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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 February 2007, 11:02 GMT
'Size zero means clothes now fit me'
Size zero model on the London Fashion Week catwalk
Size zero is a UK size four
Half of young women say they are unhappy with their bodies, but naturally slim women find the "size zero" debate focuses all eyes on what they eat, says Rebecca Hedges in our Readers' Column.

I'm pocket-sized - five foot two and a UK size six. So a similar size to Kylie, and only fractionally taller than Nicole Richie.

Many times I've been referred to as quite childlike because of my size. And you get the "thread leg" comments; people can be pretty harsh.

People always comment on how much I eat, especially since I'm a vegetarian. I went to a pub on a boating holiday last year and the vegetarian option was a nut roast - I was so excited that there actually was a veggie option that I shovelled away 15 roast potatoes. The rest of them couldn't believe how much I ate: "Where do you put it all?"

Rebecca
I saw a size zero about a year ago for the first time - that was a bit of a shock
Rebecca Hedges, London

I think it's because I have a high metabolism, and I go to the gym four times a week.

And my dad's side of the family is tiny. My grandmother had an operation on her thyroid gland when she was young because they thought she was too skinny.

Back in the olden days, to be that small was a concern. Today the medical world understands that can be a natural size, there's not always something wrong.

I remember the "shock horror" when waif models emerged in the early 1990s, and it happened with Twiggy in the 1960s. But now we are so much more extreme than we used to be. Instead of aspiring to go down to a eight or six, they're going even further.

Backstage at London Fashion Week
London Fashion Week organisers refused to ban super-slim models
This needs to be dealt with in a sensible way by the fashion houses. Young girls will always want to be models, so if a designer's ideal is this waif-like figure, then you're going to have kids following on from that.

My ideal? I'd like to be more voluptuous than I am. You always want what you haven't got. I look at the glamorous movie stars from the 1950s, like Marilyn Monroe - I would love to be like that. But I'm made the size that I am.

Waif-like

I've always had trouble finding fashionable clothes that fit me. Everything is either too big, too long - never 100% right - or it's designer.

Victoria Beckham, who has worn jeans made for a 10-year-old boy
Posh can fit into kids' clothes
The kids' section in Hennes used to the best place to buy clothes. I could carry off the trendier things for children, but it was always tomboyish fashion.

In my late teens, it was impossible to look more grown-up, to wear the type of outfits my more voluptuous friends could carry off. When I started work in a bank at 17, I just looked like a kid playing dress-up in grown-up clothes.

But just recently mainstream shops have added a whole new range for the smaller woman. Petite sizes came in a couple of years ago, but you'd only find them in stores like Debenhams. Now smaller sizes are on the High St, it's much more fashionable. And I can get suits in my size.

I saw a UK size four - a US size zero - about a year ago for the first time. I tried it on and could just about get away with it. I'd not seen one before; that was a bit of a shock.



SEE ALSO
Young 'hung up on their bodies'
20 Feb 07 |  Health


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