Saturday, July 7, 2012

Mind, Body & Soul

One model who never ceases to amaze me with her modelling skill, beauty and intellect is the captivating Crystal Renn. With a burgeoning resumé which includes 25 Magazine, V, Love, W, Interview, American Harpers Bazaar, Sports Illustrated and virtually every international edition of Vogue, Renn is one of the strongest and most versatile editorial models working today. What I admire most about Renn aside from her mind-blowing beauty, is her fearless approach to modelling and her willingness to take on any persona required to fulfil an editorial brief. Renn is not a model who is simply interested in being pretty. Rather her strength lies in collaborating with visionaries to create images that inspire and challenge one's notions of beauty. Speaking with Ford Models Damien Neva, Renn sheds some light on her body of work, "All of the shoots that I have done with French Vogue have had some sort of message, have wanted to challenge the reader of the magazine and that's what I like about the characters that she (Carine Roitfeld) has picked for me. They are challenging and I suppose we have the same outlook when it comes to the shoots that we do."

Crystal Renn
Paris Vogue - December 2010
Photographer - Tom Ford
Source - models.com

Born in Miami, Florida, Renn was scouted at the impressionable age of fourteen, whist attending beauty school and was advised to lose 50 pounds in order to meet the "requirements" of modelling. Renn duly complied, shedding weight by exercising for up to eight hours a day and subsisting on an extreme caloric restrictive diet. Over a three year period, Renn developed an eating disorder which would eventually take its toll, leaving her precariously ill and physically debilitated. Renn battled with anorexia before seeking professional help, and eventually regained her health via sounder eating practices and moderate exercise. Speaking with Vogue Italia, Renn reveals "I got so ill that it became difficult to walk... I had to make a change." 

In 2004, Renn re-emerged on the modelling scene as a plus-size model with a renewed confidence and vigour. Renn's sensual brooding looks and womanly curves were championed by the likes of photographers Steven Meisel, Ruven Afanador and Steven Klein, as well as by Jean Paul Gautier and former Paris Vogue Editor-in-Chief Carine Roitfeld. Early editorial appearances in American Vogue's Shape issue and Paris Vogue, confirmed Renn as a model with true star potential, plus-sized or not. In an interview with Ford Models Damien Neva, Renn displays a disarming grace and humility, "I've worked with Mert & Marcus, Steven Klein, Steven Meisel. I have had very much luck with people being behind me. I think that when you're in a position like I've been blessed to be in, one must recognise the army standing behind them to open doors to make things possible and I know I didn't do this alone. Sure I was extremely driven. I believed in something. I had a dream, but it was these people that ultimately make my job possible."

Photographer - Phillip Riches
Source - thefashionspot.com

Crystal Renn & Karolina Kurkova
Interview Magazine - March 2012
Photographer - Steven Klein
Source - models.com

W Magazine - March 2011
Photographer - Inez Van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin
Source - models.com

US Vogue - April 2004
Photographer - Steven Meisel
Source - thefashionspot.com

Paris Vogue - October 2010
Photographer - Terry Richardson
Source - models.com

V Magazine - January 2010
Photographer - Terry Richardson
Source - models.com

Paris Vogue - December 2010
Photographer - Tom Ford
Source - models.com

US Harpers Bazaar - December 2010
Photographer - Paola Kudacki
Source - models.com


In 2009, Renn co-authored an autobiography entitled "Hungry", in which she details her experiences with eating disorders and her journey towards self-acceptance. The subject of speculation regarding recent weight loss, Renn responds in an interview with Ford's Damien Neva, "When this whole weight loss thing happened, I think that a lot of people wanted to point the finger at somebody. A lot of people said that the industry was pressuring me, my agency was pressuring me, I was pressuring me. But it was just not the case in all three cases. But where do I feel pressure? I feel pressure from, probably more than any place, probably from the public and the media. I think that by placing a title on my head and also, which is plus size, and then the picture that these people have created in their mind about what plus-size actually is, I've already basically failed you just with that, because I couldn't possibly live up to that. I had anorexia ultimately because someone else set the standard for me and I wanted to follow it. I think the most important thing that we all need to know, whether you're a model, you're a normal person walking around, you're an editor, a photographer, you're anybody out in the world, it's about individual health. You cannot tell if someone's healthy or how they are mentally, from what's going on the outside because health is different for everybody at different sizes."

In February 2012, Renn made a splash in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, displaying her trademark curves and a supremely healthy-looking, athletic physique. Renn is clearly a woman with a clear sense of self who is not content with being categorised or placed into someone else's neatly compartmentalised box. Speaking with Vogue Italia, Renn digresses "Diversity is beginning to be considered beautiful. And fashion is going the right direction. Let's get rid of the concept of 'straight'-size and 'plus'-size. It's bullshit. Just say model. Full stop."

Paris Vogue - August 2010
Photographer - David Sims
Source - models.com

Paris Vogue - October 2010
Photographer - Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott
Source - models.com

25 Magazine - March 2012
Photographer - Paola Kudacki
Source - models.com

Aymeline Valade, Crystal Renn & Jamie Bochert
Vogue Italia - September 2011
Photographer - Steven Klein
Source - models.com

US Vogue - April 2004
Photographer - Steven Meisel
Source - thefashionspot.com

Interview - March 2012
Photographer - Steven Klein
Source - models.com

Vogue Mexico - May 2012
Photographer - Nagi Sakai
Source - models.com

Harpers Bazaar Russia - December 2006
Photographer - Unknown
Source - thefashionspot.com

Vogue Mexico - April 2011
Photographer -  David Roemer
Source - models.com

2 comments:

  1. Watching her videos on the SI website was really something great to see. Just the way she was constantly in motion, constantly forming shapes. She's clearly not a prototype "SI girl" and she may never be in the issue again, but you could tell that Walter Iooss got off on shooting her. Although a totally different type of girl, she reminds me some of Ashley Richardson, who they always talked about her posing and dance training. Pretty sure today Ashley would be considered a plus size model as well. Mindboggling.

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  2. I honestly thought that Crustal was the stand out rookie of this year's SI issue. She made the rest of the models look like amateurs. It is crazy how the industry's idea of plus size has changed in the last 20 years. Thanks for you comments. Regards, Neill.

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