(From Left: Kimora on the red carpet last year, Kimora this month after losing 25 pounds)

The fashion industry has long been scrutinized for its portrayal of unhealthy body images. Models are encouraged to be rail thin and though a few designers go against the grain each season, their ideas are not industry-wide.

Kimora Lee Simmons has been an internationally-known powerhouse in the fashion industry for years and has managed to stay in amazing shape after the births of her three children. Her former clothing line, Baby Phat, and signature brand, KLS, have always featured curvier models so it comes as a shock to hear that she has lost 25 pounds in the last year by allegedly not eating.

Here are excerpts from her statement on weight loss to Popeater:

“I have shed the fat by not eating, but I don’t like to tell the kids that so they think they shouldn’t eat. No, I watch my portions, and I eat leaner proteins and vegetables and stuff like that.[…]So I woke up this morning and ordered breakfast at 4 AM. I had egg whites scrambled, spinach, turkey bacon and a glass of orange juice. The reason I had such a big breakfast is because I hadn’t eaten in two days. I’ve had fruit, I’ve had a smoothie, I’ve had a protein bar, but it’s not like I’ve had Doritos…I was out one night with two famous sisters when a bunch of burgers were being passed around. I went to grab one and the two of them looked shocked. They said ‘we don’t eat.’ Then after I grabbed a burger they said they were joking but I knew they weren’t!”

Anyone who has worked in the fashion industry knows that most editors and models live on a diet of cigarettes and Diet Coke but Kimora never seemed like the type. Also, someone of her stature could easily hire the best personal trainers and dieticians around. And most importantly, she is the mother of three children. In a world where the pressure is so great to fit a thin standard of beauty, she should certainly try to be a role model for her two young daughters.

Her statement also begs the question: who are the two famous sisters that she is referring to? The rumor is Angela and Vanessa Simmons, which would mean that another set of role models are also exhibiting some pretty irresponsible behavior.

Naturally, Kimora retracted the Popeater statement, accusing it of being sensationalized for the media:

“I just wanted to take a moment to address a story about my recent weight loss that began circulating today. This story led people to believe that I shed 25 lbs. (pounds) by not eating, which is completely ridiculous. I am a mother of three young children, two of whom are girls and I’m trying to raise them with a healthy body image. It’s taken me almost a year to lose close to 25 lbs. and I did it through healthy diet and exercise. So yes, I’m a bit smaller, but still curvy and healthy and proud of my body and the time it has taken me to undergo this personal journey for myself. I’m not one of those ‘superstar moms’ who lost all their baby weight in a week. So, yes, I’m upset about the innuendo because I just can’t win. In the past year there have been numerous rumors about my weight – first I was attacked for being a size 10, now I’m anorexic? I’m a real woman and I represent real women. I believe that people are beautiful at any size, color or weight. The way this article was promoted is unfortunate – what a silly way to sensationalize a story, especially when you know young people will be reading it…There must be more accountability in reporting, especially considering the far reaching impact on girls and young women who are exposed to this kind of misleading information on a daily basis. What kind of example is that setting for them?”

So which is true? Does Kimora Lee Simmons have an eating disorder and is it a by-product of the pressure on female celebrities to lose weight? Is this a widespread issue with African-American women in the fashion, beauty and entertainment industries or just one woman trying to do what she can to “look good”? Should we be worried about the message this is sending to adolescent girls everywhere who might be looking up to her as a role model? Should we even believe any of it?

-Faith Cummings


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