Kate Winslet is suing London’s Daily Mail for libel, claiming her personal and professional reputation was damaged by a story in which the newspaper accused her of being disingenuously casual about her diet and workout routine. In a story headlined, “Should Kate Winslet Win the Oscar for Most Irritating Actress,” the British paper mocked Winslet for downplaying the work it takes to stay svelte when she told Elle magazine, “I don’t go to the gym because I don’t have time. But I do Pilates workouts on DVD for 20 minutes or more every day at home.”
While the bitterness behind most gotcha journalism makes me pucker and cringe, in this case I feel like it’s about time somebody called B.S. on all the super-skinny actresses who insist they eat like lumberjacks and never get off the couch. It’s ironic that Winslet would be the target of such truth-telling, since she has spent much of her career painting herself as an iconoclast and speaking out against the pressure on Hollywood stars become stick-figures. In EW’s 2006 cover story, she made it a point of pride to reveal that Emma Thompson made her promise never to stop eating and telling anecdotes about ordering pudding for dessert. All this made us love her for not buying into the typical beauty myth and validating a woman’s right to curves.
But, it turns out that that kind of advocacy only works if the person doing it has the voluptuous body to back it up. It has been a while since Winslet was anything but streamlined. And at this point, it might be refreshing if she’d just cop to wanting to cut a super-fit figure and working her butt off to achieve her abs of steel. That might actually make her a healthier role model for the girls and women who use screen goddesses as a sure fire way to feel crummy about themselves.
Wouldn’t the world of celebrity obsession be slightly less toxic if stars came clean about the actual money, effort, and time it takes to look so ravishing? I wonder why it’s considered such a career-killing taboo to unravel the myth of ease and effortlessness that shrouds the rich and famous. I remember how impressed and relieved I was during an interview with Julianne Moore years ago when she rifled through her purse for a piece of candy and said, “One of the toughest things about being an actress is that we’re hungry all the time.” If it’s about being loved and worshipped, I’m always more interested in stories of struggle and effort rather than the prodigies and natural-born virtuosos.
So, PopWatchers, do you think there was some validity to the Daily Mail‘s criticism of Kate’s haphazard workout routine? Or do you think she’s justified in defending her right to claim she doesn’t work out and she’s completely comfortable with her naturally slim physique? Go ahead, weigh in.