Anna Wintour told Oprah to lose lbs; calls ‘most people’ in MN fat ‘little houses’

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Vogue editor Anna Wintour was a guest on “60 Minutes” on Sunday. In a clip posted to the web, Wintor describes how she got talkshow queen Oprah to lose weight ahead of her appearance on the October, 1998 cover. Vogue has been under fire for failing to represent women of color, particularly during Wintour’s reign, and Oprah’s appearance on the cover was noteworthy.

Wintour told Mike Wallace that she merely suggested to Oprah that she lose some pounds in order to feel more “comfortable” for the photoshoot, and that Oprah readily got on board. From the way she words this it sounds like Oprah probably went on another one of those unhealthy liquid diets to lose weight fast. Wintour also said she encountered very overweight people during a rare trip to Minnesota, and described “most of the people” as “little houses.” That’s harsh:

oprahvogueVogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour had quite the request for Oprah Winfrey.

Wintour had told the talk show host to drop 20 pounds to be on the cover of the fashion magazine back in 1998, the editor revealed during an unaired segment from her 60 Minutes interview on Sunday.

“It was a very gentle suggestion,” she said, laughing. “I went to Chicago to visit Oprah, and I suggested that it might be an idea that she lose a little bit of weight.”

She added: “I said simply that you might feel more comfortable. She was a trooper!”

Winfrey, 55, must have listened to the fashion legend. She was featured on the cover from more than 10 years ago with the tagline: “Oprah! A Major Movie, An Amazing Makeover.”

“She totally welcomed the idea, and she went on a very stringent diet,” Wintour said. “And it was one of our most successful covers ever.”

In the 60 Minutes interview, Wintour, 59, also defended the use of Photoshop to make people “look their best.”

“That’s one of the things that makes me rather angry, that I don’t understand,” she said. “That if you look wonderful, does that make you less important? Less powerful? Less serious?”

Although Vogue typically only covers stick-thin models within its pages, she said her magazine maintains an awareness of obesity.

“I’d just been on a trip to Minnesota, where I can only kindly describe most of the people I saw as little houses,” Wintour said. “There’s such an epidemic of obesity in the United States, and for some reason, everybody focuses on anorexia.”

Wintour, who commissioned a feature on the topic complete with illustrations, said that it was an important issue.

“We need to spend money time and education on teaching people to eat, exercise and take care of themselves in a healthier way,” she said. “It [has gotten people] provoked, which is really the point.”

[From US Weekly]

The media focuses on obesity too, it’s not fair to say that it only focuses on anorexia. The issue is that fashion magazines like Vogue portray very thin adolescent-looking models, and Wintour is more exposed to criticism of that in her line of work. There’s no simple answer to either issue, but calling people demeaning names like “little houses” isn’t going to help us work toward promoting a healthier body idea. It’s outrageous that she claims “most people” in Minnesota are obese. I guess we can’t expect much more from her. Do you think she told Jennifer Hudson to lose weight before her 2007 cover too?

You can watch Wintour’s entire “60 Minutes” interview on YouTube. The quotes in which she admitted she asked Oprah to lose weight and calls Minnesotans fat come from a section that was deleted from the segment. The part where she says she told Oprah to lose weight can be viewed on

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63 Responses to “Anna Wintour told Oprah to lose lbs; calls ‘most people’ in MN fat ‘little houses’”

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  1. Carrie says:

    I live in Minnesota and we do not look like little houses. The Twin Cities are always high on the list of healthy cities. I guess when you are used to being surrounded by those think it’s sheik to look like walking skeletons, average sized healthy sized people would look distorted!!

  2. CandyKay says:

    I love fashion magazines, but I’ve stopped reading U.S. Vogue, because Wintour and her people are terribly out of touch. Fashion should be fun, exciting, fresh, humorous, thought-provoking, and Vogue is none of the above.

    I also got tired of paging past article after article on new plastic surgery techniques. “Teaching people to take care of themselves in a healthier way,” indeed.

  3. saintdevil says:

    Yes, Anna, you may not understand it, because your brain is shrivelled up by starvation, but photoshopped pictures of celebrities and models make them less REAL and contribute even more to the distorted and over the top beauty-standard many women feel they have to conform to.

  4. Ursula says:

    Goodness, if people are going to be airbrushed beyond recognition like that Oprah cover, why bother to ask her to pose? Just get an artist to make a slender likeness of her and be done with it.

