As Calista and Courteney drop dress sizes, the ''Suddenly Susan'' star refuses to waste away

By Liane Bonin
Updated August 24, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT
Brooke Shields
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Call it the ’90s version of ”The Incredible Shrinking Woman.” With stars like Calista Flockhart, Courteney Cox, Helen Hunt, and Jennifer Aniston dramatically whittling down their weights, the latest body-morphing goal for actresses to strive for is ”lollipop syndrome,” a term used to describe a woman so thin her head is bigger than her body. It’s a phrase ”Suddenly Susan” star Brooke Shields doesn’t find so sweet. ”On network television especially, everyone is a third my size,” says the six-foot-tall actress, whose sitcom will soon begin its fourth season. ”It unsettles me. I don’t want to be constantly pressured to be skinny.”

Shields hopes her healthier approach to life will influence women who may be swayed to follow in Flockhart’s teensy-weensy footsteps. ”I love to exercise, I love to dance, I love to eat, and I love to not worry so much about the exterior,” says the 34-year-old actress. But maintaining a positive body image in Hollywood isn’t easy. ”When I’m in New York, I feel like people are more interested in what you have to say than how you look. But I know I worry more about how I look when I’m in Los Angeles. You go into stores and they say, ‘We don’t have anything larger than a six.’ And you think, what planet do you live on? And, unfortunately, people are making themselves fit into these clothes.”

Shields, who takes kick boxing and dance classes to stay in shape, realizes not everyone will appreciate her reality-based measurements. ”You just know when you leave the house that people are going to be saying something about you,” she says. ”And it’s what you do in that moment that I think is really defining. If I can focus on that as a role model, I’d be happy to do so.” Now, if she would only send Courteney Cox a big box of brownies…

Suddenly Susan

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