Glamour’s New Poster Girl


This is Lizzi Miller. This photo of Lizzi was printed on page 194 of the September issue of Glamour, and has caused quite a stir. In my opinion, the article itself was a breath of fresh air, citing ways to embrace your body as-is and silence nagging negativity … but it was the photo that caused most readers to jump for joy. People penned passionate letters to the Glamour crew, praising their portrayal of a happy, healthy, non-skinny woman, inundating the magazine’s offices with words of support and pleas for more, more, MORE images like this gorgeous one of Lizzi.

Editor-in-Chief Cindi Leive wrote this response
to the outpouring of reader support, and has garnered hundreds of comments already. She also briefly interviewed Lizzi, who seems like an absolutely wonderful woman. A sweet soul to match that sweet smile.

Now, Glamour’s reputation is one of fluffiness. And while I’ve only subscribed for a few months myself, and definitely see some fluff peeking out, I also see that the editorial staff is making a concerted effort to include body positive writing and imagery in every single issue. Not just this issue, but every issue. And for that, I must applaud them. Sure, they’ve got plenty of waif-like, toweringly tall models in their editorials, but they are, at least, attempting to balance things out a bit.

Some might say that, in doing so, they’re sending mixed messages. But I prefer this interpretation: Showing both thin and non-thin women – gorgeously photographed and held up as examples of physical attractiveness – encourages the expansion of societal beauty norms. Subtly, but persistently. And that kind of quiet revolution in ideals of beauty could be far more effective than angrily demanding that multiple body types be recognized as equally desirable. People need to be shown these things, not told.

If the editor puts her money where her mouth is, we’ll be seeing and reading even more body-positive content from Glamour. Asking for an entire magazine of diverse women may be unreasonable at this point, but praising a mainstream magazine that displays some bodily diversity and explores body image issues could change market conditions. Our praise and support now may make an entire magazine of diverse women possible in the future. Desirable and profitable, even.

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  • Cecilia

    When I came across this picture in the magazine, I was taken back. The article was great, but I felt that if I wanted to see a saggy tummy, I could just look in the mirror…maybe that's just me, but I simply don't buy a fashion magazine to look at everyone else's "imperfect" features…that being said, I felt that it was refreshing to see a healthy-weight person look very comfortable in her own skin…and while I hate the photoshoped images that are popping up everywhere these days, I think that they could have taken a better picture of her, where she was not slouched over, which would have improved the look of her tummy, but still showcase her. Don't we all want to take pictures that show our features in the best light?

  • ShopKim

    I haven't seen or heard about this and I don't get the magazine. I think it's amazing though and I'm very happy that we're starting to see these types of things slowly creep in to our magazines and society. Kuddos to Glamour!

  • Meli22

    I love the blogs at glamor.com, i'm always reading. they have some… interesting… bloggers, but they're stepping generally in the right direction I think. But every person's opinion is going to differ on what is 'right'. I think the shallowness of the beauty and fashion industry needs to change- we need to focus and praise HEALTHY women- of all kinds of sizes and shapes. I mean, if the media industry is what shapes opinions and makes little girls think 'this is what is beautiful' then we need to teach that health is beauty- and the size of your thighs, stomach, etc does not matter as long as you are living healthy.

  • Cupcakes and Cashmere

    i was definitely inspired when i saw this picture initially and even more happy after i heard cindi leive on the today show. she seemed to be truly behind the cause of showcasing more average sized women. at the same time though, we look to magazines for some sort of glamorized view of reality and if all of the women on the pages looked like us, it would lose some of the appeal.

  • Sarah R

    I am a Glamour subscriber, and thought it was a pretty good article. But as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. I think Glamour already does a decent job of showing more than just model type figures (they also have a plus sized version of whatever clothing option they are featuring, such as jeans, coats, swimsuits and dresses).
    As much as I love the fashion portion of Glamour, I don't plan to renew my membership. Only because I'm sick of Christians being bashed in their editorial pieces and articles.

  • Anna

    I've been subscribing to Glamour for years, and I have to say that recently they have been featuring more and more information on being comfortable with one's own body. While they're still pretty fluffy, it's encouraging to read a magazine that seems to encourage being healthy and happy rather than being thin.

  • Oranges And Apples

    I haven't seen the magazine or the article (US glamour I assume), so obviously I can't comment on the specifics, but overall, I think these kinds of articles are a good thing and a step in the right direction.

    I just wish that one day magazines will be able to use an average sized model without making a big song and dance about it. Same for black, older and disabled models. It would be so nice for difference to be included as normal, rather than in stories specifically about the fact that there isn't enough of a certain type of model.