  5. Sakota says:

    Vogue has gone downhill mainly because it is now beginning to feature actresses in small teenybopper television shows and it’s no longer about fashion, but about the latest activity for actresses.

  6. mamalama says:

    Like Carrie, I live in MN as well, and we are one of the healthiest and least obese states in the nation. As she said, perhaps Anna’s view is a bit skewed when she works in a world where size 6 is fat. Get a grip. Oh yeah, and I wouldn’t look for Vogue sales to rise in MN!

  7. mhjmc says:

    My guess is that underneath those clothes is an anorexic skeleton .. notice how nothing is showing?? Wow I would rather be healthy and a size whatever than a bag of flesh on some bones .. Anna really Oprah is beautiful no matter what her size is!!

  8. MB says:

    Is she supposed to appear fashionable? The Dutch Boy hairdo is bad enough but what the hell is she wearing? And that look on her face, like she smells something bad or sucked a lemon. Highly unappealing.

  9. anastasiabeaverhausen says:

    She looks like a constipated arsehole. Am I supposed to care what this old bag thinks?

  10. Anonymous says:

    I, too, live in Minnesota and take major offense to that comment! That is just awful to reflect on Minnesotans in such a stereotypical way.

    But then, she works for a fashion magazine that has seen much better days and so has she. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her wear something that compliments her or looks remotely fashionable. She literally looks like a hag. She must be a terribly angry, unhappy person.

  11. Wresa says:

    Liek, omg eating disorderzz are so kewl!

    STFU, Anna Wintour! I’m from Ohio and we Midwesterners stick together!! (except during college football season.)

  12. boomchakaboom says:

    It worked so well for Oprah, didn’t it? She’s since gained back all of the weight she lost, I believe. Those “stringent” diets tend to do that.

  13. ! says:

    Wow, the dried up hag is telling people they’re too fat? I oughta slap that sneer right off her face. I suppose we should look like her…snotty, emaciated, and like we’re too busy climbing out of the grave to get something to eat.

    I mean, really, she’s supposed to be this ingenue and she’s had the same old tired bob for decades now and it has NEVER flattered her face, NEVER looked good with anything she wears and for some reason, resembles a cheap wig. And not once have I been impressed with a damn thing she OR her daughter wears.

    And her claim that we as a nation only focus on anorexia, is just false. Read the Internet for about ten minutes and you’ll see how much fat people get harped on. But really, which is more dangerous? Which is more likely to kill you in the short term? Not eating can kill you in 40 days. Obesity can take up to a lifetime. THAT is why anorexia is more dangerous.

    Obesity might be a public health concern but anorexia is a plague on our society that is festered by women like Anna Wintour. It amazes me that she cannot see the connection with Photoshop and how it perpetuates an unreal standard that is unfair to enforce on the population. Its not about how that person looks, its about how that person looks and how it makes us feel WE should look…and if that’s a lie, then it needs to be exposed! Why does she not feel an ounce of guilt at the poor self esteem she’s inducing based on LIES?

    Quick quiz, which do you think is more mentally damaging, to be overweight or anorexic? Overeaters tend to eat when they’re emotional, so obviously there’s some anguish there, especially with society’s “hey let’s all point and laugh” mentality. But to be anorexic, you literally have to hate yourself to such an extreme that you can deny yourself one of life’s most basic needs. Not to mention, while being overweight for an extended period of time can cause health problems, most can be fixed with a lifestyle change before it gets too serious (not all but many). Anorexia can cause lasting organ damage and other issues, long after you’ve “recovered”.

    I’m going with ANOREXIA is more harmful to a human being FTW.

  14. kiki says:

    the Dutch boy haircut
    ba ha haaaa
    is VOGUE even considered revelant nowadays?

  15. Janiforia says:

    Anna Wintour looks like Mary-Kate Olsen aged 50 years!

  16. TaylorB says:

    Hello my fellow Minnesotans. You are all right MN, specifically the Cities always rate very high in the healthiest cities in the US. I live right by Isles and the Greenway even in the winter the walking/running paths are busy, the skating rink is packed, and there are cross country skiers all over the lakes and in the summer it is like rush hour out there. The people are fit not fat. But as others have said anyone who doesn’t look like a heroine addict probably looks ‘fat’ to her.

  17. Wow says:


    It always amazes me when a person like her is suppose to be the epitome of fashion and yet … look at her. Beauty charity should begin at home.

    Anna does look dried out, which would be excusable if she lived in Nevada, Arizona or California. But NY? Nah, get your own home in order.

