My Chocoholism, By Yasmin Le Bon
Sunday Express 5 July 1992
interview: Paula Yates
Too many people think that models are to intelligence what Bernard Manning
is to the body stocking. How can anyone be six feet tall, weigh four stone
and be witty as well? It is quite enough to be blessed with the sort
of hamster-sized bottom that looks good in a Gianni Versace posing-pouch
without being globally aware.
But whatever the others do to reinforce the stereotype, Yasmin Le Bon
is different. She demolishes the myth that most models have the kind of
metabolism that allows them to eat all day without putting on a pound.
Ask most of them whether they starve themselves to remain fashionably emaciated,
and they will act as though you have suggested they take up nude bungee
Yasmin had puppy fat as a child and forced herself to survive on a cup
of soup and a chocolate bar each day. She admits she used to black out from
hunger. Now, aged 26, she eats more sensibly, but she still has to
come to terms with her craving for chocolate, which literally overloads
"If I were to eat too much chocolate I know that I would end up
shaking on the floor and then passing out," she told me over a strictly
She believes she may be hypoglaecemic – suffering from low blood-sugar
count, which makes her long for chocolates. She has not been diagnosed,
but she has most of the symptoms. "People under stress are much more
likely to suffer from it than people who aren't," she says. "Although
I'm pretty well established in my profession, I'm still involved in the
human cattle-call that is part and parcel of a very obsessive world. The
awful, sub-human thing about modeling is that you're constantly trying to
detach yourself from it and that can be very stressful too. "There
are times when I get so hungry I can fall down. I feel weak; I go hot and
cold, and I salivate. It's really terrible. In Paris last season,
I felt like fainting all the time. Obviously, things couldn't go on
that way, and now I try my best to follow a diet that isn't so high in carbohydrates
in general and sugar in particular. The best diet for me is eating
lots of protein – like fruit, vegetables, and absolutely no tea or alcohol.
I did that, and in a matter of weeks, I must say that I felt much better.
But it hasn't been easy. For example, because I've cut down on my sugar
intake, I don't always have the energy I once had."
She says fellow supermodels Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista have
very different bodies. "I'm not sure if they eat regularly, but
if they had something really important coming up, they would probably just
"Obviously, it's important for me to keep as fit as I can, and I
try to eat sensibly. But every now and then, I ruin it all by buying a bar
of Galaxy or two. I'm still a chocoholic, I guess. Somehow, chocolates
find their way into my house, into my fridge, into my hand and ultimately,
into my mouth. The next thing I know, I'm a nutcase, get a bit wiled,
and just flop out. But generally, I think I've got things under control.
And of course, now that I've had two children, the shape of my body has
changed, and modelling isn't as easy as it used to be. I look like
most people do straight after having a child, and I'm still not the same
shape as most models anymore."
She admits her hips are "twice the size they were when I was trying
to sell the ‘no tits, big hips' look." But she says she just
has to accept that fact and believes that as long as she has the confidence
in herself, she can make things work.
She still has to go for castings for modeling jobs. "They want to
know how you look on film at the time – not six months before. Which is
reasonable. But it still feels like a cattle market. At the end of
the day, it's you they are talking about, and you can start
to feel bitter about these people who think of you like that. You
have to have another outlet and for me, having a solid family background
has been my saving grace."
There may be drawbacks, but Yasmin is still at the top of the tree. She
is presently working for some of the best photographers in the world and
is as much in demand as ever. "It's fortunate that today models
don't have to be as skinny as they used to be. It doesn't look good and,
of course, it can be dangerous."
After Yasmin and I finished our choc-free lunch (masses of pasta and
tiny green asparagus), she headed home to her successful pop-singer husband
Simon and their daughters Saffron and Amber.
She confides, "I don't think I ever really thought about Simon before
I met him. But I had pictures and thought, ‘Yeah, he's a real dish.'
He's not romantic – he doesn't buy me flowers, but he is soppy. And
he sometimes buys me lots of chocolates. I tell him he could kill me with
But as she strode out of the restaurant in a tiny white miniskirt with shocking
pink suede boots and a swing to her hips that could stop traffic, she looked
a picture of health and happiness.