Why Are Mags Obsessed With Actresses Eating?

Every profile seems to start with a big bite
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 16, 2011 12:43 PM CST
Why Are Mags Obsessed With Actresses Eating?
Actress Selena Gomez eats the cake presented to her on the "Fox & friends" television program in New York to celebrate her 18th birthday, Thursday, July 22, 2010.   (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

A slim actress walks into a restaurant, sits down with her interviewer, and proceeds to order a huge, usually unhealthy meal and gush about how much she's enjoying it: Thus begins a frightening number of celebrity profiles in glossy magazines, especially lately. Minka Kelly chows down on spaghetti carbonara; Zoe Saldana enjoys fried calamari; Drew Barrymore waxes poetic about her love for Kraft macaroni and cheese. What's going on here? One former publicist speculates to the New York Times: Actresses are "so sure that people assume they have an eating disorder that they’re forced to wolf down caveman-like portions of ‘comfort food’ in order to appear normal."

Padma Lakshmi, noting that many of the offending articles appear in men's magazines, calls it "just a male fantasy ... what is better than the archetypical image of a woman eating succulent, dripping, greasy, comforting food?” But some are calling the magazines on their bluff. "When I see them chowing down on fried chicken and hamburgers, I guess it is code for ‘she’s just a normal person,'" says one restaurateur. "But why do they have to be down-home, ordinary people? They’re not, you know?" And a founding editor of Jezebel notes that it would be nice to read about an actress saying, "'You know what? It’s my job to be a certain size, and it takes a lot of work for me to do so. I tend to eat very healthy, small portions, but once in a while I splurge.’ I would like to hear that. That it’s not easy.” (More actress stories.)

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