(Originally posted on The Judgment of Paris Forum, May 9th, 2004.)
When Crystal Renn first appeared on the scene as the latest straight-size model turned plus, we were a little bit skeptical. The tears from her straight-size days were so woeful--and besides, we wondered, would this be another Carré Otis situation? Ms. Otis, to her credit, has made excellent public statements about the dangers of starving to be a model, but she has always retained the appearance of a waif in all of her photographs, thus minimizing the effectiveness of her size-positive message.
But Crystal Renn looks more genuinely full figured with every new shoot. Perhaps this is why her own version of the "recovering anorexic model" story (made famous by Kate Dillon) resonates with the public in a way that Carré's never did.
In addition to appearances in the February Teen Vogue, the March Vogue Italia, and, of course, the notorious April issue of American Vogue, Miss Renn can now add a profile in the April issue of Italian Vanity Fair to her credits. Apart from the satisfaction to be derived from seeing a plus-size model show up in a magazine with the name Vanity Fair on the cover, the images are quite good. They are "edgy" in the very best way--i.e., not freakishly modern, but emphasizing the dangerous allure of the fuller female figure.
Note the Fellini poster in the backgroud of this eye-catching photo. The director of La Dolce Vita would surely be pleased with Miss Renn's generous curves, wavy tresses, and particularly, with that very feminine dress. (You may click on the image to see it at a larger size.)
Fans may not quite adore every shot that Miss Renn does, but has more to do with some of the facial expressions that photographers still coax her into making. When she looks more natural, as she does in these two images, and in her recent bridal editorial, her beauty is apparent.
And now that the April Vogue is off the shelves--so readers will not be coaxed into buying perhaps the most size-hostile magazine we have ever seen--we feel free to acknowledge that Miss Renn's photographs in that issue were quite lovely. What a shame that they were used to sugarcoat such a poison pill.
Crystal's name is widely being used as an example of the benefits of welcoming--and even enjoying--the propensity to develop feminine curves, thus making her a fine role model for young women struggling with their body image. Hopefully, this young star will retain her newfound figure, and help girls her age realize that they need not struggle at all.