Crystal Renn has become the world's most successful plus-size model, but she's often told by editors and designers that she doesn't look all that big. "It's simply bizarre that 'normal' is the new overweight," she wrote in her memoir Hungry. "We've seen that super-skinny women can be as unhappy as the fattest fat girl. We know how awful it is to obsess about every calorie. We've just opted not to make ourselves crazy."
Renn was the inspiration behind V Magazine's "Size Issue," which hits newsstands today and in which she appears.
"[The issue] is going to be a bit hard on the eyes for a lot of fashion people," Stephen Gan, editor of V Magazine, told the New York Times. "It was about dealing with a subject that in my world is such a taboo. In fashion, putting on two pounds is a taboo."
But the 5'9" 23-year-old Renn didn't always wear a size 12. When a modeling scout asked her to lose weight when she was a teenager, she lived on a diet of sugar-free Jell-O and Diet Coke, and weighed only 95 pounds when she moved to New York in 2002 at age 15. She's come a long way since then, as she told the Times.
"I've always felt, in some ways, like an outsider," said Ms. Renn, who now weighs about 165. "But that is the fashion industry. You know how that is. The creative one at the school, the outsider, the goth or the gay guy -- whatever it is, they always get made fun of. I feel like they all got together and moved to New York City and made the fashion industry.
"And here I am," she said. "I feel right at home, very much accepted and very happy."