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Say goodbye to size 0

Super thin is not only super unhealthy, it may soon be super uncool.

Zero tolerance
More and more celebrities have weighed in to condemn the size zero phenomenon, from Kate Winslet to Billie Piper. Beth Ditto, lead singer of Gossip and dubbed the ‘coolest person in the world’, even refused to do some in-store gigs for Top Shop because they don’t sell clothes for people her size. But it’s not just the famous who appear to be rejecting the super-thin trend. Poll after poll shows that the bodies most of us consider attractive and want to see on the screen and the catwalk are those with the voluptuous appeal of the stars of former times, such as Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell. Farewell Nicole, Linsday and Mischa! Bring on the real women, with real sex appeal!

In her recent ITV1 documentary The Truth About Size Zero, footballer’s wife, Louise Redknapp, attempted to slim her way down to a US size zero (a UK size 4), made fashionable by the likes of Mischa Barton, Kate Bosworth and Lindsay Lohan. Within two weeks of her regime of punishing work outs and a daily intake of only 800 calories, the former Eternal singer and wife of footballer Jamie Redknapp had a cold, couldn’t sleep, was tired, bored, irritable, unable to concentrate and very, very hungry. ‘This experiment is not something I undertook lightly,’ Louise said. ‘By doing so I hope it helps people to see the dangers of the extreme skinny look.’

Even the most severe proponent of the size zero look, Nicole Richie, has admitted that it’s not something to aspire to. ‘I know I’m too thin,’ she confessed. ‘I wouldn’t want any young girl looking at me wanting to be like me. I’m not happy with the way I look right now.’

BEYONCE KNOWLES
size 12

Beautiful Beyoncé loves her curves so much she didn’t feel sexy when she had to lose them for her role in Dreamgirls.

‘I would look in the mirror and not feel like a woman. I didn’t feel sexy. People in the fashion industry were like, “Oh my God, you look beautiful”, but it’s more important to feel like me in my own skin and I didn’t feel like myself when I was thinner. Plus, it’s heaps more fun to be able to eat pizza again!’

She wasn’t the only one who didn’t like her skinny look. ‘I’m a black woman and in our society hips and thighs are what is considered beautiful,’ she commented. ‘I’d go to radio stations and the guys were like, “What’s happened with you? Where’s the old Beyoncé?”

The former Destiny’s Child front woman has had her body subjected to public scrutiny ever since the launched their self-titled debut album in 1997. Her resistance to conforming to industry sterotypes even inspired one of her most famous songs, Bootylicious. ‘I’d gained some weight and the pressure that people put you under, the pressure to be thin, is unbelievable. I was just 18 years old and you shouldn’t be thinking about that. You should be thinking about building up your character and having fun and the song was just telling everyone just forget what people are saying, you’re bootylicious. That’s all. It’s a celebration of curves and a celebration of women’s bodies.’

NIGELLA LAWSON
size 14-16

Everyone’s favourite Domestic Goddess says her husband Charles Saatchi has demanded she keep her curvaceous figure. ‘Charles tells me to bulk up if I lose weight,’ she confesses.

In fact, he rates her curves so highly he compared her to Marilyn Monroe when he was watching a film starring the blonde icon. ‘He said to me, ‘Look at that: look at the way her stomach swells and how her hips curve from beneath her waist. She is beautiful and you are even more so because your breasts are bigger,’ remembers Nigella.

But she’s confident it’s not just her husband who prefers a woman with shape: ‘It is only women who admire thinness. No man who likes skinny women would go for me but my impression is that men do not like skinniness.’

She has admitted to trying to diet without much success: ‘I don’t weigh myself. The scales are now kept in the drawer where I hide my chocolate.’
Famous for lingering close-ups, as she samples her own wares, Nigella’s love of food is likely to keep hubby Charles happy. ‘Food is quite sexy’, she argues. ‘People who don’t like food and eating – I don’t think they’re taking part in life.’

MARTINE McCUTCHEON
size 12

Martine has been a role model ever since she first played troubled Tiffany in Eastenders. A survey for parenting magazine M in 1999 found that two-thirds of the seven to 11-year-old girls questioned aspired to Martine’s curves when they were older, rather than the 13% who were inspired by waifish supermodel Jodie Kidd.

She’s since topped numerous polls as having the sort of body that British women want.

Martine followed in the footsteps of Renee Zellweger when she piled on the pounds for her role as a tealady in Love Actually. ‘The character is plump, gorgeous and juicy so I had to put on about 10lb for the film,’ she explained at the time. ‘I was fine with that, because you can’t have a big ego if you want to play a real part.

I loved eating whatever I wanted. I was like, “Yeah, bring it on”.’ She later lost the weight with the Blood Type Diet, in which you adapt what you eat according to your blood type. ‘I can fluctuate in weight like a typical woman and I’ve been skinnier,’ she admitted. ‘But that was because I wasn’t happy.’

EVA MENDEZ
size 10

Former fast-food junkie Eva Mendez says she’s got her best body ever, but not by focusing on weight. ‘I emphasize on just bettering my life,’ said the Cuban actress. ‘That’s why I don’t succumb to the pressure in Hollywood to be thin, because I am what I want to be. What I want is to feel really good inside and out.’

Like Martine McCutcheon, she’s also put on weight for a role. ‘I wanted to make comic book fans happy,’ she said of her latest movie, Ghost Rider. ‘The original (character) was blonde and blue-eyed, but she also had huge bajoongas.

‘If I gain weight it goes to my boobs and my butt. I figured since I can’t be blonde and blue-eyed, I’ll at least have her bra size. So the bajoongas got big. They were out of control.’

The star of Hitch has accepted comparisons with J-Lo: ‘I feel I’ll take on the responsibility of showing the world a whole different kind of Latin woman.’ But she’s adamant there’s no such thing as the perfect body.

‘My vision of a perfect body is a really healthy one,’ she argues. ‘You have the tall, slender Gisele-like perfect body. Then you have the Jennifer Lopez perfect body, and then you have the Beyoncé perfect body. I appreciate women in all shapes and sizes because we are all beautiful creatures.’
Amen to that!

COLEEN McLOUGHLIN
size 12

Although she’s confessed to wanting longer legs, Wayne Rooney’s fiancé says she’s happy with the rest of her body, especially her curves. ‘I don’t mind being curvy at all,’ she said. ‘I wouldn’t say I absolutely love my body, but how many girls do?’

But it seems Wayne is more than happy with it. ‘Wayne loves my curves,’ she said. ‘I’ve always had a shapely waist. I’m a curvy woman and that’s just how I like it. I’ll certainly never be one of those celebrities who becomes really skinny. I just love my curvy bum and hips too much — and so does Wayne.’

Her refreshing honesty and attainable figure inspired Asda to choose Coleen as the face of their George clothing range.

‘The reason we use Coleen is that she is real. Customers are aspirational but they want to be able to identify with our models,’ said a spokesman. And it seems the supermarket chain is right.

A survey by Yahoo Entertainment in October 2006 found that Coleen has one of the figures women would most like to see on the catwalk.

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