September 8, 2009
Posted: 06:59 PM ET
The following is an excerpt from "Hungry: A Young Model's Story of Appetite, Ambition and the Ultimate Embrace of Curves," by model Crystal Renn
This is a story about two pictures. The first is a photograph of the supermodel Gisele. Taken by the photographer Steven Meisel, it appeared in Vogue in 2000. Gisele is in a clingy white gown, posing in a studio against a seamless gray backdrop.
Her skin is golden and gleaming. Her hair is windblown, as if she’s been surprised by a breeze from an open window just out of view. Her hands, her eyes, the curve of her back—everything is graceful and expressive. She’s mesmerizing.
I was fourteen years old when I saw that picture. It was the first time I’d ever leafed through a copy of Vogue. I’d never cared about any fashion magazine; I’d looked at that one only because a man I’ll call The Scout had handed me a copy. He was working for a major modeling agency—let’s just call it The Agency—in New York. His job was to troll the back roads of America, visiting junior high schools and suburban malls, in a ceaseless quest for the next top model.
I had never met anyone like The Scout before. He was urbane and kind, smooth-talking yet sincere. I was dazzled by his shirt. Tailored to perfection, it was probably more expensive than my entire wardrobe. When he opened Vogue to Gisele’s picture, he knew exactly what he was doing. He was planting a fantasy. In the few seconds it took me to absorb all of Gisele’s beauty and allure, I’d constructed a new idea of female perfection. It was Gisele.
That’s when the Scout said, “This could be you.” And even though I was only fourteen and weighed sixty pounds more than Gisele and had all the sophistication of a girl from Clinton,
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