Archive for Glamour

It’s never too late to change: Belle Vere = True Beauty.

Well, it’s about time.


A major fashion magazine has F I N A L L Y featured curvy women on its cover. The honor goes to the latest issue of Vogue Italia, which can be seen above. (The rest of the photos I’ve included here are from the cover story.) As Time magazine says, “Vogue Italia has thrown the fashion world a major curveball — by placing three plus-size models on its June 2011 cover.” (Please not the plus-size models are size six and up.) And even better is that these women look stunning. As one blogger writes, “You see real confidence in their eyes—they KNOW they are beautiful.”

I truly believe we are in the middle of a paradigm shift about what it means to be beautiful—people are beginning to believe that beauty does not come in just one size or shape. We’re seeing more diversity in women’s body sizes in film (Bridesmaids) and television (Mad Men, Huge, Glee), and corporations like Dove are committed to helping us reassess what it means to be attractive.

For some time now, Glamour magazine has been devoted to featuring women of all sizes in its pages, and now Vogue Italia has jumped on the curvy bandwagon. And for the first time ever a first lady with a real body is seen as a fashion icon.

But in order to keep this change happening, we have to keep supporting the movement. I’ll probably not get a subscription to Vogue Italia since half the women in it are naked, but I will order the new Vogue Curvy and continue to get Glamour and support real-sized women every chance I get.
Here’s one easy thing you can do: vote in this poll about Vogue Italia‘s choice to feature real-sized women on their cover and tell them you say YES to curvy women!

Kate Winslet: walking the walk AND talking the talk

I’ve been a fan of Kate Winslet since she was a curvy nineteen-year-old in Sense and Sensibilitysixteen years ago (pictured to the left). She was beautiful in that film but she also looked like someone we could all aspire to be, which is the kind of actress we need to see more of in Hollywood.

Around that time, Winslet’s co-star (and Sense and Sensibility‘s Oscar-winning screenwriter) Emma Thompson told Winslet that if she ever became one of those anorexic-looking actresses found all over Hollywood, Thompson would stop speaking to her.

What Thompson said must have had an impact because Winslet has never become that kind of actress, the kind who looks malnourished.

Yes, she’s more thin now—presumably she’s lost her baby fat since S&S—than she was then, but she’s also not too thin, and I have to give her credit for not caving to industry standards that require most actresses to look underweight.

Because of this, I shouldn’t have been surprised when Winslet recently opened up in a completely honest and healthy way about her past weight issues in the April issue of Glamour magazine.

After the Glamour reporter asked Winslet about being called “blubber” as a young girl of eleven when she was 5’6″ and 200 pounds, Winslet said, “Looking back on it, I really wasn’t that heavy. I was just stockier than the other sporty, whippy-looking kids.”

What that means is that Winslet is admitting that 200 pounds isn’t really heavy for a five-foot-six woman, but rather, as she says, stocky. This is obviously something I’ve believed for years, so when I read about Winslet saying the same thing, I wanted to put my copy of Glamour up to my mouth and give it a big old kiss.

But it gets even better.

Because Winslet also admits a slight irritation with the backhanded compliments she used to get at that weight. “People would say to me,” she explains, “”You’ve got such a beautiful face,’ in the way of, like, “Oh, isn’t it a shame that from the neck down you’re questionable.'”

I know exactly what she is talking about. As I discussed in my “I don’t care what anyone says—I think you’re hot” post, people feel completely comfortable making these kinds of comments that on the surface sound like praise but in truth are laced with implicit criticism.

So when Winslet admitted this had also happened to her, I felt like I’d found my soulmate.

Finally, when asked about whether or not she considers plastic surgery, Winslet said, “I don’t have parts of my body that I hate or would like to trade for somebody’s else’s or wish I could surgically adjust into some fantasy version of what they are.”

All I have to say is, Kate Winslet, will you be my new BFF?

Sea change?

I don’t know if any of you have picked up on this, but I’ve been sensing a sea change about the dieting issue that is making me feel very optimistic.

