Stylist Lori Goldstein, photographer Nathaniel Goldberg, and Crystal Renn came together to work their magic for a stunning editorial in the June issue of Vogue Japan.
They actually came together (IRL) to produce the editorial, titled "A Call for Camp," back in December of last year. I was lucky enough to have the chance to hang out at Pier 59 while the shoot happened, surrounded by McQueen and Marni and yards upon yards of Marimekko fabric that was twisted into tight turbans atop Renn's head.
While Renn was being tugged and pinned into one such turban, I chatted with the supermodel about the plum gigs she keeps scoring, what she wants to do next (hint: it still involves cameras, only the moving kind), and how the constant media chattering about her shifting size makes her feel. Fashionista: You did a shoot for Carine Roitfeld and Tom Ford in Vogue Paris, and now Vogue Japan. You landed a Chanel campaign. How does it feel to be landing such coveted jobs? Crystal Renn: What’s so exciting about working for Vogue Japan is that i really enjoy Japanese fashion--the silhouettes have always been natural for me to wear--I feel very comfortable in them. [As for Vogue Paris] I am absolutely down for character shoots. I can play extreme characters. In the shoots that I end up doing, especially with Carine--she knows me and she knows I want to challenge society. It doesn’t mean that I’m getting plastic surgery, it just means 'Hey, look at this.' When people turn off the computer or close the magazine you hope they’re still thinking about those images.
You say you like doing character shoots. Does this mean acting is the cards for you? If you’d asked me a year ago I would have said absolutely not--I love modeling, done. Now, I really do see the connection between modeling and acting and I see the challenge in acting. As a model, I’m always aware of the camera. If there’s a camera over there it’s like a laser in the back of my head--I can feel it and I will model for it. There’s always that awareness of people watching you. When you’re an actress, however, you’ve got to lose all of that. And the challenge for me will be can I do that? And I hopefully think I can with practice and over time. I think more and more that’s going to be a direction I maybe go in. I’ve been working on a project that I can’t go into too much detail on but it’s given me an opportunity so that people will get to see me in a different light perhaps.
Speaking of seeing you in a different light, a lot of people have a lot to say about your size and how it's changed--and not all of it is nice. How do you feel about that and how do you cope? When it comes to my size being a topic--the topic of size in general and acceptance of all body types is a good direction where diversity and women feeling good is the focus.
Do I like the fact that people have huge arguments over my size and whether it’s ok? No matter what size I am, it’s OK because I’m fine. Health is the most important thing. So I think that sometimes when there’s this kind of bashing--this 'Is she a plus size model?' I mean, I didn’t make that the technical term. I didn’t invent it. If anything, people get angry at me for using a term like plus size but I didn’t invent the system. Actually, I’m thankful that there is a place where size 8s all the way up to 20s can go and still model and can experience how wonderful this job is without the pressure.
Does the bashing you described--people angry over the fact that you are not "plus size" etc.,--ever get to you? The thing is, I was recovering from anorexia. My body’s going to do some things that I don’t expect. It’s a learning process for me. The problem is when we start bashing and saying ‘Oh i think she’s not as pretty when she’s this thin’ or I even read a comment where it said I was emaciated. I’ve been called fat a million times but when someone called me emaciated, I’ve got to be honest, I got really really angry. I am not emaciated. It’s funny because if I, for instance gained the weight because I was listening to them, I’d be doing the very same thing I was doing when I started out in this industry. I was listening to others to decide where my weight should be and who I should be in general. And I refuse to do that again. It would be more hypocritical.