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From Lagerfeld to Sports Illustrated: An Interview with Crystal Renn

Crystal Renn is the most established model of the rookies having appeared on the pages of Vogue, Elle, Glamour, and Vanity Fair and on runways for Chanel and Jean-Paul Gaultier. After she assessed her eating and dieting habits as a young successful model, Crystal wrote a book called Hungry: A Young Model’s Story of Appetite, Ambition and the Ultimate Embrace of Curves, which lead to a groundbreaking career as a plus-sized model. She has since changed her body through hiking and exercise and traded couture for swimsuits in Sports Illustrated. Here she talks about her love of avant garde fashion and her luxurious beauty secrets.

Modelinia: You have a very unique style. Can you tell us about it?

Crystal: When it comes to style, I like designers that have a little bit of an edge, or a different take on fashion like Gareth Pugh and Ann Demeulemeester. I also really enjoy shape, so Comme des Garçons and Yohji Yamamoto are designers that really appeal to me. I really like Zac Posen for evening, because no one makes a gown like he does.

I think though every day when I get dressed and no one’s going to see me I’m a fan of flannel. I’ve been wearing them since I was a kid and I think it is a very versatile piece, and comfort is incredibly important. I also love a vest—it just adds another layer, another element to an outfit, and it brings a look together. So, I think I like pieces with a silhouette being the most important thing.

Modelinia: You’re known for your porcelain skin. How do you keep it so flawless?

Crystal: Well, I would definitely say that I am an eye cream fiend. I use La Prairie eye cream, not only can you use it as eye cream, did you know you can also use it for the lips? Go there! Be very liberal and just go with it! If you’re desperate for moisturizer, just put it everywhere. That’s my biggest beauty secret. I usually bring a kit to sets, depending on what my skin needs on any given day. I use a lot of La Prairie products, for lift and to take care of pores.

For evening, I love a red lip. No matter where you are or how you’re feeling, if you put on a red lip, I think it gives you a boost that maybe you didn’t have before. I’m a big fan of Chanel and MAC. I think another secret that I really like is that I use eye drops. I’ll put them in my eyes and then when it falls I rub it into my skin. If you have redness it takes it right away.

Modelinia: What about your hair? How do you keep it looking so silky?

Crystal: When it comes to hair I like a shine treatment. When you are shooting, and getting your hair done a lot you can start to lose hair. This adds an extra shine and glow that you need for hair that has been through the works.

Modelinia: Is there any particular kind of music you are into right now?

Crystal:  I really like bluegrass, new age, classical—anything from Marissa Nadler to Texas Gladden or Espers, on a strange day. Also Beethoven and Chopin—I kind of like soundtrack music the most though, because it’s kind of like you can go around your house and there’s just this background music and you just feel like you’re in it.

Modelinia: You’ve been open with the stress that modeling takes on your body. What do you do now for exercise?

Crystal: I just think that if there is anything you don’t want to do, you shouldn’t do it, so I just tried to live by that. What I do enjoy doing is hiking in nature. If I’m feeling stressed, I will go upstate to Woodstock or New Paltz and hike to get rid of stress. I like yoga because it keeps the mind balanced. I like how I feel when I’m doing yoga and it’s also very good to help with modeling—it keeps you flexible and gives you more variety of what you can do on set, so I find that very, very useful. Every time I’m doing yoga I’m not only balancing my mind, but feel I am being professional because it is a part of my job and helps so much. If I’m super stressed and can’t go hiking or do yoga, I’ll go to the gym in my building and do elliptical training.  It’s great because I don’t have a TV so the one time I get to watch TV is in the gym. I’ll have my moment, distress, and that’s it.

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