A plus-sized model’s tell-all memoir speaks openly of her battle with anorexia and the precarious lengths that young girls reach out for as they attempt to fit the competitive fashion industry’s standard of what is considered beautiful.
Crystal Renn, an anorexic turned plus-size model, spoke of her struggles in her memoir, entitled Hungry: A Young Model's Story of Appetite, Ambition, and the Ultimate Embrace of Curves.
Renn is 28 now. Five years ago, she penned her story, which started at the age of 14 when she was told that she could be a model, but was “too fat.”
Renn started a dangerous spiral of dieting and anorexia, losing 42 percent of her body mass.
At fourteen I was a regular junior high school student in Clinton, Mississippi, when a modeling scout told me: You could be a super model. And then: But you’ll have to lose a little weight. For glamour, fame and escape, I lost 70 pounds.
“I wanted people to question the dangerous lengths people go to attain beauty,” Renn said as to why she revealed her long and arduous road of sickness, recovery and eventual success. “I wanted people to question preconceived notions about what it means to be beautiful.”
Renn is now a top model, with shoots for industry giants Mango, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Chanel and Agent Provocateur under her “widened” belt. But it wasn’t a painless path by any means.
Writes UK’s Daily Mail:
However, the 28-year-old from Mississippi, hasn't had a straight trajectory to success. Her career began with drastic dieting, followed by years of anorexia - all in an effort to obtain the correct model proportions. It was only when she re-gained weight and entered the world of plus-size fashion that she truly found success.
“I wanted to tell the story of my life up until this point which included many tribulations to overcome,” Renn said. “I had an unquenchable need to succeed at such a young age, to make something out of myself and to experience the world. I know I used to have warped thinking but I changed and I wanted to help others change too.”
At a U.S. size 12, Crystal is hardly considered overweight by any standard, but compared to her grueling desire to try to keep herself at a size zero, her healthy weight is a welcome change. And the fact that her financial success only came after she gained weight is another positive in her rebound story, one that she hopes will inspire other girls faced with the same pressures.
Renn says that her time as a “normal size” model was “misery,” and that the “lack of control” of her own mind and body caused her to turn to severe bulemia and anorexia nervosa.
Her book’s intro says of her cover photo:
“This is a photo of me at SIXTEEN, when I signed a big modeling contract, moved to New York City, and started traveling around the world. It is also when I developed a ferocious case of anorexia and exercise bulimia. Until I decided enough was enough—I wanted to live. And so I ate. And ate.”
Amazon’s book description describes Renn’s memoir this way:
Offering a behind-the-scenes peek into the modeling industry, as well as a trenchant look at our weight-obsessed culture, Hungry is an inspiring and cautionary tale that will resonate with anyone who has battled society’s small-minded definitions of beauty.