Oh, to be a female celebrity. Equipped with a personal trainer, a stylist, and hair and makeup artists, you’re guaranteed to look and feel good at all times, right? Not so fast. Consider the following six women, who have defended themselves boldly against scathing criticism from the media and their fans about their weight by claiming to love their curves, only to turn right around and whittle down their figures in a matter of months. Call in the PR damage-control experts —these stars need a little media training in how to avoid losing their healthy self-image along with their extra padding.
Jennifer Love Hewitt
Hewitt is no stranger to media condemnation of her body. In late 2007, while sporting a bikini in Hawaii, she fell prey to paparazzi cameras that captured less-than-flattering shots of her recent weight gain and cellulite  on her backside. Initially, Hewitt fired back with a positive message on her blog: “To set the record straight, I’m not upset for me, but for all of the girls out there that are struggling with their body image … [L]ike all women out there should, I love my body. To all girls with butts, boobs, hips, and a waist, put on a bikini—put it on and stay strong.” But she didn’t practice what she preached—eight months later, a significantly slimmer Hewitt appeared on the cover of Us magazine wearing a sexy red dress and accompanied by a headline that read: “18 Lbs in Ten Weeks.” In the article, Hewitt’s trainer explained that the actress “wanted to start moving around because she thought it would make her feel better.” Is that your version of “staying strong,” Love?
In January 2008, Hudson extolled the virtues of full-figured females: “Curves are good. I have the height of a model , the breasts that people pay for, and lips that everybody wants, so why should I change?” She added, “I don’t want to be too thin; it’s OK not to work out once in a while if you want to maintain a certain weight.” Cut to March 2011, when Hudson sang an entirely different tune after losing a whopping eighty pounds, thanks largely to Weight Watchers, for which she is now a spokesperson: when Jay Leno asked Hudson what her fiancé thought about her slim-down, she crowed, “I’m a walking billboard now, honey!” For what, J. Hud—hypocrisy?
Kim and Khloé Kardashian
“I never knew to embrace curves,” Kim told Us magazine in May 2010 as she and her sister Khloé unveiled their fashion line for Bebe. “I looked at my aunt and cousins and saw these Armenian women with big butts and boobs, and I didn’t really realize how attractive it actually was then. [But] your perspective grows.” Khloé chimed in, “In my head, I did not think I was ever fat … Because of my family base, I always accepted my natural shape … I appreciate it now and I want to help other people.” Yet, in a new take on the idea that hindsight is twenty-twenty, both of these up-with-voluptuous-women comments came on the heels of dramatic weight loss for the Kardashian sisters: fifteen pounds for Kim, thirty for Khloé. At that same event, Khloé even pushed a weight-loss product  she was paid to endorse, called Extreme Burn Quick Trim. Mixed message, anyone?
Forget about the Oscar nominations, the star power, the stunning sets of James Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster movie, Titanic—all anyone could talk about after the film came out were the extra pounds leading lady Kate Winslet seemed to be packing into her evening gowns. To help her weather the storm, Leonardo DiCaprio, the movie’s male star, famously advised her, “You’ve really got to let the whole fat-girl thing go.” By 2009, Winslet seemed to be on board with that idea, telling the Daily Mail, “I’ve decided I am going to start loving my backside because I don’t know anyone who does that. And for my daughter, I want to be able to say to her, ‘I love this.’” Yet in 2010 and 2011, Winslet backpedaled, lamenting the days when she was heavy and cutting a decidedly thinner figure at the Academy Awards and on the covers of magazines like Glamour. “You know, once a fat kid, always a fat kid,” Winslet told Vanity Fair. “[Y]ou always think that you just look a little bit wrong or a little bit different from everyone else.” This despite the fact that Glamour readers nominated Winslet to top the magazine’s 50 Most Glam List three years running. Cry us a river, Kate.
In 2006, when a photograph of a filled-out Banks in a bathing suit sparked vicious commentary about her dramatic weight gain, the model and TV host swiftly stood up for herself and voluptuous women everywhere by wearing the same swimsuit on The Tyra Banks Show and proclaiming, “To all of you who have something nasty to say to me or to women built like me, I have one thing to say to you: kiss my fat ass!” At that time, Banks was thirty-some pounds heavier than she had been at the height of her modeling career in the 1990s. “That’s a positive thing,” she told Good Morning America. “And I think it’s so bad that people are saying that’s bad.” By November 2009, however, too much of a good thing appeared to have made Banks rethink her own credo: she devoted an entire episode of her talk show to describing a food and fitness makeover that had recently helped her shed those same thirty pounds she’d been so proud of a few years earlier. Banks’s nutritionist, Heather Bauer, explained away this contradiction by citing physical strain as her client’s primary incentive to lose weight: “Lately Tyra had been feeling more exhausted … It had become harder to carry the extra weight around.” What about the weight of your conscience, Tyra?
Sure, it’s tough to imagine being a celebrity whose every move, including even minor weight loss and gain, is liable to end up splashed across a gossip magazine or website. But guess what? That’s what happens when you decide you want to be a star. And once someone has achieved the level of fame that these women have, she owes it to her fans—especially the female ones—to save the acting for the screen and get real about her body image.
Photo source: Wikimedia Commons