show & tell

Bebe Neuwirth Worries About Models’ Foot Structures


Bebe Neuwirth, back in December, at the opening of a musical
that didn’t run quite as long as Chicago.Photo: Patrick McMullan

Most of the celeb action at Heart Truth yesterday was on the runway, rather than in the front row. Nevertheless, we spotted past Heart Truth model Bebe Neuwirth in the crowd. She gave us the dancer’s perspective on skinny models.

You won a Tony for playing Velma in Chicago in 1997, and now you’re back playing Roxie. What’s it like working with the young kids in the show now?
“Point your feet!” “Straighten your knees!” “Pull up for God’s sake!” “Elegance! Elegance and simplicity!” I don’t say anything unless I’m asked. I’m old enough to know that. I hope to give them an example of what things should look like in terms of dance.

Do too skinny models distract from the clothes?
I get distracted by the way they walk because I know that they’re hurting their foot structures. I see models on the runway and think, ‘Okay, they’re just built thin.’ I think some people are bitter if they have trouble losing weight and they’re jealous of those who are slender. I’m saying that because I’ve been the brunt of the “Ooh, you’re too skinny” comment many times.

What do you remember most about walking in the show last year?
Last year I did it about three months before I had a hip replacement. So my thing was, “Let me get down the runway and back without limping and letting anyone know I’m in excruciating pain” I did it! How ‘bout that? — Rachel Wolff

Bebe Neuwirth Worries About Models’ Foot Structures