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Old 1st December 2006   #1
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Default ''Sexy food goddess'' (article)

I came across a bit of celebrity fluff today that I thought worth sharing here. It's about Nigella Lawson, the somewhat-curvy British cookbook writer and TV personality, who has also appeared on various American talk shows, like David Letterman and Conan O'Brian.

It's just a plug for an appearance by Nigella on a British talk show today, but it provides a rare example of what positive publicity for curvy celebrities should be like. (And frankly, it offered an excuse to post a thread with the article's marvellous opening phrase, "Sexy food goddess"- a title that could apply to many beloved plus-size models!)


and text:

Wossy gets cosy with Nigella

December 01, 2006

SEXY food goddess Nigella Lawson will be quizzed tonight by Jonathan Ross on Christmas, food and being a curvy woman!

Nigella describes her kind of Christmas as “traditional - family rows and too much food!”

And as a girl who loves to eat, she is a breath of fresh air when talking about her figure.

The busty brunette said: “I've never met a doughnut I didn't like, [my favourite] is sugar on the outside, jam in the middle.

“We're all worrying endlessly, it's relaxing to think I don't have to fight the fight any more, life is so much rosier.”

A new three-part series on BBC2 - called Nigella's Christmas Kitchen - will explore the pleasures of festive eating.

She said: “There's nothing I hate more than people who think they're too chic for Christmas.

“You've got to have turkey, the best ingredients for stuffing are bacon, onions, apples, eggs... and ginger cake.”

The article praises Nigella for being curvy, and both the writer, and Ms Lawson herself (as quoted) enthuse over Nigella's love of food- and not merely so-called "health" food, but decadent treats.

If the media celebrated curvaceous stars instead of shrivelled skeletons, and unashamedly praised them for having rich appetites, young women would be far more comfortable with their body image. There is no reason why more celebrities can't generate positive publicity like this.
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Old 2nd December 2006   #2
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Default Re: ''Sexy food goddess'' (article)

I really like that picture of Nigella baking. Its sexy, yet wholesome. It reminds me of the pictures of the plussize model baking cookies in the Nancy Drew: Danger by Design video game, which was mentioned on this forum a few months ago:

"Sexy food goddess" is about as perfect a phrase to apply to a plussize model as any I can imagine. Its a little bit sinful, a little bit daring - emphasizing that voluptuous vixens enjoy everything about being curvy, without apology.

That article hits a perfect note, especially now that this is Christmastime. If there is ever a time of year to stop depriving yourself, and enjoy life, this is it.
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Old 3rd December 2006   #3
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Default Re: ''Sexy food goddess'' (article)

How refreshing to find a woman who is unabashedly, unapologetically passionate about food, and who doesn't feel the need to qualify it with talk about exercise to balance out the calories. Nigella Lawson is one of my favorite cookbook authors, and one of my favorite celebrities of any genre.
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Old 3rd December 2006   #4
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Default Re: ''Sexy food goddess'' (article)

Originally Posted by Kaitlynn
SEXY food goddess Nigella Lawson...

And as a girl who loves to eat, she is a breath of fresh air when talking about her figure.

The busty brunette said: “I've never met a doughnut I didn't like, [my favourite] is sugar on the outside, jam in the middle.

To us, as modern readers, the phrase "sexy food goddess" seems audacious, even transgressive. "Do we dare refer to plus-size beauty in such a way?" we wonder, at a time when attractive, full-figured women are practically forbidden from admitting to a love of eating. But the fact of the matter is that in any era prior to our own, the phrase would have been a truism.

Before the modern media imposed today's unnatural, androgynous standard of appearance on women, society would have considered it self-evident that a "sexy goddess" would be a "sexy food goddess." The public would have universally acknowledged that food--and specifically, generous self-indulgence in food--was precisely what made "sexy goddesses" . . . sexy.

In an important discussion from last year, we noted that American actress Lillian Russell--the most gorgeous woman of the 1890s--was frequently billed as "America's own corn-fed love goddess" (sound familiar?). As that title suggests, it was quite specifically Lillian's "roaring passion for food, especially rich-buttered corn" (as one contemporary adoringly put it) that was viewed as the source of Ms. Russell’s irresistible, 200-lb. allure.

In fact, as we noted in the aforementioned post, Lillian's generous appetite formed the core of her celebrity--that, and her beauty. (The two went hand in hand.) The press of Miss Russell's time delighted in itemizing exactly what she ate--and how much--and enthusiastically linked her self-indulgence with her beauty, presenting the latter as a consequence of the former.

The publicity surrounding Lillian's love of food wasn't just reflected in words, but in images as well. The following promotional card from the 1890s features one of Lillian's most celebrated P.R. photographs. It shows her with an enormous plateful of desserts--even with an oversized pastry of the kind that Nigella Lawson admits to relishing.

Note that the above image, which dates from the earliest days of photography, isn't a "candid" snapshot of Miss Russell at all, but a carefully-posed studio still, taken with the express purpose of promoting Lillian to her fans. In other words, the marketing gurus of the day knew that emphasizing Lillian's large appetite, rather than concealing it, would make her even more popular with the public.

