Seriously, Cheryl Tiegs?

By now, you’ve probably heard about model Cheryl Tiegs’ comments against plus-sized women in modeling. This in the wake of plus-sized model Ashley Graham’s cover for Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Edition; the first plus-sized cover model SI has ever used.

Before I go any further, allow me to share an image of Tiegs, who also bears the title of SI Swimsuit Edition model, and Graham.

Tiegs in the 1970s. Photo courtesy of Men’s Fitness.


Graham in Sports Illustrated. Photo courtesy of Sports Illustrated.

Tiegs wrote a book called The Way to Natural Beauty (1983), in which she spends nearly 300 pages telling women what they can do to have “natural” beauty. A published oxymoron if there ever was one. The book addresses anything from how to calculate how many calories you need to what color lipstick you should wear with certain blouses. I know Tiegs’ heyday of the ’70s and ’80s was a different time, but my goodness… Why in the world would I spend my time reading an entire book about how to apply mascara and what shampoo I should use?

Although Tiegs is now coming out against the glorification of all body types – specifically calling plus-sized models “unhealthy” – 33 years ago, she stated in her book that a “good body has to be a whole lot more than just thin.” Graham has been quoted as saying that she believes a person “can be healthy at any size as long as you’re getting off the couch and moving your body.” Regarding an exercise regimen, what does the great expert Tiegs have to say? In her book, she said, “When you exercise, aspire to be a realistic version of your present body” [emphasis added].

I guess for 5-foot-10-inch Tiegs, her thin frame is a realistic version of her present body. Well, for 5-foot-9-inch Graham, “realism” isn’t really the point. What is is the point. She believes in staying healthy and active, and her body is realistic for her. I have no qualms with a small waist, arms, legs and butt being realistic for Tiegs. I do, however, have a problem with her implied claims that it’s unhealthy for women to come in different shapes and sizes.




3 Replies to “Seriously, Cheryl Tiegs?”

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