Top your reading list this summer with Hungry, written by plus-size model, Crystal Renn. Ms. Renn depicts her horrifying struggle with denying herself any food other than raw vegetables, sugar-free gum, and Diet Snapple to meet the impossible standards of the straight size modeling biz. But Hungry is far from a typical anorexia sob story.
By employing beautiful and memorable prose, Renn weaves her own story of hunger for food, thinness, success, and stability into her introspection of the modeling industry and America’s "sized-crazed" culture. She debunks the complexities and contradictions of our society’s obsession with weight. From feminist, to religious, to political, and to historical sensibilities, Renn posits a myriad of theories about why we equate thinness with goodness -- and why we mutilate our minds and bodies to achieve it.
Renn acknowledges the odd satisfaction we reap from our disturbing relationship with food to preface her espousal of cultivating mental acceptance and love for our physical appearance. Her attitudes and statements are completely right on, especially at the turn of the decade, a time when we see our society releasing itself from the grip of pharmaceutical juggernauts and aligning with holistic modalities and natural living. Renn believes that "we should respect our bodies’ wisdom" -- and even recommends hot yoga, a pure and sexy way to cultivate the respect we owe ourselves.
As a recovering anorexic who inflicted mental and physical harm on her body, Renn works to transform the way we view plus-size models. With her impressive resume, disarming personality, and command of language, she defines herself as the "hot girl" rather than the happy-go-lucky sidekick in dimples -- an identity that usually confines big girls. Her hotness would intimidate me if she weren’t so endearing with every turn of the page! Throughout Hungry, she elevates curvy women as worthy of editorial modeling and couture fashion shows, not just commercial work that confines them to the exact identity Ms. Renn strives to avoid.
Her extensive work experience, which includes being photographed by Steven Meisel and featured in Italian Elle and Vogue, credentials her to write this comprehensive look into our fear of and fascination with the human body. Although she refuses to sugarcoat anything, she offers an optimistic perspective on the future of the modeling industry and the mental and physical well-being of Americans. She’s book-smart, street-smart, and effortlessly cool.
Story by Sarah Greenberg. Sarah is a yoga enthusiast, and University of Maryland student.