I’ve talked before about Glamour magazine’s commitment to featuring women of all sizes and the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty’s focus on regular-looking women, but lately, I’ve been witnessing more and more changes in the way we talk about weight loss that make me wonder if there isn’t a real paradigm shift going on.

First, Weight Watchers changed their entire approach to weight loss. No longer are they narrowly focused on dieting, and they are so committed to this change that they’ve incorporated it into their new slogan, which is now “Stop dieting. Start living.”

Then, I opened the latest issue of Glamour magazine and read a response that completely caught me off guard.

A reader had written to the magazine’s health expert and asked, “I did a cleanse and then gained weight. Did it mess up my metabolism?”

I’m not going to lie—when I read this, I just automatically assumed that the answer would be wishy washy and inconclusive, but I was wrong because this is what Dr. Joann Manson had to say: “In a sense, yes. Many cleansing diets are fewer than 1,000 calories a day; eating that little for a week or more could trigger your metabolism to slow down and conserve calories. When you begin eating normally again, any calories above your new metabolic rate get stores as fat and could cause weight gain.”

Call me crazy, but aren’t cleanses just the kind of thing women’s magazines were encouraging women to do a year ago? And now they’re warning people about them? Not only that, but they’re pointing out what I’ve been saying on this blog for a year and a half—in the long run, diets make you gain weight.

And finally, I am ashamed to admit that I was “reading” an issue of People Style Watch recently—reading probably isn’t the right word since the sole purpose of that magazine is to feature celebrities in the latest fashions—and I was thrilled to see that in their “What’s In and What’s Out” column, lifestyle changes were listed as IN, and diets were declared OUT. According to People, “Instead of crash dieting or going on cleaanses, people are learning to eat healthy for a lifetime.

Is it be possible that people are finally getting it? That they’re starting to finally understand that being healthy is not about cutting sweets or carbs or drastically reducing calories, but about living your life in a way that embraces moderation and health?

I’m not totally sure that the majority of Americans are catching on, but I do think the media is starting to get it. They’re starting to get that we are sick to death of being told we have to be anorexic-looking to look good and that we have to eat 1,000 calories a day to be thin.

And all I have to say is it’s about damn time.

The way we’re meant to be

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In the August issue of Glamour magazine, there’s a wonderful article by Dr. Julie Holland called “The Cave-Woman’s Guide to Good Health.”

One of the article’s main tenets is that we all need to “eat real food.”

As Holland explains, “Women aren’t meant to be bone thin, as many of my patients strive to be. So don’t kill yourself trying to get there. Plus, guys are drawn to your body at its most natural. Some brain scans suggest that men go gaga over curves, which, after all, signify fertility.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Real is the new sexy


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A few months ago,
The Globe and Mail ran a story I’ve been wanting to talk about for a while called “We’re having a fat moment: Go ahead and have another slice of pumpkin pie. Thin’s not so in any more.”

The article asserts that there is currently “a backlash against a culture that has long perpetuated futile strict diets and impossible exercise regimes. People are finally tired of the yo-yo meal plans that help them melt off pounds but also pack them back on. And the media are making more efforts to reflect a public with ever-expanding waistlines.”

Though I’m not sure I agree that there really is a backlash as big as this article implies, I do think things are beginning to change.

In fact, just yesterday, my copy of Glamour magazine arrived with this cover:

The one on the left is a “plus-size” model: Crystal Renn, author of Hungry: A Young Model’s Story of Appetite, Ambition, and the Ultimate Embrace of Curves. Though it’s somewhat hard to tell in this image, Renn is actually a size twelve, and her body does look real. Meaning it does look like she eats from time to time.
Sure, Renn appeared next to two more traditional sized models here, but this is progress, people. A woman who wears a size twelve is on the cover of Glamour! This is huge.

An article called “Real is the New Sexy” appears in the same issue, and in that article another “plus-size” model—Jennie Runk, who is 5’10” and around 175 pounds—says, “I used to compare myself to others, until I realized it’s better if I don’t look like everyone else . . . my curves make me feel sexy . . . Every woman, of every body type, should be able to stand up and say she’s beautiful.”

