Nina Agdal’s cover photo was pulled by a magazine because she was not ‘in top shape’

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I know Nina Agdal, 25, because she used to date Leonardo DiCaprio until she aged out of the DiCaprio Girlfriend Experience (© Kaiser) early last Spring. I suspect a lot of women date DiCaprio for the name recognition, but I digress. She’s known as a Victoria’s Secret model and she earned some headlines and likely got some gigs after dating DiCaprio.

Anyway Nina is getting some minor press now because she was pulled from a magazine’s planned cover story for not being “in top shape.” More on that in a moment. She posted a message to Instagram in which she’s looking incredibly fit and is nude from the wait up with an arm over her breasts. (Our advertisers don’t like it when we show strategic nudity so you can see that photo on Instagram.) That was the photo that the magazine wouldn’t use. I’m just putting some of the text below.

Today, I’m disappointed and appalled at the still very harsh reality of this industry. A few months ago, I agreed to shoot with a creative team I believed in and was excited to collaborate with.

When my agent received an unapologetic email concluding they would not run my cover/story because it “did not reflect well on my talent” and “did not fit their market,” the publisher claimed my look deviated from my portfolio and that I did not fit into the (sample size) samples, which is completely false. If anyone has any interest in me, they know I am not an average model body – I have an athletic build and healthy curves.

[From Instagram via People]

She went on to write that she has very bad social anxiety and that she took a year off from modeling while dealing with that and the unrealistic body standards in her industry. This was her first experience trying to work again after her time off. She also wrote that she varies from a size 4 to a 6 and that “I am not built as a runway model and have never been stick thin.”

Nina was on the Megyn Kelly show yesterday to talk about this. You can see her interview below. I was really impressed with her actually, she explained the situation clearly and convincingly. Venice Magazine (which I’ve never heard of) the publication which denied her a cover,issued a statement claiming that the issue was about the quality of the photos, however Nina quickly shot that down. Megyn had a copy of the email that Venice mag sent Nina, which read “We would love to revisit the possibility of a printed cover when she is back in top shape.

Here’s Venice’s statement, which would be convincing on its own but again Nina has the receipts.

We think Nina Agdal is a beautiful and extremely talented model. That is why she was the focus of a ten-page story published in our Winter issue… Regarding the cover, while the images from the shoot were lovely, they did not yield one that we felt worked as the print cover. To clarify our choice, it had nothing to do with how Ms. Agdal looks in a bathing suit – her physique is enviable by any criteria.

We wished to use an image from that shoot for our digital cover (the cover promoted on our website) but her agent declined. Further, when we made the decision to run the feature without the cover, we suggested doing another story with a possible cover for 2018 where Nina would be both model and subject, giving her a platform to discuss her experience, interests and the causes that she champions. This was communicated to her agent in writing.

[From Venice Mag via Today video]

Nina countered that “There is physical proof in an email them saying that I look deviated [sic] from my portfolio, that I did not fit into the sample sizes, that I basically look too big.” Megyn got all indignant about it, and so did Nina understandably. Nina said that women can’t relate to these very small models and that the sample sizes are tailored to be even smaller than size zero. She knows models who are a size 2 who are told to lose weight for jobs.

While I don’t have a lot of sympathy for Nina personally, I came away from her interview championing her cause. She’s athletic and enviably fit and yet she’s getting pushback for that. She has the kind of figure I would like to see regularly in ads. She told Megyn that when this happened to her she “felt personally attacked. I was like, ‘You know what? I can’t take this anymore. I got to stand up for all the girls and women out there.’ I can’t be a part of this big lie and this perception game that’s going on. I’m just not going to participate in that anymore.” She made the point that these unrealistic body standards are “everywhere” and in every magazine.

Here’s Nina’s interview. At 4:02 they show the original photo and the retouched photo. Nina also confirmed that she’s dating Jack Cook, Christie Brinkley’s son, and said that Christie is supportive of her. Megyn is ridiculous throughout this interview and in general, but again I’m on board with Nina’s message.

Obviously having the worst time ever x 2

A post shared by Nina Agdal (@ninaagdal) on

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photos credit: WENN and via Instagram/Nina Agdal

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43 Responses to “Nina Agdal’s cover photo was pulled by a magazine because she was not ‘in top shape’”

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  1. trollontheloose says:

    so they wanted someone who looked like the model for Victoria Beckham.. Be sticky thin “it’s not about you its about the accessories, dahlin. ‘: do they expect every model to weigh less than a dress or bikini?

    • Rhys says:

      «Victoria Section skinny” – that’s what I thought when I saw the pix, that they wanted someone rail thinyet muscly. So effing sick f sick of that “look”. Victoria Secret should be hanged for ever suggesting to the public that that is what beautiful is and nothing else. Those people are criminals.

  2. M says:

    She is super skinny!

  3. Lucy says:

    F*ck them and their f*cking non-existing standards.

  4. Ankhel says:

    Somewhere, Leo shuddered and said: See? This is why there’s a cut off date!

  5. SilverUnicorn says:

    I wish that, as customers, we would stop buying those magazines and sent them bankrupt, as they deserve.

    Never heard of her before but I would have died to have her body in the past.
    This trend needs to be shut down. It’s unrealistic and at this point stupid and dangerous.

