CARNIE WILSON’S WEIGHTY ISSUES: INSIDE PERSPECTIVE
Carnie Wilson’s announcement last week that she has undergone the lap band surgery to lose weight again, after having her stomach stapled more than a decade ago made me so sad for my former colleague (“Carnie Wilson Show”) but not for the obvious food addiction reasons. I was sad because of her addiction to attention, quest for public approval and shamelessly making a second, third and fourth career out of losing weight.
Many celebrities exploit universal life moments like births, deaths, divorces and weight struggles to become more relatable to everyday people. These are moments that the housewife sitting at home can share with, and ultimately bond with “the people on TV.” Whoever you are, having a baby is still having a baby.
But Wilson has used her weight struggles for too long, is no longer a role model and, ultimately, she’s incentivized to gain weight because that’s the only thing that gets her back in the limelight.
Oprah said that her “biggest mistake” with her former talk show was talking about her weight.
Working with Wilson years ago on her short-lived talk show – at her heaviest weight, prior to gastric bypass surgery – it was obvious food was a struggle for this sweetheart of a person.
One morning sticks out to me more than a decade later: The show was failing. Wilson was sitting in her dressing room getting briefed by producers for the upcoming show. In full wardrobe and make up, she was eating a quart of Lo Mein right out of the take out tub. After finishing the Lo Mein, she looked at her assistant and said “Bring me the menu folder so I can order lunch now (for after the show taping).”
She needs to stop with the publicity around her weight (“I’m curvy and proud of it,” she told an interviewer last year. Then, right before her latest weight loss procedure said “The risks are bad for me at this weight.”) and for the first time, seriously address what is making her turn to food for comfort. And the public and media need to stop being part of the problem by showing interest in her personal struggle.
During the off-camera talk show days, she was a wonderful, caring confidante for the entire show production staff to speak with about family and relationships issues. A lot of the very personal stories she shared about her family were not even in her book.
If you ask someone in their twenties who Carnie Wilson is – if they say they know her at all – it is because of her weight struggles. (One industry executive countered me by pointing out “at least some know of her.”)
She will always be a star in my life but she needs a new “media hook” or to decide to fade off elegantly – and rubenesquely – into the celebrity sunset.