Celebrity trainer (and alleged financial charlatan) Tracy Anderson tells the Telegraph that her exercise method is "the best girlfriend you could ever have!" But would your best girlfriend really force you to have a "teeny-tiny body?"
Charlotte Sanders's Telegraph profile, like much media coverage of Anderson, doesn't mention any allegations of financial wrongdoing. It does, however, spend a lot of time describing Anderson's get-up, which sounds upsetting:
She is wrapped in a black trench coat, her bleached-blonde hair padded out with extensions, her tan a deep caramel; lip-gloss and huge false eyelashes adorn her girlish face. She chews gum constantly and talks quickly and breathily. When she removes the trench coat for the photo-shoot, all that is underneath is a pair of skin-tight shorts, knee-length stockings and a denim waistcoat that a six-year-old might struggle to squeeze into. It's quite a look.
She sounds kind of like Janice the Muppet, but she's a lot less fun. Here's her mission statement:
My mission is to give every woman the tools to look and feel their best and be able to do everything 100 per cent. To love their bodies, to absolutely not have cellulite, to not spend their money on gimmicks, to not have their emotions messed with. To not think they can't lose the baby weight – no way! Don't even go down that miserable road! My method is the best girlfriend you could ever have!
Anderson may be teeny-tiny, but she contains multitudes. She wants women to love their bodies, but not if they have cellulite. She wants them "to not have their emotions messed with," but implies that if they accept a little baby weight they will be miserable. And she wants them "to not spend the money on gimmicks," but the centerpiece of her workout is "the Hybrid Body Reformer, a machine that exercises every single accessory muscle." Maybe it works ( if by "works," you mean "gives you the only type of body Anderson thinks is attractive"), but Anderson's claims that all other workouts are worthless, that "running gives you an ugly butt," and that "lots of dancers have horrible bodies" all smell of snake oil.
Anderson says she can "take any woman from any genetic background and turn her into this teeny-tiny dancer type," which makes it sound like she's building a fearsome army of tiny, identical fembots to take over the world. And maybe she is. The allegiance of Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow seems to have shielded her from much public criticism of her shady money dealings, and she's started a new gym in New York that charges $900 a month. It will be truly sad — but maybe not surprising — if Anderson is able to achieve lasting success by convincing women that they need to be just like her.