    Both “Ana-rexia” and obesity are bad. One doesn’t top the other, Anna.

  18. AsItIs says:

    Ms. Wintour with her little animal nose, one very wayward eye and her weird snarky little mouth filled with those horrible pebbles she tries to pass off as a set of teeth, not to mention her NEVER changing hair style that probably look totally great on her 20 some odd years ago, has VERY little room to talk so speak of others.

  19. lisa says:

    She may be powerful, but she sure looks creepy. Kind of strange for an editor of one of the most famous fashion mags. You think she would update that hair.

  20. dingaling says:

    I’ve never been to Minnesota but I’ve been to Nebraska and I’ve never seen so many fat people in one place. Living on the north east coast my whole life, I’d never seen anything like it around here. Sad thing too it was working in a hospital. Mostly obese people and tons of smokers.

  21. nony says:

    I was thinking the same thing kiki– does it really matter that you’re a 00 when you’re sporting a bad dutchboy wig up top?

    Her perspective seems a bit out of whack, in general.

    Here’s something for Anna– the next big trend for the summer…

  22. kiki says:

    I know the economy is bad but wearing mens briefs as a sports bra… priceless !!

  23. brianne says:

    **dingaling** I KNOW!! it’s crazy to me how you go to a hospital or urgent care and over half of the staff are extremely overweight/borderline obese and the ashtray outside it full to the brim?! Aren’t these the people that have studied for years the disastrous effects of mistreating ones body? You would think that these people would be the most health concious of all rather than the other way around.

  24. LuLu says:

    I love Anna! Come on, the world would be so much less fun if she and Andre-Leon Talley were not in it. Fashion is escapist and she and her team give you that every month. It’s the same reasoning that I use when I tell you that I hate reality tv, I want the fantasy and escapism. Life can be tough enough.

  25. Cinderella says:

    There is nothing Vogue about that crooked bottom row of teeth.

  26. Ron says:

    Anna and Andre’s day have past. I let my suscription to Vogue expire long ago. They need some new blood at Vogue, some new damn ideas already. It’s boring, it’s been the same magazine repackaged again and again for 20 years. I still get Elle and Harper’s.

  27. Giz says:

    I’m not from Minnesota, but I’ve spent time attending conferences and doing video shoots in Minneapolis and some of the smaller towns around the state. It was one of the few places that where we could find restaurants that served healthy balanced meals during our travels. I have no idea, where Wintour spent her time in Minnesota (if she’s actually spent any time there at all), but it wasn’t in any of the places well spent time in!

    I’ll chalk this up with a bad case of snobbery, igonrance and lack of proper nutrients for proper brain functions due to under-eating. I confess to being originally from NYC and exhibiting a bit a snobbery from time-to-time but even I know better than stoop to regionalized insults.

    Is she the editor that “The Devil Wears Prada” is based on?

  28. morgs says:

    whatever, skinny b*tch looks like she has fetal alcohol syndrome with eyes that far apart. Don’t find her attractive at all.

    And the people in Minnesota are salt of the earth and extremely good looking.I lived there for a few months and absolutely loved it!

  29. Jane says:

    Well, I may be chubby but I can lose weight. She will still be ugly.

  30. jen says:

    her nose looks like a “little house”

  31. ChristinaT says:

    i love oprah, i think she doees good work… but i hate the fact that she’s so damn insecure even though she’s one of the wealthiest and most powerful people in the world… if that stick figure bitch told me to lose weight and i were oprah, i’d fucking bite her head off and then do the photoshoot after making sure people noticed the outline of her ugly face in my stomach like a little hamster that has been swallowed by an anaconda… looking at her ugly anorexic face makes me want to puke. witch.

  32. ChristinaT says:

    and for an anorexic snob, she has quite the double chin…

  33. Carrie says:

    This woman is insane. We Minnesotans are not fat little houses. We are healthy happy people. Something she obviously is not.

  34. the original kate says:

    someone really needs to tell anna wintour that vogue stopped being relevant about 5 years ago.

  35. kelly138 says:

    Anna Wintour is and always has been a silly, silly person. She treats the fashion industry as if it’s on a par with quantum physics.

  36. kelly138 says:

    And as far as her visiting Minnesota, I wonder of she was at the Mall of America. As other commenters have said, MN and the Twin Cities are healthy and sports and outdoorsy stuff are very popular. But a lot of the people I see at the Mall of America do fulfill some unfortunate stereotypes.

