sad diets

The Vogue Dieters: Katy Perry, Oprah, Diet Mom, and More

Katy Perry for Vogue.
Katy Perry for Vogue. Photo: Vogue

On Friday night, Katy Perry told Jay Leno that she gave up her regular indulgences during the months leading up to her Vogue cover shoot:

I did a lot of my own prepping. I kind of went on a cleanse … I did a lot of stuff like vitamins and supplements, I changed my coffee to green tea, I didn’t drink any alcohol for three months. So I was really in the zone and just really wanted to be glowing for that cover.

“Glowing” being another word for “thin,” it seems. Her efforts were unnecessary: (1) She’s already slender and pretty, and (2) Makeup artists and retouchers can usually add “glow” wherever it’s necessary (or, ahem, subtract any bothersome non-glow).

But Katy Perry is not the first celebrity to publicly admit that she dieted for Vogue. (And just think of the countless women who did but never owned up to it.) In 1998, Oprah famously lost twenty pounds for her October cover, at Anna Wintour’s suggestion. Wintour even admitted that it was her idea:

I went to Chicago to visit Oprah, and I suggested that it might be an idea that she lose a little bit of weight before she appeared in the magazine … She was a trooper. She totally welcomed the idea. She went on a very stringent diet. It was one of our most successful covers ever.

Oprah Winfrey, October 1998. Photo: Vogue

Also in 1998, Elizabeth Hurley was quoted in Vogue’s May cover story about how she’d dieted for the bikini shoot — a particularly tough endeavor, she said, because she’d quit smoking.

Elizabeth Hurley, May 1998. Photo: Vogue

But the most controversial Vogue weight-loss story of recent years is that of Dara-Lynn Weiss, also known as “Diet Mom,” who wrote a feature about putting her 7-year-old daughter Bea on a diet. (Bea was rewarded for her sixteen-pound weight loss with lots of beautiful new clothes and, of course, a glamorous-looking magazine spread.)

Dara-Lynn Weiss and Bea, April 2012. Photo: Vogue

So while Perry’s story isn’t unusual, it’s amazing that she felt the need to restrict her diet for just one magazine shoot. If it takes three months of cleansing, Annie Leibovitz, an entire makeup team, and tons of retouching to look like this — on top of the fact that Perry is an attractive woman without any of those things — then how can we mortal coffee drinkers ever hope to compare? How sad that even the most celebrated, high-profile women believe they have to diet to live up to Vogue’s standards. 

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The Vogue Dieters: Katy Perry, Oprah, Diet Mom