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