  37. Annaisac^nt says:

    What a distorted world this old hag lives in… where people above a size 0/2 are like little houses — I guess that is what someone who is ANOREXIC needs to do to make them feel better about praising their own disease and pushing it onto others. The people in Minnesota are just like everywhere else…. all shapes and sizes and colors. Get over it you insufferable c^nt!

  38. Minnesota born – Sconnie raised. Midwest for life, yo.

    Bitch needs to tone her Coastie elitism and realize that the majority of her constituency in 2009 are overweight “little houses”.

    Vogue stopped being relevant years ago – she’d be eating tap-water ice cubes for lunch (instead of Lauquen brand ice cubes) if it weren’t for those “little houses” copping her swill at the supermarket each month.

    I think I have that same page-boy wig from a Halloween costume back in 2000. Way to be fashion forward, Anna!

  39. KDRockstar says:

    I think the Minnesota part is a hoot (yes, all hail my MN brethren). But the kicker of the story is about Oprah. I cannot *wait* to hear her side of this. She will slap Anna until next Tuesday.

  40. jane says:

    I’m from MN and I have to admit that we do have a lot of overweight people around. They’re everywhere…it’s such a difference when I visit CA or Vegas and there’s a lot of good looking and fit people. The long winter does make a difference, but that shouldn’t be an excuse either. I was shocked when I saw that we were on the healthiest list. I don’t even know how they came up with that.

  41. Mary Stevens says:

    I agree with Dingaling #20 and Jane #40. Whenever I, a slightly overweight New Yorker, land in the Chicago, Cincinnati, etc., airports, I suddenly feel amazingly slim. Overweight and obese women of every age and color predominate. I can’t believe the major chowing down I see going on in restaurants in Midwestern cities. Huge portions, gargantuan eaters. Gag.
    And, I feel, many of you are taking Anna Wintour far too seriously. As the underachiever in her highly educated English family, she’s carved out quite a niche for herself. She may be overdemanding with her staff, but she holds a position of high (and earned) power in the fashion industry and has produced a consistently fine magazine, from her disciplined work. Take her posturing with a grain of salt. She’s actually quite amusing, seen at some distance!

  42. lola lola says:

    60% of this country is fat or obese. Not anywhere near the anorexia statistics. We die early from both diseases. But it is obesity that has run rampant in the last few decades–but it’s not just Minnesota or even the US, the entire world is having an obesity epidemic. England included. My god, the land that invented fried bread should not be pointing a finger at the USA. At least we have discovered dentistry.

  43. voodoobetty says:

    she really needs a new hairstyle. She has had the same look forever.

  44. Chicamorena says:

    Vogue has gone down the tubes since Wintour took it over. They are trying to appeal to a younger readership so they run trash stories like “What Angelina Did Was Very Uncool”. If I want to read that bullshit, I’ll buy a tabloid. When I buy a fashion magazine, I expect it to stick to fashion. I canceled my subscription to Vogue last year.

    British Vogue is a much better magazine. Check it out.

  45. ! says:

    Oh shut up lola. Anorexia can kill in 40 days. Obesity, not so much.

  46. CeeJay says:

    Look, I’m sorry to say it, but there are millions of people living in the U.S. who DO look like “little houses”. It is disgusting and if it takes mean-spirited comments like Wintour’s to draw attention to it, then fine. When my husband and I go to any type of event that’s draws a larger crowd one of the first things we notice is how absurdly over weight the majority of people are. Trust me, neither of us are rail thin, and we have to work at keeping healthy, but it just seems like half the population has said “to hell with it!”, and that is sad.

  47. CeeJay says:

    Oh, and I forgot to add….we live in the Midwest, so maybe that explains the over abundance of “little houses” we see in every crowd that we’re part of!! So embarrassing….so very, very embarrassing

  48. trollydolly says:

    Well guys, no offence meant, but as someone who visits the US regularly from Ireland I have to agree with the little houses comment. The fattest people I have ever seen are Americans. Especially when I went to Disney and saw women in their 30’s who were too fat to walk and were driving around in scooters. I’ve seen that in malls too. I’m a US size 6 myself and don’t consider myself particularly thin but I know when I visit the US I will feel positively anorexic (apart from Los Angeles when I am huge by comparison!)
    Noone likes to feel insulted, but she’s not telling any lies..

