Wholesome image not sexy enough for sales

Hayley Westenra  gets a round of applause from me for resisting demands to present a sexier image to boost sales of her recordings.

Kiwi soprano Hayley Westenra has taken a stand against the music industry, saying she ‘refuses to dress like a tart’ to sell records.

The 21-year-old singer claims she has been in a battle with her record company over her wholesome image.

“Oh there’s definitely the pressure,” says Hayley’s mother Jill. “You’ve only just got to see the artists that are in the media all the time and why they’re in the media and you can see it works.”

Unlike other young performers who have happily morphed from starlet to sexpot, Westenra has staunchly refused.

“Occasionally, I have had to stand my ground on image issues,” she says. “I am not a tarty person and I don’t wear those clothes when I am out, so I don’t wear them to perform or for interviews either.”

Hayley’s not the only star to take a stand against unreasonable demands to conform to an image. Deborah at In A Strange Land found this story on actress Emma Thompson who threatened to quit her role in a movie when she heard co-star Haley Attwell had been told to lose weight for her role. 

In contrast to mainstream cinema’s rollcall of skinny leading ladies with washboard chests, Atwell looks sensual, womanly and normal as a result. “This is where I get a bit fundamentalist, I’m afraid,” says Thompson, a long-time feminist and activist.

“It’s no joke: I would have made a big fat fuss and walked off.” She laments the body fascism of the film industry and, indeed, of society in general. So what can be done?

“Put on weight and say, ‘F..k off!”‘

Her eyes flash. “March into a store that doesn’t stock 38D bras and say, ‘I want a 38D bra or I’m never coming here again!’ If anyone larger than a size eight appears in a film, go and see it. Which is all my films, by the way,” she says with a smile.

“But the fact that Hayley listened to me was the real revolution here. She could have lost confidence and said, ‘I’d better lose a stone’, but she didn’t.”


The stands taken by these women are small steps on the long road to the respect for personal modesty and acceptance of healthy body shapes as normal.

4 Responses to Wholesome image not sexy enough for sales

  1. Rob Hosking says:

    And besides, they’re both pretty hot as they are…


  2. Inventory2 says:

    Amen to that Ele, and a big ups to Hayley Westenra for staying true to herself. One only has to look at Charlotte Church to see that Hayley has made a very good decision!


  3. Farmer Baby Boomer says:

    1’ll join you in that round of applause HP. It would be good if these young woman were the vanguard of a rebellion against such demands.


  4. Mark Regan says:

    The crazy Decca bureaucrat sho thinks Hayley is not already sexy enough must be BLIND. We Hayley Fans in the United States support Hayley in her refusal to dress (or undress, as the case may be) like Britney Spears. Do these Decca idiots think visible thighs (and other things) make for a better qualify voice? Sure, Hayley is beautiful, but we don’t love her for her beauty, we love her for all her many other attributes that DO matter.

    I, for one, am ashamed at the way some of our American celebrities dress, and am proud that Hayley has the courage to stand up to the studio executives who are responsive more to the stockholders in their pursuit of profits than to Hayley and her fans worldwide who respect and admire her for her talent, her courage, her tasteful gowns, her behavior above reproach, her patriotism, her respect for the values her parents taught her, and her humanitarian activities on behalf of the under privileged.

    Have you ever heard the BEAUTIFUL singing of Israel Ole singing Over The Rainbow? http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3090180824233343584

    There is NO person in the WORLD who does a better job of singing that song. But Decca would never want to manage his career, because each of his thighs was as big as your waist. Do we want our young men and women to be concerned with being handsome or beautiful or do we want them to develop their talents?


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