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Posted at 10:43 AM ET, 02/17/2009

A Weighty Issue: Celebrities by the Pound

By Liz Kelly

Heidi Klum and husband Seal arrive at last year's Academy Awards ceremony. (Reuters)

Note to celeb weight watchers: Heidi Klum and Kate Moss just joined the ranks of the celebrity hefty.

Last week, German designer Wolfgang Joop (not to be confused with GOOP) accused Klum of being unfit for runway work, saying the supermodel and host of "Project Runway" is "simply too heavy and has too big a bust."

This week, British supermodel Moss addressed pregnancy rumors when she said that she just suddenly put on a few pounds, which caused the confusion and forced her to wear a bra for the first time in her life. Several British tabloids had speculated that Moss may be with child based on these ever unreliable baby bump pix: Exhibit A | Exhibit B. Since the pregnancy thing didn't fly, the tabs now speculate Kate may actually be growing a beer belly instead.

Since Jessica Simpson's double-belted waistline spawned a million discussions about what constitutes fat these days, I wanted revisit the topic. When we talked about Simpson, a few commenters contended that there is a different standard of beauty -- and weight -- for celebrities.

Consider these comments from our Simpson discussion a couple of weeks back:

If she had a job that wasn't all about looks and very little to do with talent -- well -- that wouldn't matter. But it does here because we're a Sigue Sigue Sputnik generation - all style no substance. On that front - one cannot gain 20 lbs and expect to get away with it. -- quintiliusvarus

and

I'll be honest. What a disappointment. You can argue all you want about distorted body images, but the bottom line is that formerly H.O.T.T. Ms. Simpson is now an average-looking woman. -- jerkhoff

I think we can all agree that Klum and Moss are far from overweight, but the very fact that we're even talking about it still raises a lot of questions for me:

If there is a different weight standard for celebs, where is the line? For instance, is a size 10 just peachy for us average Janes, but pushing maximum density for a red carpet habitue? And, if the acceptable standard is closer to Lindsay Lohan and the Olsen twins than it is to Klum or, say, "Mad Men's" Christina Hendricks, is that our fault or a body image being pushed on us by the mighty entertainment-fashion industrial complex?

Share your thoughts below. I'll be checking in on the discussion throughout the day.

By Liz Kelly  | February 17, 2009; 10:43 AM ET
Categories:  Celebrities, Fashion  
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Comments

Oh Well, if you were to tell me that Missy Simpson here made her fame through intelligent comments, charity, brain surgery on poor children or, at least, by remembering the lyrics of her OWN songs, the weight issue wouldn't matter. But, since her fame is based on nothing but her image, and she gets paid for that... well, she has to live with it. For the rest of us, commonfolk, if we went all dumb in our job and stopped performing, the dough would stop coming.
PS: why do i care about this? Am i sick? Why do i comment in celebritology? Am i having a stroke right now?

Posted by: ileschinder | February 17, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

You are right, Liz. There is a double standard. Unfortunately there are too many young impressionable girls out there who feel the celebrity standard applies to them leading to distorted body image and eating disorders.

And by the way, looking at the pics, Kate Moss is definitely prego. She is at least 4months along I estimate so look for a birth notice this summer.

Posted by: hodie | February 17, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

As long as there's a "fashion industry" that creates clothes only for stick-thin women with bodies like boys, that will continue to be the "standard."

When you have size 0 on the low end and size XXXL on the high, we have a communication issue. In the real world, "Medium" would be sizes 12-18.

Watch any episode of "Project Runway" where the designers recoil in horror when confronted with the desk of designing an outfit for a "real" woman ("No! How am I going to dress THAT?!") and you'll see what I mean.

Posted by: td_in_baltimore | February 17, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

There is definitely a different standard for celebs because they have people judging them in every outfit all the time - is it fair? maybe not.

However, there is an even more specific standard for working models and while Heidi Klum might fit the standard for celebs I could see that she might not fit the current standard of model body type which is pretty much a size negative 2 these days. Again, not necessarily healthy but definitely the reality for models today.

