August 3, 2008

Speaking With...: Janet Charlton

It seems like every day there is a magazine article, "news" clip, or Internet headline about a given celebrity's weight loss/diet secrets/food plan.

This wouldn't be such a big deal if so many people weren't getting their ideas of what is healthy eating from celebrities, many of whom I suspect aren't being entirely truthful with the public.

So, in a quest to "get the skinny", I turned to veteran Hollywood gossip columnist Janet Charlton.

Throughout her 30 year reign as queen of celebrity scoop (some of you may remember her from E!'s The Gossip Show), Ms. Charlton has consistently been the first to break a variety of hot stories -- from Madonna and Sean Penn's divorce to Mariah Carey's initial romantic dalliances with now-husband Nick Cannon.

In this exclusive interview with Small Bites, Ms. Charlton -- who has been running her own juicy celebrity gossip blog for two years -- takes us inside Hollywood's eating habits.

It's common knowledge that Hollywood is obsessed with looks and body image. However, is this at an all-time high? How have you seen this progress over the past few decades?

Hollywood has always been obsessed with looks and body image – It simply wasn't discussed in such detail 20 years ago. High definition and closeup photography has made every detail more evident so this obsession is flourishing today. Also, plastic surgeons are more talkative and competitive than ever. Gyms and trainers are using celebs to advertise themselves.

Magazines like People, Us Weekly, and Star love to share "celebrity diet secrets." This usually consists of a female celebrity (who recently lose a significant amount of weight) sharing a "5-day menu", in which grilled lean protein and steamed veggies abound. From your experience -- are these menus REALLY what the celebrities are eating, or is some of it concocted by the magazine?

Magazine "celebrity diets" are almost always totally fake. If a celebrity ever mentioned eating hard boiled eggs and spinach in an interview, a magazine will dub it the" fantastic new spinach and egg diet!" The info is culled from old interviews or just made up!

Let's face it, most celebrities are BORN with great bodies – that’s why they're stars. A bad body can be improved but it will never be great. Stars will credit their trainers if it gets them a discount.

What are some of the craziest/most dangerous diet fads that have hit Hollywood over the past few years?

The diet fad popularized by the Beverly Hills 90210 girls [in the 1990's] was the cigarette diet. They substituted smoking for meals. Diet pills have always been popular. These days, everybody is taking Adderall [a drug used to treat attention deficit hyper disorder] to lose weight.

It seems like male celebrities are getting more pumped, buff, and ripped by the day. Are the studios putting more pressure on these guys to train and eat healthy or is there a little bit of "supplementation" going on?

Male celebs DO have to get pumped up to unnatural proportions quickly and I'm sure they all use supplements of some kind.

Celebrities often look their best in print ads, magazine covers, and photoshoots for feature articles. Upon seeing these images, many people strive for those bodies, thinking they are realistically achievable. What are some tricks of the trade used in these situations to make celeb bodies look as perfect as possible?

A good photographer can make just about anyone look fabulous. Look at Mariah Carey's body on magazine covers. All flaws and errant flesh are gone. Beautiful lighting helps, but ultimately retouching is the frosting on the cake.

Let's end on a positive note. Which celebrities truly live healthy lifestyles?

I think Jennifer Garner is naturally healthy. Madonna takes excellent care of herself. Generally, actors will train and discipline themselves while preparing for a role and then go back to their old habits afterward.

Many thanks to Janet Charlton for sharing some insider information with us. Click here to visit her website for a daily dose of Hollywood dish.

No comments: