Ms. Lawson's statements may sound daring and transgressive to us, indoctrinated as we have been by diet-industry propaganda. But in any other day and age, they would have been seen as completely natural--and extremely attractive. In fact, the very notion of a beautiful woman deliberately starving or torturing herself would have been considered madness. Nigella Lawson's presentation of self-indulgence as a seductive and quintessentially feminine trait would have been a self-evident truth to the audience of Lillian Russell's day.
Here is another promotional card of Miss Russell from 1888. Once again, we see that a delight in eating well was as central to her public image as was her storied beauty (with the latter being presented as a consequence of the former):
Holiday festivities are undoubtedly the best time of year for present-day voluptuous vixens to take a page out of Lillian's book (or Nigella's), and to live life to the fullest--and then, to adopt the same liberated spirit thoughout the year . . .