As a teenager on “The Osbournes,” Kelly Osbourne was outspoken, opinionated and fat — and really comfortable in her own skin. I remember reading her cover article in winter 2003′s Bust magazine called “Kelly Osbourne: Independent Spirit” and thinking she was pretty awesome. In the years since Kelly’s reality TV show debut, she’s been on drugs, then quit drugs, gained a fiancé, and then lost a fiancé. She competed on “Dancing with the Stars” and now she’s on E!’s “Fashion Police” with Joan Rivers. In the middle of all this, Kelly lost a ton of weight. “I took more hell for being fat than I did for being an absolute raging drug addict,” she told Us Weekly last February. “I will never understand that.”
Kelly and her “new” body were recently on the cover of Shape magazine and she bragged to Us Weekly about how it was an “incredible experience” because “I have never worn a bikini in my life before yesterday.” The Frisky posted about it and yesterday almost 300 people found their way to The Frisky site searching for “kelly osbourne bikini.”
Know who was rolling her eyes at all this? Me. You know who thought I was being too harsh? Amelia. Naturally, we had nothing better to do with our time than to hash it out over IM. Bare your claws, ladies, because it’s time for a catfight! JESS: (reading TheFrisky.com’s daily traffic report) Why the f**k would 268 people be searching for “kelly osbourne bikini”? There is something wrong with people.
AMELIA: Haha, probs because they were trying to find the actual photo because they’re not out yet.
JESS: Well, yes. But she’s like the last person in the world I’d want to see sexy photos of.
AMELIA: Well, I don’t think that’s what people are looking for. They probably read her quote, because it was everywhere and then Googled to see if there was a pic out yet. I don’t think it’s like, “Oooh, sexy pics of Kelly.”
JESS: You’re probably right.
AMELIA: I Googled it, too, to see if i could find the photo to go along with it.
JESS: I just don’t understand her career. She used to be kind of cool.
AMELIA: I don’t know what she does anymore, cause she’s not an actress or even a singer anymore.
JESS: She was a style commenter for E! during the last awards show. Which is fine. But it’s, like, she used to be kind of cool and now she’s gunning for a mainstream career and a mainstream body.
AMELIA: Well, her music sucked so I don’t mind that she stopped that. And I think her body changed when she did “Dancing With The Stars” and now she’s maintaining it. I don’t know, I still think she has a cool attitude
JESS: I think she’s sold out.
AMELIA: But why? Because she got thin?
JESS: She was on the cover of Bust back in ’03 or ’04 and talking about being fat and proud. And now she’s posing on the cover of, like, Us Weekly in her bikini body! [NOTE: I’m incorrect here. She was quoted in Us Weekly about shooting the cover for Shape, but not actually on the cover of Us Weekly itself. Yet.]
AMELIA: Right, but why shouldn’t she be just as proud of her body now?
JESS: I don’t care if she loses weight and is healthier. I don’t like the redemption narrative though: “My life is soooo much better now!”
AMELIA: Right. Well maybe it is better in comparison? She was a drug addict in 2003 and 2004
JESS: True. I forgot about the drug abuse. Still, I wish great things could happen to people the way they are. [i.e., I mean that I wish Kelly had been able to have a more success mainstream career when she was fat.]
AMELIA: A lot people who quit drugs channel that energy into something else. It seems that thing for her has become being healthier in a lot of ways and working out.
JESS: OK, but why then go on the cover of magazines in a bikini?
AMELIA: Right, but “the way you are” doesn’t mean eating whatever you want to eat and maybe being unhealthy.
JESS: We don’t know she’s not unhealthy now. With such drastic weight loss? I am speculating, but she has dropped A LOT of weight.
AMELIA: She looks healthy to me: not too skinny, fit. I thought she looked fine before, too. But she also didn’t look like she took good care of herself in general.
AMELIA: I mean, I don’t think her change in weight is related to selling out. Her appearing on the cover of a mag in a bikini? Maybe, but I think she’s always been totally mainstream. She just wore punk rock clothes.
JESS: I don’t know. I guess we have different perceptions of her.
AMELIA: In 2003-2004 she was a teenager with a drug problem. I mean, I think she’s changed because she’s grown up, just maybe not into the person that people thought she would.
JESS: OK. You’re really defensive of her!
AMELIA: I don’t actually really care about her, but I don’t think the adult version can be compared to the teen version.
JESS: Maybe the teen version of her would have posed in bikinis on gossip mags if she had been asked. Who knows.
AMELIA: Don’t get me wrong — I think posing on the cover of gossip rag [Note: which Kelly hasn't done, but this convo kind of applies to any of those "I'm skinny now!" gossip mag covers starring Jessica Simpson et. al.] in a bikini is dumb. But I also don’t begrudge her for losing weight and working out and saying she’s happier now, given the way her life was a few years ago.
JESS: I hear you on that. I’m just saying I don’t like the redemption narrative of the whole thing — she’s just one of many women who pose in bikinis on the cover of mags.
AMELIA: Agreed. But I also think that’s more likely the magazine’s narrative than her own.
JESS: I expect it from people, like, Kate Gosselin or whatever. But I thought Kelly was funky and loudmouthed and fat positive!
AMELIA: But can’t she be fat positive AND fit positive? I haven’t read the article, but presuming it’s about taking a healthier approach to food and working out more, that doesn’t seem to be a reversal of any opinion she’s previously taken.
JESS: Yes, but … maybe this is just the way I consume media but I infer that when someone goes on the cover of a magazine or does morning talk shows, they are promoting themselves as a brand, a valuable brand. I just see it as “Look how great I look now!” and paired with her other new gigs, it looks to me like she looks “prettier” so she is having a more successful career. But you are right that perhaps she could be having a more successful career because she is healthier and not a drug addict. Honestly, the answer probably lies somewhere in the middle. I am probably being judgmental of her.
AMELIA: She’s also on the cover of Shape and people who buy those magazines are interested in fitness not, like, celeb gossip. I think I’m being defensive of her because there is an aspect of the fat positive message, sometimes, that is very judgmental of people who lose weight or write about fitness and nutrition, as if there’s some underlying anti-fat message in writing positively about weight loss or health. My whole thing is that people should be encouraged to live healthy lives, regardless of how a relatively healthy but enjoyable life impacts the shape or size of one’s body. I think bragging about not working out and eating Cheez Doodles for dinner is as stupid as bragging about working out three hours a day. The extremism on both ends needs to STFU.
JESS: Yeah, I hear that. I understand what you’re saying, I just don’t totally agree. I feel sensitive to the issue and more aware of the issue after gaining weight. And really seeing for the first time that my body doesn’t look like what I see reflected in the media. So when a formerly big girl changes her body so much, that’s why it feels like selling out to me. It’s just a perspective thing.
And that’s where we stopped our convo so we could, you know, go back to work and stuff. But what say you, readers?