    • Wren says:

      I don’t buy them anymore. I used to, but then I realized that I wasn’t actually enjoying them and would come away feeling bad about myself because I didn’t look like ANYONE in the pictures and never would. It was insidious, though. I didn’t really realize it until I saw modelling photos of Ashley Gram, who looks a helluva lot more like me than any model I’ve ever seen, and thought “yes! *this* is what I want to see”. It sounds silly, but the experience of actually seeing my body type (or much closer to my body type) represented cast everything in a new light. I looked at the magazines and thought, “these are not for me”, and stopped buying them. If they come to the house (unbidden), I throw them away unopened. Life is better.

  6. Millenial says:

    She looked amazing in that photo! Her stomach was completely flat! Crikey.

  7. Sarah says:

    It’s weird to me that Nina and Megyn are both wearing the same color blue dress and white heels in Nina’s interview. Just an aside.

  8. KBB says:

    She’s got a killer body. We need to see more of her body type. Lately magazines do 99% Karlie Kloss type models and a single stunt photo shoot with someone like Ashley Graham. If they just regularly sprinkled in some size 6 women that look athletic and healthy, we wouldn’t all have such twisted body image issues. But they insist on going XS and one XL so they can claim diversity of body types.

    • HK9 says:

      THIS. I’m still trying to get my head around the fact that they think that’s not in top shape. Photos put on weight so, these people are out of their minds. They keep trying to portray a woman that doesn’t exist. SMH

    • Ladyellismp says:

      For a while, karlie was Photoshopped to be bigger. Jezebel had a piece showing the changes and it was so, so ridiculous.

      • Deets says:

        From what I remember, she wasn’t photoshopped larger, she was photoshopped to remove obvious signs of low weight, like jutting ribs.

    • OriginalLala says:

      I get what you’re saying about mags only ever including one larger model – I’ve heard from alot of my plus-size friends that they really wished the larger models weren’t always just perfect hourglasses and included more body diversity, and frankly the same thing is to be said about straight size models – women come in all types of bodies, why can’t the fashion world accept that?

    • Maria F. says:

      I totally agree. I always tell my 16 year old niece, that it is not about being skinny, but about being fit and toned.

  9. Tiffany says:

    Nina’s interview should have been in the morning show. This would have been a better fit with Hoda or Savannah.

    TPTB just need to cut their loses and realize Kelly lacks warmth and empathy to the point of a sociopath.

    • Maria F. says:

      i totally agree. She over enunciates everything and is so aggressive. I could never feel at ease during an interview with her.

  10. Joy says:

    The real story is that Leo dated someone who is (slightly) above sample size.

  11. Me says:

    GET another job that doesnt kill your spirit girl

  12. What's Inside says:

    This is part of the insanity that women are made to feel inadequate by current fashion standards.

  13. Laur says:

    She looks a similar size to me so in a way I’m not surprised they said what they did, but it’s appalling that the standard is so warped and twisted. It sickens me.

  14. Reef says:

    Yes, she looks great. Yes she’s fit and thin, but I understand why they didn’t use her at her current weight for the swimsuit cover.

  15. Bailie says:

    Unfortunately, many women are part of the problem, because they support unrealistic expectations of what a female body looks like by purchasing these magazines.
    I’m a very thin woman of medium height, my family is also very thin, so I guess genetics are big part of it, but I find curvy, athletic and toned women very attractive.
    I refuse to buy these magazines until they show images of variety of female body types. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I find curvier, toned and athletic women gorgeous.
    I have friends that are curvy and toned (not obese) and I would like to see their body types celebrated in magazines, films and in digital content.

  16. Lucy says:

    She looks great but she just doesn’t a bikini model body at all .

    • Valois says:

      You do realize that “looking like a bikini model” is a completely arbitrary definition and can (and should be) expanded?

    • Cine says:

      @lucy. Wow. What about her body doesn’t seem bikini fit to you?

    • amilu says:

      Seriously? She looks like the very definition of a bikini model to me. Bikini models aren’t runway models with dead eyes and no muscle tone.

    • Rhys says:

      And what IS a bikini body to you, @Lucy?

    • Veronica says:

      What does a bikini model look like? I’m really curious, not being snarky. Cause in my view, a bikini model is curvier rather than stick thin.

  17. KISA says:

    Another aside, but the first commercial during the break in the Megyn Kelly interview was for Weight Watchers

  18. Bebe says:

    I think the problem is her face, unfortunately…she’s simply not very photogenic. Her body is phenomenal.

    • Ange says:

      I agree. Her body is certainly phenomenal but the photo itself is blah. I wouldn’t use it either really.

  19. gabbie says:

    she has a sports illustrated body, not a victoria’s secret body or high fashion body. years ago erin heatherton decided not to renew her victorias secret contract because they wanted her to drop more weight. she went on to pose for sports illustrated instead. the standards for these girls vary and it’s sad that so many publications want them so rail thin.

    • Millenial says:

      I actually suspect this might be part of why Rosie H-W doesn’t work with Vickie’s anymore either. That and she wanted to start her own lingerie line.

  20. kiko says:

    Not in top shape? For real? She is very fit. No excuse that is. Btw.: Anything that isn’t perfect in a model’s photographs will simply get photoshopped. So why not her?

  21. Pandy says:

    Sorry but her facial expression was terrible in the jeans picture. I wouldn’t have run it either. Not shedding any tears over Nina losing a cover.

  22. SK says:

    She looks incredible

    On an aside, your advertisers sound a bit purintanical, I don’t like it

  23. NayNay says:

    I would love to have a body like hers. Are they insane!! What a-holes.

  24. Nikki says:

    I for one would like to see a real woman who is really too heavy. I mean in the media, not just the mirror.