Nooooooooooooo! Magda Szubanski, the great Australian comedian and actor, best known internationally for her roles as Mrs Hoggett in the Babe movies and as Sharon Strzelecki in Kath and Kim, is now shilling for Jenny Craig.
She’s long been a role model for fat women; someone brimming with confidence, success, self-esteem, and no evidence that she thought herself ugly or unworthy because of her size. I recall an Australian Women’s Weekly article from a few years back where she tells of her disdain for diets and how they don’t work. And she’s consistently rated as one of Australia’s best-known and best-loved stars for nearly a decade, so it’s not just fat chicks who love her.
Apparently, Magda has now crossed the arbitrary line of too fat.
Features of the campaign include:
Press releases resulting in newspaper and magazine articles where Szubanski claims she is “eating herself into an early grave” and realised she was “killing herself with fat”.
(Unless you are eating chicken that’s been left out on the bench in summer or lacing your peas with arsenic, I don’t think so.)
An ad talking about all the crazy diets she’s been on, and how Jenny Craig is different
Another ad where she talks about how she hates having to wear ugly fat lady clothes (FFS Magda, we know you have enough money to afford some Igigi, Anna Scholz, and Svoboda) and she is going on the Jenny Craig diet because she really wants to be “a fox”.
Yeah, it’s all about health!
Also there’s the “exclusive” tell-all confessionals on the tabloid TV show A Current Affair. You know, share in Magda’s special journey.
There’s no evidence whatsoever that Jenny Craig produces long-term weight loss. NONE. A thorough search of peer-reviewed scientific journals showed nothing that would cast Jenny Craig in a positive light and better than any other diet. There are a couple of reports that go up to one year, but that’s it. One of those reported that people who stayed in the “Platinum Program” for one year lost approximately 15% of their initial body weight (which is apparently enough to earn the researchers’ recommendation…WTF). But no one’s ever followed up beyond that year; you can bet your right arse cheek that Jenny Craig would be crowing about it from the rooftops if there was a smidgen of evidence that their program worked long-term, but they prey on all those repeat customers.
What’s the Platinum Program cost? $459 (Australian dollars). A MONTH. Yes, that’s right. FOUR HUNDRED AND FIFTY NINE DOLLARS A MONTH.
And the food is, frankly, awful. Highly-processed tasteless rubbish. I’m not opposed to processed foods per se, however I expect food to actually taste good, which Jenny Craig meals do not. Why punish yourself like this, Magda? What happened? And, cynically, how much money did they offer you?
(Note: This isn’t meant to be a personal attack on Szubanski. Just a frustrated “Why??” against the whole diet industry and its practices. And the performative nature of weight loss. Szubanski is free to do as she wishes, of course, but it’s always so disappointing when someone you thought was an ally turns around like that.)