop monitoring her size, or the size of other models, and just be happy to see some variety in the modeling world.
There are other jobs out there besides modeling. She doesn’t HAVE to be a model. Also, there is a big gap between plus size model and regular model. Welcome to the world of modeling! No one is forcing anyone to do it.