Posted by: sjcpeach | February 17, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I've decided to weigh in (ha ha get it, weigh in, anyhoo) Jessica Simpson is a mediocre singer whose only claim to fame is that she was hot. She probably never would have made past the first round on AI. No one is spending one inch of print to discuss the weight of Jill Scott or Jennifer Hudson or Adele or Kathy Bates. Jessica Simpson is not fat, healthwise, she is not even overweight, she is just normal. Maybe now that she doesn't have her body to fall back on, she'll actually learn how to sing.

Posted by: milesdy | February 17, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

I am pretty sure there are not too many real men complaining that Heidi Klum is too big in the bust.

Women are not coat hangers. As long as designers make clothes that only look good on the hanger, real women will be unhappy with how we look because our clothes dont' look good on us.

Posted by: epjd | February 17, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

I am a guy and Heidi looks absolutely PERFECT in the photo above. Yaza!
Most models are too thin and not that attractive.

Posted by: Iowahoosier | February 17, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I have to echo ileschinder's comments. Talent is enough to overcome any other deficiencies. Unfortunately, when your talent is walking down a runway, you're fair game to designers of MC Hammer pants and bad cologne to call you "fat." Sorry, Heidi. We still love you anyway. Just don't be wearing the Joop! Hammer pants because they make you look fat.

Jessica Simpson is a different story. Why are we obsessed with Jessica's weight and not that of Wynnona Judd or Trisha Yearwood? Because Wynnona and Trisha have phenomenal voices.

And poor, poor Lindsay Lohan. When she "starred" in "Prairie Home Companion" with Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin, we did not say "My goodness, that Lindsay sure makes Meryl and Lily look fat!" We said, "Meryl and Lily completely outshine Lindsay's acting ability."

And nobody's talking about poor Paulie Shore. When your schtick is to be the eternal frat boy, growing old, jowly and fat, though inevitable, is still quite a shock.

Posted by: mdreader01 | February 17, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I think we can all agree that more women would prefer to look like Heidi Klum than the Olsens or Lohans. Heiki looks healthy and beautiful, plus has poise.

I think we can all agree that many clothes look better on the rack than they do on a body. I usually try to avoid buying those clothes. So, designers be warned if you design your clothes to look best on a rack, they may remain there.

Posted by: ideallydc | February 17, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

epjd, you took the electrons right out of my "work" station. Mr. Joop (pronounced "yoop," not to be confused with "yoot", as in My Cousin Vinnie) is obviously not in touch with most people of the male persuasion. We are unfamiliar with any such concept as "too big a bust." This is, as Liz suggest, part of the Entertainment Fashion-Industrial Complex. and by extension it's offshoot, the Bridal-Industrial Complex.

Now that Simpson has gone country, she is just like Gretchen Wilson, except for the ability to sing, of course.

Posted by: reddragon1 | February 17, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, there is a different standard for celebrities, but that's not my problem with Ms. Simpson. I don't think she's fat; I think she's unattractively styled. Those high-waisted pants that brought her such ridicule look ridiculous on everyone! Rihanna, Fergie ... nobody can pull those things off. They are not figure flattering to anyone no matter how skinny. If Jessica Simpson would dress in clothing flattering to her figure (whatever her actual size) and respectful of her femininity, she would be much better off. That's not to say she can't be sexy. Women with curves can be very sexy without looking like "trailor trash" or tarts. I'm not suggesting she buy a bunch of vintage Chanel suits, but she could stand to add a little class to her wardrobe.

Posted by: fedesq | February 17, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

if kate moss is definitely prego, then i worry for the well-being of the child, given the reports of her smoking and drinking beer.

i'm sorry, but jessica simpson deserves whatever she gets... she's not fat, but she keeps putting herself out there as some barometer of style and hotness, and she is neither stylish nor hot, IMO.

Posted by: memphis1 | February 17, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

I think this is some of the most thoughtful and reasoned commentary I've heard on this topic so far.

What mad world do we live in when Celebritology is a bastion of the sane?!

