Correspondents found our cover story on the diet problems of supermodels Kim Alexis. Carol Alt and Beverly Johnson (PEOPLE, Jan. 11) provocative, but many questioned whether the three women were fully aware of the messages they seemed to he sending.
FAMOUS MODELS, DANGEROUS DIETS
Your article “The Body Game” may make people realize that “beauty” does not mean emaciation, anorexia and bulimia. The starvation games played by millions of people are ridiculous. Let’s hope the ’90s will bring in the realization that thinner is not always better.
SUSAN GODZAC, Erie, Pa.
When I picked up your article on supermodels Kim Alexis, Beverly Johnson and Carol Alt’s dieting traumas, I really expected to read something profound about the recovery of three women with eating disorders. Their main point seemed to be that when they were first starting out in the business, they had to torture their bodies with starvation and malnutrition, but now that they have made names for themselves and are “supermodels,” it’s OK to fall off the pedestal and put a few extra pounds on by cheating. With maybe the exception of Alexis, they are no closer to eating normally than they were at the start of their careers.
SABRINA DAVIES, Bellingham, Wash.
To claim that food is “the enemy” is a misdirected accusation. A more likely enemy is the modeling-industry machine—agents and clients who negotiate for models as if they were commodities. Add to the mix a large sum of money, and you end up with a system that can suck in even the most sensible people.
KAREN LANKAU, Stow, Mass.
Carol Alt misses the whole point when she says “anybody who thinks that society pressures women to live up to our image should think of what we have to go through to maintain that image.” Who does she think perpetuates that silly image if not herself and the industry she supports with her self-destructive behavior? Society isn’t pressuring women; the fashion industry and models are. Carol should not look to society for sympathy as much as she should have used some common sense to help herself.
SHARON MORRISSETTE, Simi Valley, Calif.
I am a recovered bulimic and understand the plights of these women. However, I feel that your portrayal of the food/self-image issues was more harmful than informative. Johnson, Alexis and Alt talk about how debilitating dieting was to their health, and then you print their personal diets at the end. It was in poor taste for PEOPLE to manipulate this topic and further glamorize eating disorders.
CHRISTEN M. DILUGLIO, Providence
Hey, I have unsalted pretzels and Diet Coke for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Can I be on the cover of PEOPLE too?
SUE JONES, Olean, N.Y.
After Carol Alt’s morning breakfast of scotch-spiked coffee with whipped cream and nacho chips, it’s a wonder she can eat anything else all day. If this is the way Miss Alt has learned to eat “wisely,” I think she had better read some nutrition books. Stating that “this is the only time I ever drink alcohol, it wakes me up a bit” is sending an even worse message to young girls than starving and purging does.
TERI COHEN-DAHDAH, Plantation, Fla.
Although I admire Beverly Johnson for speaking out about her eating disorder, I resent the comment she made before attending her first Overeaters Anonymous meeting: “I’m not going in there with a bunch of big, obese people.” The fact that society may accept her body type over that of some of us who are overweight does not make her eating disorder any more glamorous than mine.
CHARLENE BLACKBURN, Arcata. Calif.
PICKS & PANS
Do I get a free subscription for spotting the upside-down photo of the swim team in the review of Pools? It was the lane lines on the ceiling that looked odd. However, running the photo upside down helped bring out the photographer’s insight of how close a mirror image is to reality.
EDWARD. J. MATTIMOE, S.J., Chicago
Nice of you to notice our cleverness in printing the picture upside down. Your reward will be seeing it right-side up (below).—ED.