Being A Naturally Skinny Model Doesn’t Mean You’re Advocating It, Says Alexa Chung

Not so long ago, one of Models Direct’s favourite part-time models, Alexa Chung, found herself caught in the middle some particularly nasty controversy.

Naturally slim Alexa Chung models for Superga's S/S 2011 campaign
Naturally slim Alexa Chung models for Superga’s S/S 2011 campaign

Not so long ago, one of Models Direct’s favourite part-time models, Alexa Chung, found herself caught in the middle some particularly nasty controversy.

Pictures of Chung, who is naturally very slim, were being pulled from her Instagram account and used as ‘thinspiration’ material.

Thinspiration, or ‘thinspo’, takes many hideous forms, from images and video montages of skinny models or celebrities – who range from being naturally thin to a protruding-bone level of emaciated – to supposedly ‘inspirational’ anti-fat posts, mantras and quotes, which are equally disturbing.

Given the fact that pro-Ana websites, which promote the eating disorder anorexia nervosa, more often than not feature thinspiration images, Chung was understandably not happy about being used in this way.

Speaking to Fashionista, she explained how the attention made her feel: “I think it’s about time people stopped judging women on their appearance and more on their intellect. Like you can appreciate my style without having to appreciate my weight. It’s not actually mutually inclusive.

“I just get frustrated because, just because I exist in this shape, doesn’t mean that I’m like advocating it and being like, ‘I look great.’ How do you know I’m not looking in the mirror and going ‘I wish I could gain ten pounds?’ Which is actually quite often the case. But if you say that you sound like you’re bragging that you’re naturally thin, and you’re not allowed to do that because even though it’s not the ideal weight, it kind of is as well. So it’s really f***** up. And how people that are bigger can be on the front covers of magazines being like ‘I’m really happy with my shape.’ But if I was to do that, I’d be completely criticized and ridiculed. But why can’t I be happy with how I look?”

Chung, who has modelled for brands including MOGG, Pepe Jeans, DKNY and most famously for Lacoste’s ‘Joy of Pink’ fragrance, went on to say how it’s unfair for people to judge.

“It’s not like I’m starving myself, I’m not,” she said. “This is just how this [gesturing to her body] is. At this point in time and like maybe it will change when I get older but due to stress factors and all that, this is my natural body shape. I don’t sit around and judge other people and flick through magazines and be like ‘f****** hell she’s gained ten.’ Like who cares? Why don’t you start being like ‘wow, I really like that women’s show.’ Like Lena Dunham’s really intelligent [and people seem to be able to focus on that, rather than how she looks].

“I just think that whole culture of hatred, and also feeling like it’s your right to judge people when you don’t know them is really f***** up. So I’m pleased I experienced that side of it, so I can learn to be a better person on the other side of it. I’m sure in the past I’ve been judgemental too. And it’s difficult because sometimes people do have eating disorders, and whatever but you never know what’s going on in someone’s life so I’d say don’t be quick to think you know.”

It’s easy to forget that body shaming can affect all body sizes and shapes, not just plus-size models or those with curves, so it’s interesting to hear from someone at the other side of the size spectrum.

Head over to the model agency’s Facebook page and let us know your thoughts on Chung’s comments.