She’s told millions of women not to succumb to societal pressure to be thin, but Oprah Winfrey couldn’t help but shed the pounds after Vogue editor Anna Wintour told her to get skinny for the cover of the magazine.
Even though the shoot was back in 1998, the revelation is sure to come as a surprise to Oprah’s army of female fans who have looked up to the famously curvy Queen of Chat as an inspiration when dealing with their own weight.
Wintour revealed in an American TV show that she advised the famous talk show host to drop 20lb in order to grace the cover of the ‘fashion bible’.
‘It was a very gentle suggestion,’ said Wintour, laughing. ‘I went to Chicago to visit Oprah, and I suggested that it might be an idea that she lose a little bit of weight. I said simply that you might feel more comfortable. She was a trouper!’
Fat chance: Vogue editor Anna Wintour told Oprah Winfrey to shed 20lbs if she wanted to appear on the cover of Vogue
Oprah, now 55, took the fashion legend advice by going on a rigorous diet and exercise regime and she was later featured on the cover ago with the tagline: ‘Oprah! A Major Movie, An Amazing Makeover.’
The movie referred to was Beloved, which was based on a novel by author Toni Morrison about a former African-American slave visited by the ghost of her dead daughter.
Referring to how Oprah responded to her weight loss advice Wintour said on the unaired segment on last Sunday’s American TV show 60 minutes: ‘She totally welcomed the idea, and she went on a very stringent diet. It was one of our most successful covers ever.’
Oprah, who has famously struggled with her weight for years, recently said: ‘My goal isn’t to be thin. My goal is for my body to be the weight it can hold—to be strong and healthy and fit, to be itself.
‘My goal is to learn to embrace this body and to be grateful every day for what it has given me.’
But the star also showed that although she preaches that women should embrace and accept themselves, she still struggles with her image.
‘Here I stand, 40lb heavier than I was in 2006 (Yes, you’re adding correctly; that means the dreaded 2-0-0.lbs),’ she said recently. ‘I’m mad at myself. I’m embarrassed. I can’t believe that after all these years, all the things I know how to do, I’m still talking about my weight. I look at my thinner self and think, ‘How did I let this happen again?’
But image-conscious Wintour, 59, also defended the use of Photoshop to make people ‘look their best.’
‘That’s one of the things that makes me rather angry, that I don’t understand,” she said. ‘That if you look wonderful, does that make you less important? Less powerful? Less serious?