  • Belle de Ville

    This is a very pretty girl and Glamour has styled her, on purpous, in an unattractive way in order to be provocative.
    And that annoys me.

  • Audi

    I think it's a great step in the right direction. I've never cared much about the size of runway models because I feel they're supposed to show an exaggerated version of the new styles — I mean, even the clothes themselves are going to be toned down for the ready-to-wear versions, right? But for fashion magazines I do feel it's important to represent a variety of body types, because after all the goal should be for any woman to take what they see in the mags and adapt those styles to suit her own body. As for the actual photo, it's absolutely beautiful, and Lizzie herself seems like a peach. How wonderful for her that she got so much positive feedback from readers.

  • Christina Lee

    I am a subscriber and saw this as well as an interview on the today show (and Sal, we may be telepathic b/c I was preparing a post on this photo). It just really grabbed me from the get go- I found myself mesmerized by it and thinking about it- I do think the magazine is making more of an effort-now if they were to include HER in a photo spread- I may be more apt to buy the clothes she is wearing because I would see how they REALLY fit a women's body…

  • Gloria V

    I immediatley recognized this pic when I scrolled past it this morning as being from Glamour because I, too, was taken by her. This woman is so beautiful! I don't even see her "tummy" as being imperfect – just different from the normal sticks they call models in magazines. I think that is why so many were touched by this picture…having some fat is just as beautiful (and in my opinion more so) than a model with 2% body fat. As far as Glamour goes, they talk a good talk about being body positive and loving your body just the way it is… but if you turn to the fashion spreads, you see the same stick-thin models that are everywhere in the fashion industry. I applaud them for trying but they don't walk their own talk.

  • Work With What You’ve Got

    I have, and I have to admit, I didn’t notice she was not “skinny” when I read it. I thought “Oh what a refreshing looking laugh” but I didn’t notice the belly at the time. I just thought “pretty, naked, girl” and moved on. I think maybe we ought to view ourselves that way more “pretty, naked, girl” and move on. Because really, who would notice our flaws if we didn’t point them out all the time?

    But yes. I am down with more medium and plus sized girl in Glamour and any magazine willing to try and make a change.

  • Sheila

    I loved seeing it, but I looked and moved on. I've been a Glamour reader for about 20 years and while they have always had the thin models (but not as twiggy as some mags), they have definitely always been conscious of the shapes of the women they use.

    You should see if you can find the woman they used in the bathing suit spread a few months ago! She was gorgeous and way curvy.

  • Sal

    Sheila: I LOVED that spread! Glamour got tons of positive feedback on those photos, too.

  • K.Line

    Oh, I've seen it and heard about it. I think it's a crazy comment when a woman that is that gorgeous and – let's face it – "normal weight" (i.e. slim by terms of the general population if not by industry standards) is garnering this kind of response.

    Yes, I guess it is progress. But it's a sad sign of the state of things.

    I don't read Glamour often, but I do think that it presents women in a more healthy looking light than the other fashion magazines.

  • Sal

    Such a wide range of responses already!

  • Darrah

    Where you wrote, "Some might say that, in doing so, they're sending mixed messages" I have to agree. The debate between whether it's okay to be thin or have a little chub is exhausting. It's very important to be happy with your body, but it's also very important to be healthy. I just hope the right message will be portrayed in future issues with a balance of both like you said.

  • Erin

    Love it. I thought the article was very body- and self-positive. And I thought the model looked gorgeous. I wasn't turned off by her curves or lumps at all, so why am I so critical of my own?

    I'd be thrilled to see this magazine feature women of all sizes and shapes displaying fashion…because that's what it's about right?? FASHION. Not skinniness.

  • Anne (in Reno)

    I canceled my Glamour subscription after the America Ferrara hullaballoo (don't send me form letters telling me she hasn't been photoshopped. Nobody naturally has NO ELBOWS). I think this is a publicity stunt as their past "love your body" coverage has been pretty shallow. If this woman had been shot in a normal fashion shoot instead of in a g-string that emphasized her tiny belly then I would be much more excited. But I am betting that would have gotten them much less press.

    I do love the blogs on their website though!

  • pretty face

    All I can say is that Lizzi is too damn gorgeous to be making me feel better about myself! 😉

  • Mrs.M in MI

    I've subscribed to Glamour for nigh on five years. Out of the many fashion magazines I have subscribed to over the years, I always differentiate Glamour in my mind as my "feminist" one.

