A supermodel lets us in on the dark world of the modeling business -- and how she is teaching young girls to love themselves.
Yvette Manessis Corporon: "I was doing everything, exercising eight hours a day and multiple times a week. I was not eating, and still having someone tell me, 'Maybe you should just go on a diet.' I thought, Do you have any idea that I was at the gym for eight hours yesterday, and my only meal has been lettuce? If you only knew." If they knew, they certainly didn't care.
Discovered by a modeling scout when she was just 14, Crystal Renn began her dangerous decent into anorexia. Her relationship with her mother was difficult at best, and Crystal was being raised by her grandmother. So when the scout offered the tall, brunette cheerleader with piercing brown eyes a way to escape the confines of her difficult, small town life, Crystal jumped at the chance. "I think when a scout comes along at 14 and tells you how beautiful you are, you take it very seriously. He told me that I had to lose 9 inches on my hips, and I just thought, 'No, that doesn't seem like very much.'"
But by the time she lost those 9 inches, and 70 pounds, the once vibrant girl who loved posing in front of the camera lost so much more than just the weight -- she lost the spark that had made her so special. Crystal explains, "There was no emotion. There were no feelings. If you let yourself feel for one second when you have an eating disorder, you fall apart. I didn't have time to fall apart."
The pressure to be supermodel skinny had the 5'9" Crystal dieting down to a dangerous
95 pounds. "At 95 pounds, I have to say every part of me physically was falling apart. My hair was falling out, my skin turned gray. I felt like I was going to faint all the time. I experienced true intense pain throughout my body at all times because I was truly starving." The deprivation and disappointment left Crystal starving both physically and emotionally, but there was no one to turn to. She was told over and over again to just keep working and to keep losing weight. And in the process, Crystal tells momlogic that she also lost her will to live. "I've been to the lowest point, the absolute lowest point where you have to decide whether you want to live or not. I decided 'I can't do this,' and I chose health, chose to be proud of what I was given every day."
In that moment, Crystal's life changed forever. She began eating again, and gradually saw her body come back from a size 0 to a size 12. Crystal found her niche and a stellar career not as a skeletal mannequin, but as a beautiful and voluptuous plus-sized model. And, in an unexpected twist, she's finally starring in those high-fashion, designer campaigns she had only dreamed about.
But even with all her success, this beauty is not done yet. With her new book, HUNGRY: A Young Model's Story of Appetite, Ambition and the Ultimate Embrace of Curves, and a passion for teaching young girls about the power of positive body image, Crystal wants to make certain that young girls truly understand that beauty does indeed come in all shapes and sizes.
|Yvette Manessis Corporon is an Emmy award-winning writer and producer. She is also the co-author of "Peeing in Peace: Tales and Tips for Type A Moms." Yvette lives in New York with her husband and two children.|