  49. barneslr says:

    Well, Trollydolly, then you are a rude and ugly person, as well. See, we know there is an obesity problem. There are problems everywhere and in every country. That’s true. But being smug and superior, as you and Wintour are, is what is ugly. You come here as a guest in our country and then insult us?

    Sorry we aren’t up to your standards. I do trust you will refrain from visiting my country in the future, as we wouldn’t want to offend you with our unattractiveness.

  50. trollydolly says:

    But @49 Barnesir –
    Why can’t I say that alot of people in the US are obese? Why does stating the obvious make me “rude and ugly”? I never called anyone ugly. I just said I see alot of fat people in the US. That’s the unvarnished truth – not an insult, not an attempt to offend or hurt anyone. It’s fact, and I’d want to be blind not to be aware of it on my visits to your lovely country.

  51. ! says:

    Because it assumes no one in “your” country is fat. There are a lot of other countries with high obesity rates that never get the flack. Greece, for one. Hey, why don’t you tell us where you’re from so we can trash all over you with our “observations”/stereotypes.

  52. ! says:

    Oh wait, you said you visit from Ireland. Well I’ve spent time there and was married to an Irishman.

    So just so you know, your country is full of worthless drunks.

    See how it feels?

  53. trollydolly says:

    Oh I’m so wounded! LOL!

  54. Annie says:

    *pats Trollydolly* Don’t worry. Some people on here are just like that.

    Either way, I agree with you. America’s fat. While other countries suffer from malnourishment and death due to lack of food, we have death due to consuming too much food.

    As someone whose extended family (bf’s, sister’s husband’s family) are from MN, I also agree that there are a lot more fat people in MN then say, CA. Every time he visited the gym, no one was in there. There are no people jogging or doing any kind of physical activity. That is not to say that EVERYONE there is fat, but let’s face it, the epicenter of our obesity problem seems to be rooted in the midwest. It’s probably due to the popularity of fourth meal or the fact that everything is fried and buttered, who knows, but for every skinny person I saw in MN, we saw 3 fat ones rolling around. And yes, we were at the Mall of America. BTW, genius idea on the roller coast. lol.

    And agreed Ceejay. I’m not saying go eat a peanut a day and leave it at that, but there are those who just decided to order that whole fried chicken+4 waffles+4 biscuits+butter and all smothered in gravy FOR ONE PERSON, and that’s just nasty.

  55. Are you kidding? says:

    Really? Are you all so obtuse not to realize that Mall of America is a tourist trap that people flock to from across the country, no, the world to go to? Few locals go there. So all these tubbies you think are locals probably are not.

    No one in MN outside getting exercise? Clearly you don’t make it out much when you are here… people are always out walking, running, biking, skiing, etc.

    Obesity is a worldwide problem. It is an American problem. It’s not just localized to one state. Please.

    WIntour is a has been looking for media attention. Thankfully the people of MN are good natured and see her for what she is. Lots of people are getting a great laugh over her and her stupid comments.

  56. LOL says:

    I once went to Cali and noticed a lot of gay people — so everyone in CA must be gay right? Sheeessshhh. Every state has all colors, shapes, and sizes of PEOPLE. Get over it you judgmental loosers.

  57. Are you kidding? says:

    Annie – seriously… most people don’t eat like that. Who are you trying to kid?

  58. Heidi says:

    Wintour must have been at Walmart.

    Heidi from Minnesota.

  59. G. says:

    I live in MN, and i can say with pride that there aren’t nearly as many obese people here as in other states. Anna Wintour needs to shut up and eat a sandwich. She looks starved.

  60. braincandy says:

    I’m an American that lives in England. Trollydolly, I know you weren’t trying to be rude. I totally get what you’re saying and agree. The proportions of food and mentality towards food is so different in the UK. Eating out in England is a reserved for a special occasion, where on the other hand, in the US it’s a 2-4 time weekly deal for a lot of families. That being said, England has the biggest obesity problem in Europe. You don’t have to travel too far to see the problem, trollydolly. It’s in your own back yard. Not being rude, just saying.

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  62. I do love the way you have presented this particular challenge and it does indeed supply me a lot of fodder for consideration. Nonetheless, from just what I have experienced, I basically wish as the actual comments pile on that men and women keep on issue and don’t get started upon a tirade regarding some other news du jour. Yet, thank you for this outstanding piece and although I do not really agree with the idea in totality, I respect your perspective.

  63. annoyed says:

    What about the fact that Anna’s nose could house a mac truck? Point being everyone has imperfections and thou shall not judge.