Words to live by.

Even some fashion designers are using larger models on the runway. No, they’re not overweight, but they’re not underweight either. And I’ve never advocated that we idolize overweight women—just woman who have real bodies, which is exactly what’s beginning to happen in some magazines, with some fashion designers, and on some television shows.
Case in point: on tonight’s episode of Glee, Mercedes was pursued by one of the “popular” boys, Puck, and no mention was made of her body size except that Puck said he liked “curvy” girls. Unlike other actresses her size, Mercedes isn’t being relegated to playing the BFF of the girl who got the guy.

There’s no denying that things are changing. Changing for the better. The only question is how far will it go? And will it be far enough?

Girl before a Mirror

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While I was getting ready this morning, I had a bit of an epiphany. Wearing only my favorite jeans and a black camisole, I looked in the mirror and saw someone fabulous staring back at me.

Normally, I can’t stand the sight of myself in anything sleeveless, but something was different this morning. Instead of thinking my arms looked out-of-shape and flabby, I thought they looked shapely and sexy. Truth be told, I felt hot.

I mulled over this change in perspective while I finished getting ready for the day, and here’s what I came up with: I really believe I felt different about my body this morning because of the images I’ve been seeing in the media lately: the photos of the absolutely gorgeous “plus-size” models in Glamour, the image of Joan working her curves like they pay the bills on Mad Men, the Dove advertisements featuring regular sized woman (an amazing company I haven’t even talked about yet), the portrait of Lizzi Miller laughing joyously even as her little stomach hangs out, or the scenes featuring perky Brooke Elliott on Drop Dead Diva. It feels like all of sudden we live in a world where some of the women we revere, some of the women we see every day, actually look like me. In fact, these precious few media outlets are showing the love for curvy women everywhere.

Imagine that.

And when I realized that this was the reason for my change in perspective, it hit me that we’ve been right all along about how much it hurts our collective psyche to only see women in the media who are as tapered as the skinny jeans it seems like every one of my students now wears. So I want to give a big shout-out . . . to Dove, to Glamour, to Mad Men, to Drop Dead Diva. You’ve helped me continue to improve the way I see myself, and for that I can never thank you enough.

As for everyone else, consider this a warning. It’s time to get on board. If you don’t join the movement to appreciate curvy women, I promise you’ll be left behind.

*Girl before a Mirror is a 1932 painting by Pablo Picasso.

Glamazons rule!

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I said it a few weeks ago, and I’ll say it again: Lizzi Miller could start a revolution! You might remember that I was singing the praises of Glamour for featuring model Miller in their magazine a while back. The reason I was so happy about their decision to feature her is because even though Miller is drop-dead gorgeous, she also has a real-sized body with wonderful womanly legs, a little stomach pouch, and a size twelve wardrobe.

Since then, Glamour has received so much positive feedback about Miller and so many requests for more models like her that they have decided to give the people what they want. And that’s why next month’s November issue will feature an entire spread of regular-sized models. (See the picture above.)

Honestly, when I saw this picture, my first thought was “Yowza!” These women look incredibly hot, hotter than many of the models I see staring back at me from the pages of most women’s magazines and certainly much more voluptuous and sexy. And then I had to wonder: is that why we don’t let these women appear on the covers of our magazines? Are they simply too hot for our own good? Would we all return to the walking hormone state we lived in when we were adolescents if we had to look at women like this on the newsstand every night?

Technically, these women are called “plus-size” models in the fashion industry because they wear bigger than a size six, a fact Glamour calls perverse and a problem I believe is just one more reason that none of us can live up to the images of women we see in the media. From here on out, I refuse to call models like these “plus-size” and will now refer to such women—models or not—as “regular-size.” Who knows? Maybe doing so will reinforce the notion that there is nothing shameful about wearing a size eight, ten, twelve, fourteen, or even bigger.

