Brooke Shields: ‘I was always considered the athletic one, that translated into big’

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Brooke Shields did a cover interview and photoshoot for Health Magazine, and they put her in various white and cream shirts and cover-ups over just her underwear. It works, I think, in that it puts the emphasis on her classic look. She’s 52 now so of course they ask her about aging, but to be fair she brought it up first. It’s also ealth, so they talk about fitness and exercise. Personally I love to talk about those things, that’s why I cover these type of stories. I know that it’s not something you can bring up in random conversation or post incessantly to Facebook about because it’s similar to talking about celebrity gossip, you only bring it up when it’s a welcome topic, you know? Brooke is into fitness and trying new things, and it sounds like she also has a balanced approach to her diet, which is nice to hear. She’s not giving up entire food groups or going too low calorie and that shows in how great she looks. Here’s some of what she told Health:

On accepting her body:
Well, for years, stylists insisted on bringing me sample [sizes]. Insisted! And then finally one day I said to my publicist, “I want you to tell them that unless they want to make me feel bad or make me cry”—because it’s slightly limiting and you feel it’s your fault—”then stop bringing me sample sizes!” Then the next thing they say is, “Oh, don’t worry! We’ll leave it all open in the back, and we can cut it.” I’m like, “That makes me feel so confident, with big clamps and things sewn into it.” I’m like, maybe I can act, but I’m not a magician! I was always considered the athletic one, and that translated into big. I was the big one. Thankfully, so many more body types are accepted these days.

She doesn’t deny herself foods
We’ve been taught, “Deny yourself pleasure.” But moderation is harder because it requires really committing to balance. I find that if I say, “I’m not gonna eat ice cream” or “I’m not gonna drink,” all I want to do is drink and eat ice cream. It’s some kind of psychological battle. When I tell my trainer I had a glass of wine, he’ll say, “Liquid bread!” And I’m like, “Ugh, but it was a nice one.”

She’s trying to avoid back surgery
I’ve had to enter into a very sort of rigorous rehabilitation program to avoid surgery on my back. I’ve already had four surgeries on my feet and two on my knee—all from Broadway dancing injuries. On Broadway, they don’t really rehab the dancers like they do in sports. It’s, “The show must go on.“ Maybe you’ll get five minutes with a physical therapist, or they’ll get someone to come in and tape you with kinesiology tape, which is what I sort of lived on for a long time.

[From Health]

Just like Brittany Snow recently said, it’s unfortunate that there’s such a distinction in Hollywood between “athletic” and “thin.” (Although of course Snow is thin.) I know those are separate body types and that they do look different, but the aesthetic needs to be widened beyond just thin vs. athletic and to also accommodate larger women. All women (and men) can be leads in movies, but as we’ve seen over the past few months especially, the men who are calling the shots are putting up so many barriers to women’s stories, and to women succeeding, that it’s no wonder that only one type is considered ideal and we’ve internalized these harmful ideas about our bodies.




Photos credit: Health Magazine

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41 Responses to “Brooke Shields: ‘I was always considered the athletic one, that translated into big’”

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  1. Alix says:

    That top pic is — what, a glamour shot of her crotch? The middle shot after the article would’ve been a far better choice.

  2. Whoopsy Daisy says:

    Does anyone find abstinence easier than moderation? The thing that finally helped me lose weight and live healthier was realising that I find cutting certain things easier than eating just a bit. I don’t crave ice cream when I don’t have it, but I start craving it when I have a bit. Having a slice of pizza or a piece of chocolate is worse than having none at all.

    • Georgie says:

      I absolutely find abstinence easier – once I “break the seal” it is so much harder to resist – we won’t talk about my mini peanut butter cup escapade yesterday… they were delicious but after that first one s**t got out of hand. ;)

    • LT says:

      I’m that way with sugar – I give up all sugar once a year and once I’ve gotten through the initial cravings (it takes about two weeks), I don’t want it at all. “Moderation” means a steady flow of chocolate all day long – it’s all or nothing for me with sweets.

    • babykitten says:

      Abstinence is easier for me, but then I have some compulsive issues with eating. I was never Bulimic, as I never vomited. But I used to binge, and I still like the feeling of being stuffed. If there’s only one piece of candy, I’d rather have none at all. And if there’s a whole bag of candy, particularly those that are pure sugar (smarties, skittles), I can think of nothing but the fact that they are there.

      • Amy Tennant says:

        Me definitely. I hate it, but it’s a lot easier for me not to have the first bite of cake than it is to have a small slice and not eat half the cake afterwards. I do best with elimination diets or at least something very regimented like weight watchers where I have to keep track of everything. If I eat that first piece of candy, watch out.

    • sa says:

      I’m the opposite, if I don’t have ice cream or chocolate, I won’t stop thinking about it, until finally (especially if I have to go out and buy some) I’ll eat way more than I should. But, if I always have it in the house, I can have a bite when I start to think about it, and it will satisfy my craving.

    • KiddVicious says:

      I’m a sugar addict. I have two Ben & Jerry’s containers in the freezer right now that have been there for a few months. I’m fine with them there, but if I were to have just one bite of anything sugar I would end up eating both of those containers in one sitting. Any type of sugar can send me into a binge, even fruit. But oddly enough, not wine.

      • Pandy says:

        Me too! Total binger except for wine. I binge that for other reasons lol. If sugar is there, I eventually cave and then why have one piece when you can eat until you feel sick? Can’t keep it in the house really.

        Brooke looks lovely. Ugly bathing suit on the cover, but SHE looks great!