    I think this way mostly because they always have frank but informative sex articles (that are more likely to be about increasing my pleasure than catching a boyfriend with my acrobatics) and helpful money management articles. There's more than just clothes and makeup.

    My favorite part about Glamour is when they have articles about female subjugation and violence against women, like the series of articles Mariane Pearl did last year or the article Eve Ensler wrote on the Congo.

    I think in this context Glamour probably strives a little harder than other fashion magazines to represent the wide range of women. On the other hand, they are quick to point out muffin-top "Don't"s but the "Do"s are all slim and trim.

  • Michelle

    I think some of the commenters are being a little harsh. I don't think they styled her in an unattractive way – let's be honest, everyone looks like that when they sit that way.

    I agree with you, Sal! I think it's a definite change for the better, although slower than I'd like. I'm definitely going to pick up a copy of the next Glamour issue – after all, money talks, right? The consistent excuse for not featuring more average sized, let alone plus sized, models is that people don't want to see that and they'll loser advertisers. If the magazines and advertisers see that featuring a diverse array of models (and I agree with the other commenter who said that they want to see more diversity, not just size wise) doesn't mean less money, more mags will do it!

  • Bianca

    I find it soo odd that there was a huge spread in May of a "plus-size" model – shes probably a 12 – and it was a SWIMSUIT spread..and no one said "boo" ….but then they printed this little 3×3 photo of a tummy and the world is on fire. Is is because she is naked?

  • kristophine

    I went out and bought this issue after I heard about the photo–voting with my dollars, same as I do when I buy ethically farmed meat–and what really got me wasn't even that picture, as nice as it was. They had a piece where a woman took a photograph of herself every day for a month in the same bikini while noting how she felt about her body that day; in the end, when you look at the pictures over the month, you can see that although there were days when she felt fat and days when she felt svelte and gorgeous, she looks the same–and awesome–across the entire month. I loved that. I struggle with my self-image on a daily basis, and as a scientist, a demonstration like that goes a long way for me.

  • missKaren

    I haven't seen this article, Glamour hasn't always been my kind of magazine. Maybe it can be now. I've noticed in the past years they've paid more attention to loving your body, fitting your body, mental health correlating with physical health.

    And how beautiful is she?? Good lord, she'd stop me on the street. That vibrant smile, the confidence that just radiates from her.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  • Heather

    I said it in my blog, and I'll say it here: this girl is not fat. This picture shouldn't be starting any debate about fat being healthy because she is NORMAL. Size 0 and 6' tall is not normal. We have a huge problem of perception here. I agree with Belle de Ville that the styling on this picture is BAD. That's not a tummy you guys, that's now skin works when a woman who isn't a twig sits down.

    Having said all that, it is a beautiful picture and she's a beautiful girl. And if we want to praise a magazine for publishing gorgeous pictures, well I have no problem with that!

  • lisa

    Ooh I really enjoyed reading the responses from different commenters so far. She's a beautiful girl and it takes a lot of chutzpah to pose naked in a national magazine.

  • Sal

    kristophine: I loved that piece, too! I've been trying to find an online version to flog because I don't have a scanner at home …

  • Make Do Style

    Well either be diverse always or just go for the same old model perfection.

    I'm a big fan of the clothes horse look (as I like to look at the clothes not the person) but I am more concerned by lack of black models on the catwalk and monthlies.

  • Middle Aged Woman

    Here's my first reaction: She has my pooch! And my thighs!

    Second: When I am employed again, I amsubscribing to Glamour!

  • we wear things

    wow i definitely think it's a step in the right direction!

  • Rosie

    I actually wrote in to Glamour about how wonderful the Crystal Renn spread was a couple months ago. They continue to show real women throughout their magazine, which is wonderful. However, like Gloria V., I have also been taken aback by the disconnect between these pages and the fashion shoots. The models are the age and size of my 13-year-old cousin.

    Glamour to me has never been about high fashion, but more about the "Every Woman." So, I think that if they continue to evolve, showing more and more healthy, happy women of all shapes and sizes, their audience will grow. Sure, some people might not like it, but that is what Vogue, Elle, etc. are for.

    Lastly, it seems like Glamour is doing more for positive body image than Self, what with their Kelly Clarkson air-brushing!

  • WendyB

    I guess it's a pretty picture. She looks comfortable with herself. I feel like they made a point of using a picture of her in a pose that no one would really do. I mean, even men suck it in when they get their pictures taken. I would be fine seeing more body types, but I'm actually quite bored with magazine articles about "loving yourself as you are." I feel like I read them too often and they're all too similar and the statements they make are too sweeping. I also don't see the need for models to look like "regular people" — it's not a job for regular people any more than "movie star" is a job for the exceedingly average. I would be happy for models to look like the sporty ones of the '70s-'80s or the glamazons of the '90s who were amazing looking without being skeletal.

