Hilary Duff and Gwyneth Paltrow accidentally let slip how they stay Hollywood-thin. It's about damn time.

Hilary Duff is starving and so is Gwyneth Paltrow and nobody knows quite what to do with this information. Should we be shocked? Angry? Or just disappointed? I’m going with delighted but first, the facts.

Just weeks after Paltrow did an interview, while attached to an IV drip infusing her with the vitamins most people get from eating food she detailed a diet of bone broth and vegetables, Hilary Duff has admitted in another podcast that she starves herself.

Asked about her daily routine, she said she usually wakes up ‘really hungry’ but instead of eating, she tries not to.

“You know, Gwyneth’s been in trouble for saying this, but sometimes I try to just drink coffee in the morning and starve off my hunger,” she said.  

For the past decade, Gwyneth Paltrow has been the godmother of ‘wellness’ which for many women has become a euphemism for weight loss; a more socially acceptable way to openly trade diet tips.

She talks about doing ‘cleanses’, another diet buzzword which has been universally dismissed by nutritionists and doctors as being utterly unnecessary. It turns out we already have organs responsible for the ‘cleansing’ required to stay healthy. Who knew? Oh, just everyone who isn’t trying to sell us weight loss.

In an interview with The Art of Being Well podcast back in March, the Goop founder said she has a coffee before fasting until midday. She then exercises for an hour, typically has bone broth for lunch, and eats an early paleo dinner.

"It definitely screams disordered eating to me. It's not enough food for anyone," registered dietician Sammi Haber Brondo told BuzzFeed at the time.


Gwyneth went on to say she sometimes has “celery juice with lemon [or] lemon water” and claims her body is “not a natural detoxer.” Would you like to buy some vitamins from Gwyneth or download a detox plan? Please step this way.

Hilary Duff is not selling vitamins, but she is a woman working in Hollywood. That invariably means she’s hungry too.

Unlike Gwyneth who claims various unproven reasons for starving herself including but not limited to ‘inflammation’ and ‘cleansing’, Hilary appears to have just one reason and it’s exactly what you think: to look thin.

After the 35-year-old actress admits to regularly denying herself the morning fuel her body craves, the podcast’s host, 49-year-old actress Molly Sims replies, “I do that too. Yeah, we all do it, she just says it.”

Do we all do it though? Starve ourselves when we’re hungry? In Hollywood the answer is clearly yes because even though non-famous, ‘normie’ women come in all shapes and sizes, almost all famous women have an identical body type: very small. Preferably size zero. So weird, isn’t it?

Hilary Duff and Molly Sims (who was a famous model in the 90s before aging out and becoming an actress), each have three daughters and as they chat about their daily routines, it’s the diet and exercise parts that reveal the most.

That’s where the truth leaks through the chirpy work/life/balance narrative the Lipstick On The Rim podcast is shooting for. 

When the women talk about what they do to ‘stay in shape’ - a cute Hollywood euphemism for being size zero - Duff and Sims casually reference restricting their food and exercising to extremes. With a resigned shrug and a wry laugh, they admit to hating the hunger and the workouts but agree it must be done to ‘prepare for something’ like a shoot, an event or an acting job.


Imagine having to change your body every time you went to work. Welcome to celebrity, baby. Put down that piece of toast and do 50 burpees.

What’s key to know is the context in which Duff and Paltrow let this truth slip; both women were being interviewed by friends on podcasts and they let their guard down because they were talking to their peers, other famous people whose incomes are also indexed to their BMI.

Among like-minded people, crazy things don’t seem so crazy. Not once did it occur to anyone involved that the whole hungry-most-days thing might not play so well when it hit normie ears.

My unpopular opinion is that this is a brilliant development. Famous women are finally being accidentally honest about what it takes to be Hollywood thin. It sounds ghastly.

Unless your idea of a fun treat is some water with a zesty squeeze of lemon in which case you too could thrive in a sick culture that demands famous women be a size zero and rewards starvation with career opportunities.

The sacrifices you have to make for a Hollywood body are the baseline expectation for every famous woman. It’s the water in which they swim. And it’s not fair to blame the fish when the water is polluted. Which is why I struggle with criticism like this:

Hilary Duff Casually Admitting She Tries to "Starve Off" Her Hunger Is Disappointing.