Posted by: Bawlmer51 | February 17, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

What mad world do we live in when Celebritology is a bastion of the sane?!

Posted by: Bawlmer51 | February 17, 2009 1:45 PM
-----------------------------------------
Bawlmer, one of the nice things about Lizard Island is that Liz largely lets the inmates run the asylum...so long as we do not discuss female topiary.

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | February 17, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

B51, Have you been here for a BKD yet?

Idea for Fox TV show: Lohans vs. Olsons, SIS SWAP!! hosted by Nikki and Paris Hilton.

Posted by: reddragon1 | February 17, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

memphis, you are right to be worried about that alleged unborn child of Kate Moss. I have personally cared for crack babies in the NICU and hope that no child has to go through what I've seen them put through. Alcohol and pot are just as devestating to developing fetuses. Not only that, but the baby may also be at risk for what ever gift that keeps on giving that Kate may have received in her lifetime. Kate, if you are just denying for privacy, I pray that you have grown up and realized that life is not just about you anymore.

Posted by: hodie | February 17, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Haven't I read that 2/3 of adult Americans are either overweight or obese? If so, there is definitely a different standard for celebs. Especially for runway models. When you think about it, it is quite a disconnect, isn't it?

Although Heidi appears to be diversifying into hosting, producing and such so I wouldn't worry about her future prospects.

Posted by: 44west | February 17, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

hodie, what celeb realizes it is not just about them any more? Tomkat (Suri in Fantasyland) and Ambassadress Angelina are not really exceptions.

Completely random snark: last week I had the misfortune to see Hoda on TV. Previously I thought that Hoda was a wrinkly old, wise Star Wars character. Turns out I was wrong about the Star Wars and wise parts.

Posted by: reddragon1 | February 17, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Oh, yeah, and Fedesq, it's TrailER Trash. At least in my family.

Posted by: reddragon1 | February 17, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Some rules of thumb for the too thin, too fat debate.

If you look like a lollipop or as if you head has been photoshopped onto your body, you're too thin.

If you look like a barrel w/arms and legs or a weeble you may be too heavy.

Posted by: jes11 | February 17, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Oh shoot, I forgot one of my old favorite sayings from someone I worked w/years ago...

If you look like a refrigerator with a cookie jar head, you may be too heavy.

Posted by: jes11 | February 17, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

"Haven't I read that 2/3 of adult Americans are either overweight or obese? If so, there is definitely a different standard for celebs. Especially for runway models. When you think about it, it is quite a disconnect, isn't it?"

Yes, because some people look at models/celebs and think "I can never achieve THAT", unrealistic as it is -- and give up. Hence the obesity problem ... sort of a backlash against unrealistic body types in the media.

Posted by: Californian11 | February 17, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

If celebrities are available by the scoop, I'd like to order two large scoops of Salma Hayek.

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | February 17, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

coming in late here. . .J.Simp *has* chubbed up but she isn't fat. The woman needs to hit the gym desperately. If she expects to continue a "career" in show business, she needs to slim down. If she decides to go to college (ridiculous, I know) she can relax about her figure. Since the choice is obvious, I suggest Weight Watchers to J.Simp, along with lots of cardio and weight lifting. Every. Day.

Kate Moss' metabolism just came to a screeching halt. See above for solution Kate.

Posted by: jelo | February 17, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Kate Moss is not "definitely preggo". I'm slim like her, and I look like that after any big meal. Stop the presses: model eats a meal! No wonder this is news!

Posted by: nocturnia1 | February 18, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

What mad world do we live in when Celebritology is a bastion of the sane?!


B51, Have you been here for a BKD yet?

Indeed I have. Thus my (joyful) shock.

Posted by: Bawlmer51 | February 18, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

I want to be a singer, but I don't want anybody judging me on my voice. I want to be a dancer, but I don't want anybody judging me on my grace or fluidity of movement. I want to be known for my attractiveness, but I don't want anybody judging me on my looks. I am delusional.

Posted by: gimhoff | February 18, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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