(From Left: Kimora on the red carpet last year, Kimora this month after losing 25 pounds)

The fashion industry has long been scrutinized for its portrayal of unhealthy body images. Models are encouraged to be rail thin and though a few designers go against the grain each season, their ideas are not industry-wide.

Kimora Lee Simmons has been an internationally-known powerhouse in the fashion industry for years and has managed to stay in amazing shape after the births of her three children. Her former clothing line, Baby Phat, and signature brand, KLS, have always featured curvier models so it comes as a shock to hear that she has lost 25 pounds in the last year by allegedly not eating.

Here are excerpts from her statement on weight loss to Popeater:

“I have shed the fat by not eating, but I don’t like to tell the kids that so they think they shouldn’t eat. No, I watch my portions, and I eat leaner proteins and vegetables and stuff like that.[…]So I woke up this morning and ordered breakfast at 4 AM. I had egg whites scrambled, spinach, turkey bacon and a glass of orange juice. The reason I had such a big breakfast is because I hadn’t eaten in two days. I’ve had fruit, I’ve had a smoothie, I’ve had a protein bar, but it’s not like I’ve had Doritos…I was out one night with two famous sisters when a bunch of burgers were being passed around. I went to grab one and the two of them looked shocked. They said ‘we don’t eat.’ Then after I grabbed a burger they said they were joking but I knew they weren’t!”

Anyone who has worked in the fashion industry knows that most editors and models live on a diet of cigarettes and Diet Coke but Kimora never seemed like the type. Also, someone of her stature could easily hire the best personal trainers and dieticians around. And most importantly, she is the mother of three children. In a world where the pressure is so great to fit a thin standard of beauty, she should certainly try to be a role model for her two young daughters.

Her statement also begs the question: who are the two famous sisters that she is referring to? The rumor is Angela and Vanessa Simmons, which would mean that another set of role models are also exhibiting some pretty irresponsible behavior.

Naturally, Kimora retracted the Popeater statement, accusing it of being sensationalized for the media:

“I just wanted to take a moment to address a story about my recent weight loss that began circulating today. This story led people to believe that I shed 25 lbs. (pounds) by not eating, which is completely ridiculous. I am a mother of three young children, two of whom are girls and I’m trying to raise them with a healthy body image. It’s taken me almost a year to lose close to 25 lbs. and I did it through healthy diet and exercise. So yes, I’m a bit smaller, but still curvy and healthy and proud of my body and the time it has taken me to undergo this personal journey for myself. I’m not one of those ‘superstar moms’ who lost all their baby weight in a week. So, yes, I’m upset about the innuendo because I just can’t win. In the past year there have been numerous rumors about my weight – first I was attacked for being a size 10, now I’m anorexic? I’m a real woman and I represent real women. I believe that people are beautiful at any size, color or weight. The way this article was promoted is unfortunate – what a silly way to sensationalize a story, especially when you know young people will be reading it…There must be more accountability in reporting, especially considering the far reaching impact on girls and young women who are exposed to this kind of misleading information on a daily basis. What kind of example is that setting for them?”

So which is true? Does Kimora Lee Simmons have an eating disorder and is it a by-product of the pressure on female celebrities to lose weight? Is this a widespread issue with African-American women in the fashion, beauty and entertainment industries or just one woman trying to do what she can to “look good”? Should we be worried about the message this is sending to adolescent girls everywhere who might be looking up to her as a role model? Should we even believe any of it?

-Faith Cummings

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  • Emelyne

    She was obviously joking and the author of this post ran with it. Anorexia, unlike bulimia (which can pass for normal thin) isn’t a disease that one can hide for long. Also, I don’t know where she’s getting her info, but models do not live on cigarettes and Diet Coke; assuming things do not make them real, duh! Very few young models smoke anymore because of how it ages people and most won’t even touch a soda and only drink water and occasional wine. As for food, many of these women can afford organic, vegan, vegetarian and/or macrobiotic meals and personal trainers and that’s usually what they get if they are not naturally waifish. This article is yet another example of women feeling that it’s acceptable to speculate on a thin woman’s secret to thinness instead of motivating themselves to eat right and exercise. Anyone who doesn’t think this is an excuse to iick on thin women, ask yourself: When is the last time anyone speculated exactly why Gabourey Sidibe or Amber Riley are so obese or even called them obese? Kimora looks healthy and she shouldn’t have to defend her weight loss or tell anyone what she eats, o one makes overweight celebs admit to eating crap, so leave her alone and be happy that she’s healthy.

    • Young models from third world countries usually don’t have much money to pay for expensive meal plans or organic food. Some of those girls are eating very little. Now since the industry has shifted to a more healthy look sort of, models are begining to look natural again.

  • PeaceCory

    If it took her a year to loss 25 lbs, then she is perfectly healthy. I can see how the comments she made could be misconstrued by an industry infatuate with finding fault in others, but I can also see how it was just a flippant comment that – in everyday conversation between friends – would not have been taken to the extreme which reporters and media took it. I think that she is being a good role model by talking about the food she IS eating and how yummy it can be to eat healthy.

    Then she also talked about “splurging” one night while out on a hamburger and obviously did not approve of the sisters who stated they did not eat. One bad thing the media (including this article) did with that statement was to speculate on who “the sisters” are: Ms. Simmons was not trying to gossip about particular people, she was trying to make a statement while being vague on who she was talking about because, in this case, IT DOESN’T MATTER WHO THEY WERE. I really wish the media would start trying to focus on the positive – maybe THAT is who needs to be a good role model in the first place.

    • I agree with that statement. If she lost 25 lbs in one year, she’s pretty healthy.

  • Brooke

    I get that many of you think it’s a joke but in my opinion, Kimora is such a powerful figure in the fashion industry, which has a long, well-documented history of models battling with anorexia and even dying from it, that she should have been a lot more responsible when talking to the media. And several models do smoke and engage in unhealthy eating habits like the cotton ball diet (not an assumption! many industry insiders including me knew about it long before it was published in Celeste’s book), there’s even another article on this site about it. It really isn’t something to take lightly and Kimora should know better as a public figure, designer and mother of two girls. No excuses.

  • lilkunta

    Kimora Lee SIMMONS? Isnt she “married” to uber sexy Djimon Hounsou?
    So be Kimora Lee or Kimora Lee Hounsou.
    Kimora you are very well known now so you dont need to hold on to Russell’s name anymore.

  • Who cares?

    I dont understand why people in the media concern themselves with everyones weight except their own. They go through obssessions in hollywood. I am not concerned with how skinny or plus sized someone else is. There are more things to worry about than that.