Tyra Banks plays obese

The supermodel dons a fat suit.

Published November 4, 2005 12:27AM (EST)

It's not easy being Tyra Banks lately.

It was just days ago that the 31-year-old Victoria's Secret supermodel turned talk-show host revealed her own insecurities about her appearance on her show. Among Banks' so-called flaws: She thinks her mouth is too small and tight. Her eyebrows are too far apart. Her eyelashes are too short. Her calves are too small. And she has cellulite, not just on her butt, but on her arms.

Then, Banks went and made herself really self-conscious, if only for a day.

For an upcoming show, she dressed up in a fat suit, posing as a 350-pound obese woman, and then returned to the thin side to report that being fat really sucks. Banks told the Associated Press that it was "one of the most heart-breaking days of my life," and that she undertook the stunt to confront what she dubbed the "last form of open discrimination that's OK."

And it wasn't hard to find discrimination, or at least public shunning. "I started walking down the street and within 10 seconds, a trio of people looked at me, snickered, looked me right in my eye and started pointing and laughing in my face," she told the AP. "I had no idea it was that blatant." (Here's a picture.)

For her next act, will Banks wear a mask that makes her look like a burn victim, and report back what it's like to be disfigured for a day? Let's hope not.

By Katharine Mieszkowski

Katharine Mieszkowski is a senior writer for Salon.

MORE FROM Katharine Mieszkowski

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Broadsheet Love And Sex Obesity Tyra Banks