I have been a fan of Ricki-Lee Coulter since she first stepped foot into the limelight on Australian Idol. All of a sudden, there was the beautiful, inspiring and curvaceous woman that we could tune in and watch from our lounge rooms every week. She was loud, down-to-earth, fun and immensely talented.
Ricki was always seen as an inspiration for women and was constantly featured in mags during the annual body issues. She claimed that she was ‘a proud size 14′ and even though she was in the spotlight, never seemed to be self-conscious of her weight or curves.
Fast forward to the present. Ricki-Lee has now lost 30kgs over 18 months and is now a size 8 according to Woman’s Day. My response when reading this information was ‘THIRTY KILOS? From where?!’ Immediately, I started sourcing images to support this claim.
After finding a few photos at recent events including the ARIAs and Who’s Sexiest People Awards, I came to the conclusion that my beloved Ricki now resembles more of a lollipop than a loud and proud size 14.
Even at this point, I could see that Ricki was happy with her weight loss and it seems to have further increased her confidence. But, I can’t help but thinking how are the rest of us supposed to feel?
And by ‘us’ I mean the Australian public. Her loyal fans and avid supporters. I’m sure she assisted many women in boosting their body image by putting hers out there. She was a fresh and welcomed change from the typical cookie cutter image that is celebrity. But now that she’s no longer our poster girl, should we now feel less confident about our size and bodies? Or should self-confidence begin within and not stem from what we see in the media?
A further nail in the coffin came last night while I was sitting on the couch and catching up on current events through MamaMia after dinner. My idol and favourite journalist Mia Freedman wrote an article about her disappointment regarding Ricki’s decision to strip off for Maxim for album sales. Uh, what?
An excerpt is below.
“I’m sad about Ricki-Lee. I’m sad that she’s felt the need to strip off for a men’s mag to promote her new album… Some would say if you aren’t harming anyone, who cares? Well, I do because I’m looking at the bigger picture and I believe the actions of influential individuals can harm others. Indirectly, sure. But when your fans are comprised of young girls, I think there’s an inherent responsibility in that.
Now Ricki-Lee is 25 and my understanding is that she manages herself. Which, in a way, makes it even more frustrating. That she wasn’t able to resist the call to get her gear off instead of boldly striking out in a more modern, positive, genuinely empowering way. Showing women – and men – of all ages that you can be a strong, talented SEXY woman without taking your clothes off.”
You can read the whole article here.
I can’t help but agree with Mia and my opinion was even further cemented when I saw the photos from the Maxim shoot. They aren’t artsy, cute or classy. They are downright sex and from what I can tell the theme for the day was ‘military skank’.
You can view the rest of the photo shoot with Maxim here
I really don’t see how this could be a positive career move for Ricki. Yes, she’s now established herself as a babe in the world of lads mags, but her fan-base is predominantly female and under-age. I do agree that she does have a certain responsibility as a celebrity to her fans and young girls, and I really don’t think that it’s suitable for them to be holding a current issue of Maxim.
Furthermore, Ricki has gone from being an inspiration to young women and a strong influence in the Australian media to a Page Three girl. I’m sorry, but I don’t see how such a talented and successful woman thinks that getting her kit off is ‘empowering’.
I think it’s time for a new role model for women – and maybe for once, sex doesn’t have to sell.