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Novel beauty

What if we could eat anything we wanted, ignore the scale and still look as fabulous as a supermodel? That's the strange new world Andrea Rains Waggener creates in her first novel, Alternate Beauty (Bantam Books, 2005).

About to get fired from her job at a plus-size clothing store for being too fat, Ronnie Tremayne goes on a late-night eating binge only to wake up in a parallel universe where fat is beautiful and thin is no longer in. But she soon learns that the outer trappings of her new life--handsome men, glamorous parties, her mother's approval--don't lead to paradise. Waggener reflected on her own struggles with body image in a recent interview with Shape.

Shape What inspired you to write this novel?

Waggener I had all of this upheaval in my life, and so I went back to my coping mechanism: I ate. One day I woke up and weighed 275 pounds. It seemed instantaneous. I'd go out and I was almost invisible. I thought, Wouldn't it be incredible to live in a world where the way I look now is not only acceptable but beautiful?

S Achieving the perfect body is a moving target in this book. Does that insight come from experience?


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