With American Idol and Dancing with The Stars headed toward their finales in the coming weeks, it’s worth mentioning that the frontrunners in both shows are giants in terms of size as well as stature.
Laila Ali and Jordin Sparks are plus-sized and proud– and while the experts debate anorexic female role models, stick insect celebutards and skinnybone fashion plates, they both stand tall as healthy examples who won’t make average American girls feel bad about themselves!
Dancing leader Laila, daughter of the champ Muhammad Ali, is a female boxer who stands 5-feet, 10 inches tall and weighs in at 175 pounds (with a 70.5-inch reach).
Presumed Idol winner Jordin, with her extra push from Coca Cola, the religious right and, as our pal and Arizona eyes Giffordsaz reminds us, The Ford Motor Company, is 5-foot 10 1/2 inches. And while she’s probably packing a little less muscle weight than the boxing champ, she’s also taken home titles, like the Phoenix Torrid‘s “Next Plus Size Model” of 2006.
Take that, Paris, Nicole, and Olsens! (Though maybe we oughta give Ms. Hilton a break…)Laila’s grace on Dancing has been a thing of wonder to the audicne and judges alike. And everyone’s talking about Jordin’s height. In fact, according to Yahoo’s Buzzmeter, she tops the list in “height searches” on the engine– getting 30 times more queries than #2, Ryan Seacrest.
Judging by the outrage whenever it’s brought up, the weight issue, whether it comes to reality show contestants or salaried superstars, seems to be one of the last taboo TV (or at least TVgasm) subjects. But the contestants on American Idol– and their family members in the studio audiences– are definitely a reflection of the obesity problem in America (and never mind the gals– watch the weeping Idol audience this week for a glimpse of Blake in 20 years). And the way TV stars like Rosie O’Donnell, Tyra Banks, Tina Fey– and the women on those Dove soap ads) stand out so jarringly from other female TV images is certainly illustrative of the body image sold by Hollywood.
FUN FACT: Both Jordin & Laila have NFL connections: Jordin is the daughter of former NY Giant Phillippi Sparks. Laila is engaged to former NFL journeyman Curtis Conway.
(And a tip of the Tabloid Baby hat to Giffordsaz–and our pals at the NY Post, who explored this weighty issue this morning).