The Real Reason Cindy Quit The Catwalk

In recent supermodel news (three to five servings per day are the recommended value, so be sure to read lots of US Weekly), Cindy Crawford has been hitting the European magazine circuit telling pubs like Britain's Hello! magazine and Germany's Bunte magazine that she quit the runway because of a combination of insecurity and not wanting to be compared to the younger women walking alongside her.

"I don't want to stand next to a 20-year-old on the runway, even if people say you can still do it. It is like, 'Why would I do that to myself?' It would just make me depressed."

The 43-year-old model and mother of two reigned over the catwalk in the 1990s. Back then, she was known for her delicious curves, totally opposite the waifish look popularized by Twiggy and later Kate Moss. But now, “In the year 2009 I wouldn't have become a supermodel. I look too healthy. There's one trend after the other. My body with this big bust, normal thighs and toned arms wouldn't be one of it these days." (Cindy wears a size 6; in comparison, Ralph Lauren model Filippa Hamilton, who maintains she was fired for being too fat, is a size 4.)

I want to share with you the fact that when I was struggling with my ED in college, I totally worshipped Cindy and idolized her body, holding it up to my own every time I stepped on the scale. I once read she weighed 128 and was about my height, so that became my goal. Within three months, I had dropped from about 145 down to 124. And guess what? I looked horrid. Not curvy, not luscious, not sexy, none of the words used to describe Cindy. So either that 128 number was a lie, or she and I just have such entirely different bone structures that the weight hung on our frame very, very differently.

Cindy’s also talking about getting older – and being OK with it. “Of course I don't like how my skin gets saggy and that I get more wrinkles, but I do like being in my 40s. You find yourself and you know what you're able of - apart from being pretty.I'm more comfortable with myself in the sense that hey, this is who I am now. I guess I appreciate my body for other things - like I was able to give birth to two kids. But at the same time, I am aware my body doesn't look the same way it did when I was 23. I actually don't want to feel that pressure.”

Three things: First, let’s remember that Cindy currently looks like this. So, you know, grain of salt.

Second: I don’t blame her.

The pressure to look a certain way to walk the runways must be so intense these days, I can’t even comprehend it. Yes, she looks smokin’ hot in pics, all smeared with shaving cream, but the fact is, photos can be altered and airbrushed, so she has digital technology on her side. But on the runway, it’s live, with hundreds of laser-sharp eyeballs - many of them belonging to industry bigwigs or snarky media – trained on the models. I suspect a few of those eyeballs belong to schadenfreude-filled personalities. 

And besides, shaving cream hides a multitude of sins. Hell, I’d pose naked in a tub of thick, opaque shaving cream if people wanted to see me do it.

Third, can I just say, if Cindy Crawford is feeling insecure next to younger, thinner models, then we’re all headed straight for body image hell in a corseted handbasket. Imagine if Rachael Ray quit cooking because she thought the next Food Network Star made a meaner lasagna. Or if Madonna had up and left the music industry when Britney started cooing about being hit just one more time. It would be anarchy! But I’m willing to cut Cindy slack here, because it does seem like a particularly cutthroat industry and I’d never wish bad body thoughts on anyone, no matter how sexy they look hanging from their ponytail.

This isn’t Cindy’s first foray into self-deprecation. In March, she appeared in Allure magazine in some pretty racy photos, talking about her changing body. "[I]f Star magazine or whatever wants to print a picture of me on the beach from the back, at the worst possible angle, and say that I have cellulite, I'm like, Guess what? I do, and I never said I didn't." Back then, we talked about how these kinds of statements actually register with normal, everyday women. NeverSayDiet reader Cebca wrote in, saying:

“I think it’s a very mixed blessing now that some models and actresses and whoever are coming out all ‘Oh yeah, of course we have cellulite!’  I mean, okay . . . but still . . . you're a MODEL.  It's not like you take away the retouching and become the average Jane.  It's cool that Tyra Banks can broadcast her weight and make a big deal about how she still looks great even at whatever xxx lbs, but of COURSE she does, SHE’S A MODEL. There's only a limited amount of self-esteem-improvement that you can get from someone who is widely seen as one of the hottest people in the world admitting that actually she is slightly less hot than publishers would otherwise have you think.”


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