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Plus Size Model Crystal Renn Takes On The Critics

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Crystal Renn was returning from a photoshoot in Paris for French Vogue earlier this month when she got some troubling news. Retouched photos of the plus size model, who famously overcame anorexia and exercise bulimia 7 years ago before rising to the top of her profession, had been released showing the size 10 beauty looking shockingly thin. “You want to laugh because you know it’s not you, but then you realize everyone out there seeing these images thinks it is,” Renn tells PEOPLE. “I was obviously upset and concerned. I don’t want some girl who’s recovering from anorexia to see the picture and think I don’t think that you can be any size and be beautiful. That’s completely not what I’m about.” But Renn, 24, is the first to admit that she is slimmer now than when she first relaunched her career as a plus size model at 5’9” and 175 lbs. “Over the years I had made my way down to 165 lbs. and a size 12,” says Renn, who has walked the runway for Jean Paul Gaultier and Chanel and booked campaigns for Dolce & Gabbana. In the last year, she slimmed down to 150 lbs. and a size 10 when she finally began exercising again after 7 years during which she avoided all workouts. But discovering “fun” activities like hiking and yoga helped her take a more balanced approach to fitness in the past year, she says. “I used to workout obsessively for 8 hours a day,” she admits. “Now, I want to do something fun that’s good for my body.” For more information on Crystal Renn’s body controversy, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE on stands now. —Charlotte Triggs