'Plus-Size' Model Crystal Renn Sheds Pounds, Fuels Criticism

Model Renn has slimmed down to a size 8 from a size 14.

Feb. 9, 2011 — -- Most models put on a pound and the critics pounce. Crystal Renn has the opposite problem.

In an interview released this week, the sometimes "plus-size" model spoke out about losing weight and her struggle to stay in the fashion world.

"When this whole weight loss thing happened, I think that a lot of people wanted to point their finger at somebody," Renn said in an interview posted on the blog of her modeling agency, Ford. "I think that they wanted to find a conspiracy where there absolutely was none."

The 5-foot 9-inch Renn once weighed 95 pounds. At the age of 16, Renn, now 24, moved to New York City from her hometown in Mississippi, signed a $250,000 modeling contract, spent up to eight hours a day at the gym and starved herself.

It was clearly painful. Told she still wasn't thin enough to be a "traditional" model, she stopped struggling after she turned 18, started eating, and began a second act in the plus-size sector. She fluctuated between a size 10 and a size 14. Renn chronicled her struggle with anorexia in her 2009 memoir "Hungry," a book that made her the face of the push against too-thin models.

But last year, she started shrinking. Her slimmer frame called her career and crusade into question. In her Ford Models Blog interview, Renn criticized the media for making her weight loss more than what it was.

"I feel pressure -- probably more from any place -- probably from the public and the media," she said. "I think that by placing a title on my head, which is 'plus-size,' and then the picture that these people have created in their mind about what plus-size actually is, I've basically failed you just with that. Because I couldn't possibly live up to that, and at this point in my life I would have to actually have another eating disorder to live up to that expectation."

Renn's a tough pill to swallow because she currently defies categorization. Photos from one of her latest ad campaigns, for Lord and Taylor, lack the curves and volume that won her fame. She's now a size 8. Her agent, Gary Dakin, told ABCNews.com that Renn "is in between the two" sides of the modeling industry -- plus-size and otherwise.

"She reintroduced exercise back into her life after finally feeling she was ready to," Dakin wrote in an e-mail. "Hiking and yoga are part of her life now. She is healthy and feels amazing right now."

Despite the fact that she seems to be leading what's generally deemed as a healthy lifestyle, Renn has her detractors. Michael Gross, author of "Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women," thinks the statuesque brunette is "fair game" for the criticism she's received.

"She has cashed in on gaining weight and now she's losing weight," he told ABCNews.com. "I don't know whether it's hypocrisy ... but it's worth making an observation about."

But her supporters argue that in an industry of extremes -- tent dresses and bell bottoms, miniskirts and skinny jeans -- Renn's ups and downs, like the ones that every female figure weathers, are a thing to be embraced.

"She is an active girl and when she's not, the weight will come back on. Naturally," Emme, the pioneering plus-size model, told ABCNews.com. "If she goes to either extreme, then there is room for concern."

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