Somehow, despite having a hit show on CBS, Jennifer Love Hewitt has always been best known as that girl from adolescent sob-fest Party of Five. But thanks to the recent combination of a revealing black bikini and a paparazzo’s long lens, she’s now most famous for the contours of her thighs. While having our cellulite plastered all over the Internet would have us crying into a bottle of tequila, Hewitt’s reaction — a quiet, sane post to her blog — was both low-key and dignified. So we’re wondering two things: Who knew Jennifer Love Hewitt, of all people, would become our real-girl hero, and why was she the first person to hit the high road?
You can chalk these situations up to the pain-in-the-butt side of fame: All Jennifer probably wanted was to get engaged and frolic in the Hawaiian surf with mai tais. But what she got was a series of photographs that suggested she maybe allowed a cheeseburger to pass her lips sometime between 1992 and today. Cue media hysteria! But rather than succumb to histrionics, Hewitt sanely addressed the issue on her blog, saying that she loves her figure, that she's weary of women’s bodies being scrutinized in the press, and that she wants the rest of us to put on our bikinis and live, damn it, LIVE. It’s gotten a world of snarky, Schadenfreude-loving bloggers to — for the most part — sincerely celebrate her moxie.
So why has no one thought of this before? Previously, actresses have handled documentation of their actual, un-airbrushed bodies in one of two ways: (1) ignoring the whole thing, and then possibly crash-dieting; or (2) being Tyra Banks, stretching an “I look FINE” hissy fit across multiple hours of chest-thumping television and one screeching People magazine cover, and then quietly losing 30 pounds. Evidently, nobody realized there was a third option: simply saying, “Yes, this is my body. I dig it. So does my man. Why don’t you all chill?” (And even though Hewitt graces the cover of the latest issue of People, it looks like she didn’t actually participate in the article.)
Hewitt played her cards right. She refused to let the controversy slide, lest it perpetuate the ridiculous perception that anyone with that body should be ashamed — even better, she also didn’t use it as an excuse for a PR rampage or to commission a very special episode of The Ghost Whisperer. (We envision her character, Melinda, crossing over a bunch of spirits in bikinis by making them stand in front of a mirror and spew obnoxious body-positive affirmations.) Instead, Hewitt’s quiet, succinct statement reminded everyone that flying into a tizzy over a stranger’s body-fat percentage is totally bizarre, and that you don’t have to be one long, sinewy muscle (like oft-snapped surfer Cameron Diaz) in order to carry yourself with confidence and pride.
Jennifer has become the poster child for normalcy simply by refusing to pose for the poster, and she’s stumbled into some positive press along the way. It’s the smartest thing she’s done since that time she talked Bailey into going to AA. —The Fug Girls