In case you missed it, designer cum reality TV judge Julien Macdonald created a mini stir when he took it upon himself to promote the new UK version of Top Model by slamming plus sized models. In a recent interview Macdonald said he planned to take his duties as one of the show’s scouts seriously–meaning he would only entertain girls that met his catwalk standards. “You can’t have a plus size girl winning – it makes it a joke,” he said. Predictably, the media jumped on the soundbite–spinning his guffaw into headline news.
Well, while we did our best to ignore his blatant backwardness, model Crystal Renn couldn’t keep quiet. “We need to change the way we approach the whole thing, and do away with these terms. All we are is a bunch of models, no matter what size,” she wrote in an editorial to the Independent specifically addressing Macdonald’s louche comments. More she wrote, the problem is one of perspective.
Mistakes in the past have been to base things on extremes. Lots of shows have had size zero and size two girls followed by really curvaceous 16s. When that happens all you see is the size of the girl. The runway needs to be like the street: a variety. If you have more variety then the focus isn’t on the size. We need to do away with the titles that we give to models and to women. I think it’s wrong. I would like to see it change.
For our part, we applaud Renn for standing up and adding her voice to the conversation. And we agree completely. If Macdonald’s comments illustrate anything it’s a need for the industry to stop treating the “plus sized” model as a sideshow attraction used to drum up attention. Unfortunately this goes both ways. In truth, Glamour’s choice of Renn as a cover girl or Karl’s decision to have her walk in his show, shouldn’t necessarily have earned the degree of attention that it did. Isn’t she, like every other model, an abnormally beautiful woman? True progress, we think, will be the day when we don’t blink twice when we see a size 12 on the runway. Thankfully, Renn makes us believe we’re well on our way.