"When I was in a bikini I wasn't self-conscious at all," she tells PEOPLE

By Michael Y. Park
February 15, 2012 01:35 PM
Credit: Walter Iooss, Jr. /Sports Illustrated - Australia

She’s conquered one of the highest peaks of beauty today – appearing in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue – and now former plus-size model Crystal Renn says she’s experienced every aspect along the modeling spectrum.

“I have been a double-zero to a 16 even, for a bit,” she tells PEOPLE. Now to settle at a [size] six or an eight, it’s a really interesting place to be, because there are very few sixes or eights.”

And though Renn, who’s now a designer 10 in some clothes, still might not be the skinniest model at the SI shoots, she no longer feels any pressure to change, she says.

“There’s a woman at SI who’s made it a point to make sure that the models are healthy. They’re not interested in who’s the thinnest model of them all, they’re about the girl. We all have different bodies. There’s not one type that’s idealized.”

And even the bathing-suit photoshoot in Australia proved to be a piece of cake, she says.

“I felt comfortable with my body. I’ve been doing yoga for a while now,” Renn says. “That makes you aware of how your body moves.”

Says Renn: “I have found a place of stability when it comes to how to view my figure.”