• Tue, Jun 25 - 8:30 am ET

Christie Brinkley Reveals She Felt ‘Very Fat’ As Supermodel, Implies Self-Shame Is Okay For Overweight People

christie brinkley fat

You know how sometimes, we’re supposed to feel like a celebrity is more relatable when he or she admits to being insecure about themselves? In an interview with Haute Living, supermodel Christie Brinkley, 59, admitted that she once felt “very fat” when she was young. And it did not make me find her remotely relatable.

On the cusp of 60, Brinkley seems more comfortable in her own skin than ever before—and can’t believe she ever decreed herself fat during her early modeling days. “I came across an older picture of me that someone had posted on Facebook and I totally remember squirming and feeling very fat while I was shooting it,” she says with a laugh. “And I look at it now and think, I was actually really thin! How is it possible that I felt so uncomfortable in that body?”

I don’t think the lesson gathered from this story should necessarily be “supermodels: they’re just like us because even beautiful people feel terrible about themselves!” I’m not going to put up a photo of Brinkley on the cover of Sports Illustrated and be all, “Can you believe she thought she was fat even though her body fits into conventional standards of attractiveness?!” It bothered me quite a bit that Brinkley implied that because she was actually skinny in the photo, she shouldn’t have felt bad about herself; it seems like she believes non-thin people should feel uncomfortable with their bodies, or are at least more than entitled to.

Instead, I think what we should take away is this sad truth: women across the board are made to feel bad about themselves. Obviously, there are certain body image standards that more harshly condemn certain women’s figures than others, and that bias is in desperate need of alterations, but in general, we are all told that what we look like is the basis of our value — regardless of healthiness. Whether you’re fat, thin, “average” (whatever that is at the moment) or anything else, you have the right to not feel bad about yourself. You have the right to be comfortable with and in your body.

Photo: Getty Images

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  • Eileen

    Hmmm. I see it more as a reflection on the whole with-age-comes-wisdom thing – that young women have a lot of insecurities about their appearances and often feel uncomfortable in their bodies, but as they get older and stop obsessing, they move past that and can appreciate how beautiful they are/were.

    • Samantha_Escobar

      I think I would definitely agree with you if these two sentences hadn’t been included: “And I look at it now and think, I was actually really thin! How is it possible that I felt so uncomfortable in that body?”

      It feels entirely too much like, “Well, I thought I was fat, but I was really thin, so I can’t believe I thought I was fat which is somehow inherently negative.”

    • Adi

      That’s not a fair conclusion in this context. Models are under pressure to be as thin as possible, so feeling fat, during a photo shoot no less, would, yeah, make her feel uncomfortable. I honestly don’t see any fat-shaming in her statement.

  • Breezy

    I’m with Eileen. I think it’s less about skinny people not having a reason to be insecure, and more about how distorted our own perspectives of our bodies can be (at any size.)

    I can very much relate to the sentiment. I remember feeling like I was horrifically overweight in junior high, and when I look back at pictures I realize how unrealistic that assessment is. It probably didn’t help that my “best friend” did things like line the inside of my locker with fat camp ads as a joke, but still. My view of myself was a mostly a reflection of insecurity and not reality.

    • Candace

      Junior high “best friends” were the worst!

    • MammaSweetpea

      I noticed the same thing Breezy. From childhood through my teen years I was put on diets and in aerobics classes (full of ‘old’ women in their 30′s lol!). I still could never lose the kind of weight I thought I should, and always felt fat. I found a picture of myself in a bathing suit at about 15 years old, and I looked so cute!! Not at all the fat person I thought I was. So sad…

  • peopleareoffendedsoeasily

    I think you’re over reaching and just plain looking for something to be offended by.

  • KathleenCat

    No, I’m just not feeling you here. Not getting what you are getting from the statement at all.
    I have thought the same thing looking at older pics of myself, maybe not my entire body as “fat”, but, at the time I thought “oh, look my butt is so huge”, when I could fit it into size 3 jeans.
    Basically because I had a friend who was a size smaller in that one area, though bigger in others, my brain translated this as “I have a fat butt.”
    And now I realize this was all ridiculous.

  • jack_sprat2

    Will we all eventually become as dismissive of the “little people” as she shrank to be with the passing years? She should leave the classist, brain-dead social commentary to Gwyneth.

  • MR

    Spend sometime letting a guy like you for who you are. See, that way you don’t have to do anything to please him. PS. She was also Billy Joel’s wife at one time.