This image represents a complete revaluation of present-day aesthetic values, a perfect inversion of the modern aesthetic of female self-deprivation. However, the essential difference between these two paradigms, past and present, is crucial. While the Lillian Russell ideal conforms to eternal human desires, and is healthy, positive, and pleasurable, today's androgynous standard is artificial and unnatural, and leads to widespread, pointless suffering--and sometimes, even to death.

The beauty ideal that Lillian embodied is truly beautiful, while today's emaciated standard isn't beautiful at all, but a degenerate, alien imposition.

* * *

"But alas, Lillian Russell's day is long gone," modern readers may be tempted to say, "and such an image could never be produced in our own time."

Au contraire.

Posted below is a tear sheet from that most perfect of all plus-size periodicals, the one publication that, in its first two years in print, unerringly got it right, and consistently depicted full-figured beauty in the manner in which it should be presented . . . Mode magazine.

The image shows Kate Dillon in 1998--during the most voluptuous phase of her career--wearing a sleeveless evening dress, which emphasizes her full arms. A table of desserts (even Nigella's "sugar on the outside, jam in the middle" pastries) features prominently in the shot.

The composition of the photograph is so similar to the Russell image, above--right down to the way in which Ms. Dillon is holding her teacup--that the latter is undoubtedly an homage to the former.

Kate's picture, like Lillian's, is acutely subversive in our own day and age. Both images imply that it is those very desserts which appear in the photographs--those carbohydrate-rich delicacies, brimming with delicious calories--that have made these goddesses so beautiful.

Today's anorexic stars are regularly photographed using gym-punishment devices, with the implication that these celebrities owe their supposedly-enviable malnourished appearance to said implements of self-torture. In like fashion, in the above images, both Lillian and Kate are presented alongside their "beauty secrets"--the figure-enriching indulgences that have implicitly provided them with their soft, feminine curves.

Without needing to utter the phrase, these images persuasively contend that "Sexy girls have dessert." And if Mode could revive the timeless association between feminine indulgence and beauty, updating it for a modern audience in a chic and stylish way, then other plus-size-fashion magazines and promotions could certainly do likewise.

Every voluptuous vixen should take pride in being a "sexy food goddess."

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Old 7th December 2006   #5
M. Lopez
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Default Re: ''Sexy food goddess'' (article)

Originally Posted by HSG
Kate's picture, like Lillian's, is acutely subversive in our own day and age. Both images imply that it is those very desserts which appear in the photographs--those carbohydrate-rich delicacies, brimming with delicious calories--that have made these goddesses so beautiful.

In the Nigella article, it's wonderful to hear her speaking in favour of "the pleasures of festive eating." That's such a liberating idea. Even when full-figured celebrities discuss food, they usually speak of it half-apologetically, as if they need to be defensive about indulgence. It's nice to have a "sexy food goddess" acknowledging the sheer delight of eating for pleasure.

Those images of Lillian Russell and Kate Dillon are gorgeous, and my heart aches when I think of how much I miss MODE. No one else has ever been as pro-plus as that magazine was. No other magazine has ever celebrated the fact that life could be better at a curvier size - more comfortable, more enjoyable.

Today's skinny celebrities sometimes attempt to create PR in which they mention that they enjoy eating, and I suppose it's better than if they were shilling for diet-starvation companies, but still, their assertions always seem hollow - as hollow as their sunken cheeks - because they just don't look the part. Lillian and Kate (specifically, kate back in her glory days, before she diminished herself into just another boring faux-plus model) actually look like they enjoy the delicacies that they're photographed with.

In fact, there's a marvellous tension in the Kate Dillon picture. One has the feeling that she will eagerly treat herself to these desserts, the moment the camera is off her. And the elegant setting and dress make for a very classy effect.

MODE always knew how to create aspirational fantasy that was positive and wonderful.
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Old 9th December 2006   #6
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Default Re: ''Sexy food goddess'' (article)

This entire thread has been truly delightful. I thought of a creative way that the two elements in this discussion could be combined -- that is, the idea of a "sexy food goddess" such as Nigella, with images of plus-size models (past and present).

I am still fascinated by the Classical concept of how Venus, the goddess of beauty, was always attended by Ceres, the goddess of the harvest -- of food -- indicative of the timeless belief that feminine beauty and self-indulgence go hand in hand. In fact, one might say that Ceres was the original "sexy food goddess." This topic came up in one of the Medieval Beauty threads:

Therefore, I think it would make for an interesting plus-size fashion editorial to update a mythological scene, like something out of Rubens, showing a modern-day "food goddess" like Nigella (in the Ceres role) providing rich delicacies for a plus-size model (embodying Venus).

I am not suggesting a "costume" exercise, but rather, a present-day layout styled in terms of contemporary fashion, albeit perhaps set in a classical location -- the way Kate Dillon's Mode homage to that Lillian Russell image was composed.

It would be aesthetically pleasing, and it would also subvert the modern-day stigma imposed on beautiful women about eating. It would be a liberating revival of the more natural mindset of another age.
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