I got a bunch of email after this picture of Crystal hit the wires:

Honestly, I hadn’t seen Crystal in four months and I picked up the phone and left her a message: DO YOU REALLY LOOK LIKE THIS? I DON’T THINK YOU LOOK LIKE THIS. BUT IF YOU LOOK LIKE THIS YOU ARE COMING OVER HERE AND I AM FEEDING YOU.

She called back right away, laughing, saying she was totally fine. Then she called again, not laughing. She’d just seen the pictures I was talking about. (She’d initially thought I was referring to a different, older picture.) She was so upset she could barely form sentences. Not only was she worried about young girls with eating disorders who might think she’d lost a gazillion pounds, but she was also worried about hurting the charity she was posing for. (See, I keep telling you, she is a lovely human being.) I said I wouldn’t say a word until she and her agent decided how to respond.

Meanwhile, my mother-in-law emailed me. She’d seen the pictures. Oh my God, was Crystal anorexic again?

I can’t imagine what it must be like to be Crystal, living under this kind of scrutiny. And as I’ve said, I don’t think the obsession with Crystal’s thighs has any impact on the day-to-day lives of actual fat people. Crystal doing the Jean Paul Gaultier campaign is awesome but will not make airplane seats wider or increase tolerance of XXL people. But it must suck to have to strategize about issuing a statement: Hi, I happen to be exercising regularly for the first time in seven years, doing yoga and hiking, not being an exercise-bulimic lunatic the way I was as a teenager, and hi, here are some stills from my actual unretouched bod on that actual shoot. Which is what she told Glamour today. And here are the stills.

So to my mother-in-law, and everyone else who emailed: Crystal’s great! And look, thighs!


  1. casey July 15, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    crystal rocks. you rock. loved reading this.

  2. kevin July 15, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    Seems appropriate to let the photog have some feedback on his work. Post a comment to his blog post that used the photos.


    Seems a bit of a confused, conflicted lad:
    His MySpace page ( http://www.myspace.com/astartledchill ) lists the following:

    ===> Body type: 5′ 10″ / More to love!

    Soo….. why re-touch Chrystal’s photos?

    Sad, really, all the way around.

  3. Fawn July 15, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    Damn, they practically erased her legs. WTF??? Basta with the Photoshop!

  4. Jessica July 15, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    There is something deranged in a world where that unretouched, luscious thigh is considered less attractive than the fake shrunken version at the top.

  5. kristin July 15, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    Love how the photographer said he merely “shaped her” in all innocence. Grr.

  6. Shauna July 16, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    What about her arms? Sheesh. Not a very good retouch, technically speaking, even with the B&W fix.

  7. Sara K. Eisen July 22, 2010 at 10:36 am

    Why bother having a model at all? If the industry has decided on an exact size and look, and if we live as far away from actual human reality as we seem to, the industry may as well save money – and lives – and just do what comic book artists figured out a long time ago: Draw your girls the way you think people want them. De facto, that’s what happens anyway. (Same as the virtual personalities people create for themselves…It’s more about the imagination…)

    Did you know that in Israel there’s pending legislation for modeling agencies to only hire models with a minimum BMI of 18? Any thinner and they may face fines. I wonder if that will apply to the digital tools, as well……

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