Supermodel Cindy Crawford recently brought attention to a past incident, accusing Oprah Winfrey of objectifying her during her 1986 appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” The incident was highlighted in the new Apple TV+ documentary series, “The Super Models,” which premiered on Wednesday.
In the said appearance, Crawford was on the show with modeling executive John Casablancas. Oprah, introducing Crawford, asked, “Did she always have this body?” prompting the model to stand up. As Crawford obliged, Winfrey remarked, “Now this is what I call a body!”
Reflections Through Modern Eyes
Looking back at the event, Crawford expressed her discomfort with the situation. “I was like the chattel or a child, like be seen and not heard,” she said. Elaborating further, she mentioned, “When you look at it through today’s eyes when Oprah’s like, ‘Stand up and show me your body,’ like show us why you’re worthy of being here.” At the time, she didn’t immediately recognize the inappropriateness, but reflecting upon it, she realized the extent of it.
Although the incident took place decades ago, current perspectives on objectifying and body-shaming make the clip seem even more cringeworthy to modern viewers. A fuller clip of that moment was once available on Oprah’s YouTube channel but was reportedly removed just hours before the documentary’s release.
Continued Professional Interactions
Despite this contentious moment, both celebrities have been seen in public together in later years. Notably, they were photographed at a New York City event benefiting the Silver Lining Foundation in 2001, suggesting no apparent lingering animosity.
Both HuffPost and The Post reached out to Winfrey’s representative and Crawford for comments on the matter, respectively.
Not an Isolated Incident
Modeling industry practices and media behavior from earlier decades are often viewed critically today. In the same documentary series, John Casablancas, who passed away in 2013, mentioned that Crawford would frequently “pass out” from hunger. “I passed out there more than once,” Crawford reflected. “Especially right before lunch, you pass out and you would faint. And then they would prop you back up and you would do it all over again.”
Such instances aren’t unique to Crawford. Actress Brooke Shields recalls a 1981 interview with Barbara Walters where she was asked about her measurements on national television at just 15. Shields commented on the inappropriate nature of the questions and the overall approach, expressing her dismay at how the press treated young female celebrities.
During an appearance on “The Kelly Clarkson Show” in April, Shields lamented over the treatment she received as a teenager. “The way the press treated us and what was acceptable… was really just unconscionable.” The “Since U Been Gone” singer, Kelly Clarkson, empathized with her, admitting that such lines of questioning stir anger in her.
Challenges in the Fashion World
The modeling industry, while glamorous on the outside, has often been the center of discussions about unrealistic beauty standards, health concerns, and the general treatment of its talent. “The Super Models” delves into these matters, shedding light on the darker side of the runway world.
Health and Beauty Pressures
One significant aspect the series highlights is the immense pressure models face to maintain specific body sizes and types. As noted by Crawford’s experience of fainting from hunger, many models underwent extreme diets and faced health risks in the name of beauty and the demands of the industry.
Objectification and Scrutiny
Furthermore, as demonstrated by Crawford’s Oprah incident and Shield’s interview with Walters, models, and young actresses often faced objectification, reducing their worth to their physical appearances. The media’s role in perpetuating this narrative becomes more apparent when viewed through the lens of today’s more enlightened and inclusive perspective on body image and female representation.
Where to Watch
For those interested in the full insights from supermodels of the past, “The Super Models” documentary is currently available to stream on Apple TV+. The series offers a deeper look into the lives of Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, and Christy Turlington, providing valuable reflections on their paths to fame and the challenges they faced in the limelight.