Before And After: Former Plus-Size Model Crystal Renn Is Virtually Unrecognisable

28/09/2011 12:54 | Updated 22 May 2015
Before and after: Former plus-size model Crystal Renn is virtually unrecognisableCrystal Renn walking for Mark Fast in Feb 2010 and at the Met Opera House on Monday. Photos: PA/Getty

We try not to write about the weight fluctuations of celebrities but Crystal Renn, the former poster girl for the plus-size modelling industry, and her recent weight loss makes for a story about more than just having an off-day while wearing a bikini.

Crystal spent the majority of her early modelling career striving to make it as a 'straight-size' (as in, size zero thin) model, developing the eating disorder anorexia nervosa as a result. In an interview with German publication Spiegel she admitted:

"I was asking how many calories chewing gum had and I spent eight hours in the gym every day. At 5 feet 7 inches I ended up weighting 108 pounds (49 kilos). It was a constant agony. My hair fell out and I was isolating myself more and more."

In an interview with Time, Renn describes taking the decision to deal with the disorder:

"I remember having my epiphany moment and making the decision to eat again. It was pretty amazing. My first meal was what many would regard as very healthy: a salad with salmon, walnuts and olive oil. At the time, I feared that I would gain 100 lb. with one bite. It didn't happen, and I felt superrelieved. I knew I was on the right path."

She then went on to add:

"I don't really watch my weight at all now. I do make sure that I eat as healthy as I can for energy purposes, but I no longer restrict my calorie intake to feel better about myself."

It was hugely refreshing to have this articulate, healthy, engaging woman flying the flag for normal-sized women in the fashion industry as well as strutting down the runway for Jean Paul Gaultier.

Before and after: Former plus-size model Crystal Renn is virtually unrecognisableCrystal Renn and Jean Paul Gaultier in 2005. Photo: PA

Of course there were more than a few comments saying that glamourising being fat and unhealthy was just as dangerous as the size zero mentality but then again, in modelling plus-size doesn't mean plus-size as you might understand it from shop floor sizing. From Renn's book, Hungry: "It's simply bizarre that 'normal' is the new overweight."

Over the last year we've caught sight of Renn at various weights between super skinny and plus-size but her red carpet appearance for the opening night of the Metropolitan Opera Season 2011 seemed to signify a different outlook.

"I couldn't possibly live up to [the plus-size image people had of me], and at this point in my life I would have to actually have another eating disorder to live up to that expectation. I had anorexia ultimately because someone else set the standard for me and I wanted to follow it. And if I followed what the public wanted from me or what the media wants from me, I'd be doing the same thing... [I]t's about individual health. You cannot tell if someone is healthy, where they are mentally, from the outside, because health is different for everybody at different sizes."

Before and after: Former plus-size model Crystal Renn is virtually unrecognisablePhoto: Getty

It's not our place to be disappointed in Renn for any fluctuations in her weight, but by choosing to write a memoir about her experiences of the fashion industry entitled Hungry: A Young Model's Story of Appetite, Ambition and the Ultimate Embrace of Curves, by stating while she was a US size 12 (UK 16) "I eat as healthy as I can", and by generally being a much-needed counterpoint to a lot of the conventions of fashion, we can't help but feel a little saddened by the 'After' pictures.

To compare Renn's Mark Fast appearance with the models from his recent NYFW show, click through the gallery below:


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