Yesterday, I attended a conference organized by Glamour magazine and held at New York’s 92nd Street Y. The conference was in honor of the 20th anniversary of Glamour’s Women Of the Year celebration, and the two panel discussions focused on work/life balance and body image, respectively. Among the panelists for the body image discussion were Crystal Renn, the plus-sized model who documented her experiences with body pressure in the modeling industry in the 2009 book Hungry, and Paulina Porizkova, the former Sports Illustrated swimsuit model turned writer. I was able to speak with both women briefly about some of their comments.
Crystal, you mentioned that you think all women deserve to feel beautiful. But maybe I don’t want to feel beautiful. Maybe I would prefer to feel smart, cheerful, funny, or any other non-looks-based term. Could you clarify what you meant?
Crystal Renn: Beauty is the whole package. I’m not talking about being a supermodel. People can be beautiful without being supermodels. Beauty is in a moment. It doesn’t have to be straight teeth or perfect hair, it’s something caught in a moment that you can’t explain.
Paulina, you were critical of Maura Kelly and other bloggers who you think are too negative, saying “If you give an idiot a soapbox, they’ll use it.” But you have a blog of your own on the Huffington Post. If blogging is so bad, why do you do it?
Paulina Porizkova: Having a blog is just having an opinion. I am a writer, and I find that people respond to me when I write about what I know, or what they think I know – beauty, modeling, intolerance, why people want to ‘fix’ themselves. If you don’t like what I have to say, you don’t have to read it.
Your bio for the conference doesn’t include your stint as a judge on America’s Next Top Model, and in your blog you have been critical of the show. Care to explain?
Paulina Porizkova: Top Model has nothing to do with modeling. It’s a reality show that is not reality. Top Model is about finding people who will be good on TV, not people who will be good top models. Why do you think none of them are successful?