  • Imogen Lamport

    Given that there are naturally slim women out there as well as more curvy, I think that a mix is the way to go.

    I love her stomach – seeing 'my stomach' in a mag is great – I think so many women feel they're unnatural when they never see a stomach like theirs (and then berate themselves internally) for it- rather than accepting it as how a stomach is likely to look (when it's not been photoshopped, or cosmetically altered.)

  • Charlie

    I think the way you put it sal was really great – the idea of a 'Quiet revolution' because let's face it the beauty and the fashion industry is not going to change over night. I've mainly heard about the responses and it seems to me that people swing two ways, either people thing it's really great, or people think that it's not enough.

    And she is definitely not overweight or promoting an unhealthy weight! Women should naturally have a little pouch – it's how were designed and it's just exaggerated because she's sitting down.

  • a cat of impossible colour

    This photo made me feel just fantastic – about her, about my own body, about the female body in general, about life. Enough said.

  • Hanako66

    I hadn't heard about this. She is beautiful and I think that it is wonderful.

  • Pretty Little Pictures

    I had not heard about this until i read it here – but this is amazing, all credit to Glamour I say. They are breaking out of the 'tall skinny' mould and are actually putting photo's of women in the magazine that depict the real life women reading it. Yay for them.

  • Leah F. Taas

    Hi! As I've said in my post about the same topic, it's about loving who you are and what you have… thick or thin. I love your post, a more comprehensive take on the subject. I'm not a good writer so I only end up saying bits and pieces about anything I write about. 🙂

    And I love your blog… will definitely be adding this to my list.

  • fashion herald

    I saw some press about this, and honestly feel a little cynical about it all. She's kind of slouching down in that photo, as if purposely getting the belly. Really, I'm sure the plus size models know how to pose to make their bodies look good as much as any model.

  • AsianCajuns

    I don't usually read Glamor, but when I heard about this I started thinking that maybe a subscription wouldn't be so bad.

  • etoilee8

    I always feel like magazines get all excited patting themselves on the back after publishing a picture like this. But the very next month the message is lost and it's back to sickly thin models on every page. I just don't get excited anymore, sadly .

  • ekerplay

    I can't help but be skeptical of the editors aims – it is a well known fact that any publicity is good publicity, and of course such a controversial image was going to stir up a media frenzy(!) – resulting in more buyers, more subscribers, and more money for the mag.

    As long as the ratio of skinny:normal sized models continues to be unbalanced in magazine, i'm going to have to call their bluff and call them condradictory – for the mags, any notion of 'positive body image' sandwiched between pages and pages of flawless waifs exists only for the magazine to be able to pat itself on the back for being able to "relate to it's readers".

    I think the real prophets of positive body image – the people who are going to make real change with clean hearts and good intentions – are the bloggers like YOU! Your blog, among others, is doing great things for sending across positive messages about the varying bodies of modern women. Don't let those pathetically hypocritical magazines steal your spotlight.

    xxxxxBisous, Ekerplay

  • LENORENEVERMORE

    seen it and heard about this…It's refreshing! The same goes to the Dove campaign… There are times for glamor/fantasy & there are times for imperfectly-perfect! ps:You are such a great writer Sal!! xo*

  • MP

    I think that the fashion industry has a long way to go, but if they need to start by putting 3×3 photos of 'normal' women in their mags, then by all golly go for it. I'm glad to see happy, healthy WOMEN in magazines; not the skinny, pre-pubescent looking girls that are normally out there. Not that there aren't skinny women, but let's face it, most of us have curves in one place or another.

  • meg

    I don't care about the politics. I don't care promises from Glamour. I do care that when a 15 year old girl picks up that magazine she'll see someone happy and healthy at a normal weight, and she'll maybe feel more comfortable in her own skin.

  • Anonymous

    i have seen this photo over at glamour and i heard it all.i think its great that she feels combtable in her own skin, but are you guys really calling her plus sized? she's skinny in my opinion how bout people start showing true plus size women, seriously. i love glamour and everything and i think they are great but they need to step it up

  • enc

    I'm aware of the hullaballoo, and I'm all for it. It's time for a sea change.

  • miss cavendish

    Saw this on Jezebel; I think that Lizzi is beautiful and am delighted to see a post-pregnancy tummy revealed in all its glory.

  • FashionAddict