Glamour is claiming that, as of November, they’re committed to “featuring a greater range of body types in our pages, including in fashion and beauty stories,” and I believe it’s crucial that we send the message that if they stay true to their word and do that, we’ll be there with our dollars, ready to support them. Because if we don’t, we have no one to blame but ourselves when we can’t find anyone who looks like us in the pages we flip through and on the screens we watch.

This is a revolution, people! Get excited and do your part!

I know it seems silly to think of buying a fashion magazine as a revolutionary act, but we all know that this is a change that needs to happen, a change that must happen if we are to give each other, our daughters, and our nieces healthier role models. The Glamour November issue hits newsstands soon, and I say we all buy a copy . . . or two . . . or three . . .

It’s a revolution! Why Lizzi Miller could change everything

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Holy stomach roll, Batman!!!

I just found out (thanks to my cousin Jill) that a “plus-size” model is featured in Glamour this month (the September issue). Not only is it impressive that a magazine like Glamour featured a regular-sized women in its pages, it’s revolutionary!

Lizzi Miller appears naked in a Glamour article about self-esteem looking both confident and real (see the pic on the right), and the web is buzzing about it. Apparently, readers are falling all over themselves to say how much they love Miller’s very real stomach and legs, a sign that we are all ready to see women who actually look like us rather than woman who look almost as unreal as Barbie dolls.

And this isn’t even the first time Miller has graced the pages of Glamour. She also appeared in their April issue wearing nothing but a flesh-colored bikini bottom. (See the pic on the left.)

So who is this beautiful but normal-sized woman?

Lizzi Miller is an absolutely gorgeous 5’11”, 180-pound, 20-year-old “plus-size” model, and I think she is going to have to be my new hero and the patron saint of I will not diet. Miller says she wears clothing that ranges from size twelve to fourteen, and she’s been modeling for seven years. How she managed to not give into the pressure for models to be rail thin, I’ll never understand, but I admire the hell out of her for it, especially since she’s only twenty! Let me repeat—she’s only twenty! And yet she is stronger than women I know who are twice her age. It would be a huge victory if a middle-aged woman with a real body was featured in a women’s magazine, but a twenty-year-old with a real body? That’s like winning the lottery.

(By the way, I’m putting the words “plus-size” in quotation marks because I don’t understand how she can be a plus size model if she wears between a size twelve and fourteen, which, as well all know, are not plus sizes.)

Just think how models like Miller could change the way young women feel about their bodies! My ten- and fourteen-year-old nieces already claim to be watching their weight even though they are mere skin and bones, and I love thinking about them accepting themselves for the beautiful young women they are if models like Miller were to become the norm.

The best part about Miller is that she is exactly what I’ve been saying we need: a happy medium, a woman who is not a size zero and not a size twenty. Not only is she an average size—because the average woman in America wears a size twelve to fourteen—but she’s also gorgeous, happy, and comfortable in her own skin. This is exactly the kind and size of women we need to see more of in the media: she’s not only someone we can admire, she’s also someone we can aspire to look like.

This is a huge victory for those of us who are lobbying for more healthy role models, and I think we should take it as a clear sign that things are changing. This change also means that we must keep insisting that the women staring back at us from our pages and our screens look more like we do. How do we do this? We do it by voting with our dollars—by buying the September issue of Glamour in record numbers (and asking for it if it’s sold out) and by paying to see movies that feature real-sized women (see the list on the right side of this blog). We can also Google Lizzi Miller so many times that women’s magazines will have no choice but to get the message. Because the truth is, how can we possibly feel good about ourselves if we don’t embrace women like Miller?

This is a good day for average-sized women everywhere, and I honestly couldn’t be happier about the attention all of this is getting. I don’t know about you, but I needed this. I say we all celebrate this coup by putting on something sexy this week and feeling good about our gorgeous—and real—bodies in honor of this brave twenty-year-old.

One more thing . . . way to go, Lizzi!!!!!

Addendum: I just found this amazing health and fitness blog by Glamour editor-in-chief Cindi Leive—Vitamin G—which contains more info about Miller (she’s a belly dancer!) and other related issues.

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