In a story on Pop Sugar, the author writes that she’s not angry with Hillary, she’s just disappointed:

“In May 2022, Duff opened up in her Women’s Health cover story about battling a “horrifying” eating disorder at age 17 due to the pressure she felt to be “skinny.” “Because of my career path, I can’t help but be like, ‘I am on camera and actresses are skinny,'” she said, though she says having her three kids ultimately boosted her body confidence.

Despite Duff’s previous empowering comments about her body, we’re rightfully disappointed by her latest comments.

While it does indeed suck that a woman who has recovered from an eating disorder continues to work in an industry that demands her eating be disordered, this is plainly not her fault. So in whom are you disappointed, exactly? Hilary for starving herself to stay employed or the culture that rewards women for taking up as little physical space as possible?

Hilary Duff's magazine covers endlessly celebrate weight loss. 


We’ve always suspected famous women are doing unpleasant - and often unhealthy - things to be thin but until now, there has been an unspoken agreement they would lie about it and we were cool with that. Because the only thing worse than a woman who doesn’t conform to beauty standards is one who is honest about how hard she has to try.

For decades, diet culture has explicitly shown us the correlation: the smaller a woman, the larger her status. Size zero? Congratulations! You win! You have literally erased your female body from the system of numbers.

Things are confusing out there right now for women. You may have noticed.

Obesity is bad. It’s killing people, we’re warned.

There’s an epidemic. But also, body positivity. Love your curves. Take the selfie.

But also, trigger warning: eating disorders.

But also love yourself at every size. Except don’t be too big because that’s unhealthy and also you won’t be able to find nice clothes in shops.

But also don’t be too small because we’re worried about you and also trigger warning: eating disorders.

But also here is every red carpet on the planet, heaving with size zero women who are actors and singers but are co-incidentally as thin as models.

But also here are influencers and isn’t diversity great except if you want to make any money please be size zero. Diets are bad, don’t go on one but please magically lose enough weight to be small.

Don’t lose weight with surgery or drugs because then we will sneer at you but also don’t be honest about how much you have to suffer to be thin because that’s pathetic. Thirsty.

And also if you do get weight loss surgery, don’t tell anyone because even though it’s incredibly difficult, people will say you’re ‘cheating’ so please be vague about how you lost more than half your weight. Because also you don’t owe anyone an explanation about your weight. And can we please stop talking about women’s bodies but also here is every famous woman in the world who happens to have the same very slim body.

But don’t talk about it because feminism and objectification. But would you maybe like some Ozempic.


Glad we cleared that up.

Even for most non-famous ‘normie’ women, the state of restricting what we eat is a familiar one. When I worked as a waitress, my least favourite tables were groups of women because instead of just ordering what they wanted, I would be forced to listen to their collective, contagious angst. 

“I should just have a salad, I’ve been so naughty this week, what are you having?”
“I really want the pasta but I’m trying to eat less carbs so maybe I should have the fish?”
“Do you want chips for the table?” I’d ask and everyone would wait hopefully for one person to cave because everyone knows you don’t have to feel guilty eating chips you didn’t order.


It was sad and annoying and it always played out in the same way. Because that’s what diet culture is. The way society programs women and girls that they key to status lies with having a small body and you must do whatever it takes to have one and maintain it.

So how can we reverse it? Counter-program ourselves? I believe it’s a positive first step when women begin to speak candidly about how much they restrict what they eat.

For many of us, the mindset of restriction is so endemic, we’re barely conscious of it. But I bet if you asked a random woman what she’s eaten in the past 24 hours, she could tell you in detail. 

Similarly, if you asked her what she would have liked to eat - but didn’t - during that same 24 hour period, she could answer that too. 

One legacy of diet culture is the permanent food tracker embedded in the brains of almost every woman. So when a celebrity breaks ranks and inadvertently allows us a sneak peak into how hungry she is and how that hunger is so deeply ingrained into her way of life, we should empathise not chastise. 

Don’t hate the player, hate the game.

Feature Image: Supplied. 

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