Insiders: Why Actresses Pretend to Pig Out in Interviews

 Humberto Carreno/

Maybe they're not Just Like Us after all?

Interviews with Hollywood actresses (Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and many others) are often chock-full of details of the star chowing down on chicken parm, platefuls of pasta, chunks of meat and gooey desserts — or gabbing at length about their huge appetites.

But, in a Tuesday New York Times article, many showbiz insiders charge this is all a publicity stunt — part of the Hollywood machine intended to deflect rumors about eating disorders.

Film publicist Jeremy Walker calls it the "documented instance of public eating," or DIPE, and believes it's a way for actresses to seem normal or down-to-earth. When The Roommate actress Minka Kelly digs into a plate of spaghetti carbonara during an interview, he says, it's about projecting a certain image. Or when Leighton Meester picks up a slice of pizza, it's because she wants people to think she isn't watching her weight.

"They're so sure that people assume they have an eating disorder that they’re forced to wolf down caveman-like portions of 'comfort food' in order to appear normal," publicist Bumble Ward told The New York Times. "And worse, they feel they have to comment on how much they’re enjoying themselves."

But Anna Holmes, the former editor of women's website Jezebel, says honesty would be better than exaggerated eating. "We would all appreciate it if you had an interview with an actress who says: 'You know what? It's my job to be a certain size, and it takes a lot of work for me to do so. I tend to eat very healthy, small portions, but once in a while I splurge.' I would like to hear that. That it's not easy."

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