You may not know who Lily Allen is, but I’ll bet you can empathize with her predicament. Lily Allen, 22 year old rising singer/songwriter from the UK had the unfortunate timing of launching her new clothing line Lily Loves at the same time Kate Moss was unveiling her own new line. The media naturally drew comparisons, but they went further than just discussing fashion and printed pictures of both women side by side for the public to weigh in on their appearance.
"As far as I was concerned," says Lily (a ‘whopping’ size 8) about her clothing line, "I was trying to do something positive, you know, promote women of a larger size and make people feel better about their physical appearance. But there were all these photos of me next to Kate and it made me feel a bit sh*t about myself. I felt grotesque. Everyone knows that Kate is one of the most beautiful women in the world and everyone was comparing me directly with her, and I was like ‘wait a second, how did this happen." (Celebrity Gossip Fashion Blog, 2007).
Despite her talent, rising success, and commitment to change the fashion world’s size 0 culture, the public scrutiny momentarily shook Lily to the core. While touring the US to promote her Alright, Still album, Lily vented in her MySpace blog about how horrible her body image had become and that she was even considering gastric bypass surgery and liposuction.
"In retrospect, maybe I shouldn’t have done it but I’m actually quite glad I did," she explains. "It’s good to be honest and say what’s on your mind. I think the whole thing highlighted the issues and pressures of being a young woman in today’s society."
A deluge of almost 3,000 comments of support letting Lily know that she was beautiful just the way she was prompted her to apologize to her fans the next day.
"It was just a stupid thing that crossed my mind at that minute," she is quoted as saying. "It’s not how I feel now. There’s nothing wrong with the way I look. I’m not overweight. I’m just not really, really thin. I don’t feel that I over-eat, I’m just not someone who wants to live on a diet.”
I hear that Lily Allen’s fan base is growing exponentially. Count me in. Obviously her popularity is not only based on her music and style, but her ability to express herself in genuine lyrics and through candid interviews. I applauder you, Lily, for promoting self-acceptance instead of conforming to unrealistic and often unattainable standards of beauty.
"I’d rather encourage people who are reading all this stuff in the newspapers and magazines that they shouldn’t feel bad about themselves." Lily Allen told reporters. "Everyone looks fine."