  3. Nancy says:

    My husband hasn’t reached 40 quite yet, but he just loves Brooke Shields. It always makes me laugh when we see her on tv or somewhere and I look at him….really? All the young stars and my husband swoons over Brooke. Probably saw the nothing comes between me and my Calvins commercials! lol

    • babykitten says:

      I loved Brooke when I was a kid, and I still have the postcard she sent me after I wrote her a fan letter. I don’t think much of her acting, but I admire how she overcame her childhood, and an alcoholic mother who let her pre-pubescent child become sexualized, and then sent a young Brooke out to defend herself.

    • INeedANap says:

      I think the current beauty trends are more about the cutesy, girly doll faces, like Selena Gomez types. Brooke Shields has such a womanly elegance about her. If that’s his type then it makes sense.

      • Nancy says:

        Yep you got it. He has a type, Jennifer Connelly, Liv Tyler, all these older brunettes. I am blonde, wonder if I should worry, Ha!

  4. KBeth says:

    I like Brooke, always have. She’s never looked Hollywood, rail thin to me…just healthy & naturally beautiful.
    Seems incredibly well adjusted despite that bat shit crazy mother.

  5. Snowflake says:

    I was pretty thin (for me) and then one gf mentioned how I wasn’t skinny. Dating, I encountered guys who were into petite women. I’m only 5 ft 5 but I was too big for them. When I met my husband, he kept telling me to stop doing cardio so much and do toning instead. I was like, no,I’m gonna get fat. But he was right. I started counting calories. I try not to eat over 2000 calories a day. I’m really happy with how I look now.

  6. LT says:

    I love her – while she’s in good shape, she has a healthy and relatable body (look at her arms – they are toned, but not those pin thin arms you either have or you don’t).

    • Betsy says:

      Absolutely. I’ll never actually be able to attain Brooke’s body (laziness, height, and having been overweight for a long time), but she looks attainable. Perfect, but attainable. I would dearly love to see this kind of aspirational body become the one we see in magazines again.

      • G says:

        Heartily agree with both of you. I know that ‘health’ doesn’t always look the same, but she really does look so healthy and balanced. Definitely agree that this should be the focus. I honestly wouldn’t mind if the media pushed this sort of image.

  7. babykitten says:

    You’d never know that Brooke was a successful model with that awful cover. Every other picture is vastly superior.

  8. Myhairisfullofsecrets says:

    I was just watching her episode of Friends last night. When she was having dinner with Joey, I noticed how broad her shoulders are so I see what she’s talking about. I think she just has a more naturally muscular body than most women. (I do too) It’s not a bad thing at all. She’s clearly beautiful and successful. I’ve always thought she is stunning.

    • Charlie says:


      Can I add to your statement?: “I think she just has a more naturally muscular body than most women” – IN HOLLYWOOD. I would love it if we could stop using dangerously underweight actresses as standards of beauty. Brooke looks great!

    • Shiba says:

      She’s 6″ tall & has a proportionate frame. Wasn’t a fully matured woman when she was modeling for CK.

  9. Mishka says:

    The first photo is distracting. It looks like she is about to shoot herself in the head because everyone is looking at her crotch!!!

  10. Adele Dazeem says:

    I also think the Hollywood ideal of small framed women is influenced by the often diminutive size of the leading men…

  11. Other Renee says:

    I love Brooke and think she’s gorgeous. My problem with the cover photo is that she’s basically wearing what looks like an adult onesie. Not a great look. The rest of the photos are really nice.

  12. KiddVicious says:

    I’ve heard Brooke is one of the nicest people around. And she’s always had the best hair. I would love to hang out, drink wine and gossip with her, I’m sure she has some of the best Studio 54 stories.

  13. Mary says:

    I always wondered if she had a larger frame than the small boned, underweight women in Hollywood, and she’s finally come out and said it – sort of. It has nothing to do with weight. I am a large framed woman, and my skeleton alone is larger than model types. Add muscle and skin and I am bigger than than a size 10! A lot of harm has been done by the media and its depiction of the ideal thin woman.

    • Shirurusu says:

      I’m the same! I come from a family of very athletic men (who did sports for a living) and I’ve inherited their very broad shoulders and muscular body type. As a young girl I was always told I was big boned and I hated hearing it, but now that I’m older I don’t care, I have use for those muscles in my line of work! :) It’s just hard to find clothing sizes that fit sometimes, my feet are pretty huge too… ;)

  14. Coolio says:

    I have her frame too and I’m also tall (5’ 10”). No matter what I did I couldn’t get the numbers on the scale as low as my smaller friends. I used to beat myself up over this. I was a size 10 in high school and I didn’t realize it then but I looked fantastic!!! I wish I could go back and hold my head up high and wear a damn bikini! But since the numbers weren’t “right” I loathed my body. I looked great for my frame. I wish I’d known.

    I remember hearing an interview a long time ago, probably her Suddenly Susan days where an actress told a story about a time her tall daughter met Brooke for the first time and Brooke hugged her daughter and said “Isn’t it wonderful to be tall?” The actress said her daughter’s face brightened and she stood up tall and she said her daughter carried herself differently after that day. I was a young teenager when I heard that story and it had the same effect on me. I’ve been a bigger fan of Brooke ever since.

    • jetlagged says:

      Same here. Growing up with my friends I always felt like a Clydesdale standing next to race horses. There is nothing about me that will ever be delicate or dainty, and chances are I will be taller than 80% of everyone in any given room I walk into. No amount of diet or exercise will ever change that. It took me a long time to come to terms with that, but I’m finally there.