For years, Crystal Renn was told that modeling success would come if she could manage to make herself thinner. Of course that has long been the party line of the fashion industry--lose the curves if you want to make any gains as a model. But, like most women who starve themselves to fit others' expectations, Renn discovered that her attempts to slim down were making her miserable and insecure. She gave up the quest for thinness, learned how to trust her own appetite again, and went on to become one of the world's most sought-after plus-size models. Renn's story is detailed in her new memoir, Hungry. She is interviewed by Salon's Kate Harding this week: "Since I was 14 years old, I had a dream: I want to be in Vogue. I want to travel the world doing editorials, and working in high fashion. That is why I starved myself. That is why I almost lost my life. Because I wanted it that bad.
So when my body wouldn't allow me to do that, I decided I'd rather not lose my life, and I would like to continue my dream. I thought, you know what? I'm gonna keep the dream, different path. I didn't lose hope, I didn't lose confidence, I just said let's channel it differently. I think that's why I've accomplished the things I have, even at this size, because I never gave up."
What's especially inspiring about Renn's experience is that she found happiness and success by letting go of her obsession with weight. Whether you are in the fashion industry or not, that is a lesson every woman can learn from. It's hard to fight the pervasive message that there is a magic number on the scale that is the key to our confidence. But when we take the focus away from weight, it's amazing how much easier it is to find health and fulfillment in all aspects of our lives.
Claire Mysko and Magali Amadei are the authors of Does This Pregnancy Make Me Look Fat? The Essential Guide to Loving Your Body Before and After Baby, which is "due" October 1st.