BIG GIRLS don't cry. But newly trim ones do, especially when their reward for losing 20lb is their photograph on the cover of the fashion bible American Vogue.
Oprah Winfrey burst into tears when she saw the new pictures of herself. Most women would not find that surprising. For not only has she become the first talk-show host to grace the cover in the magazine's 110-year history, it is also a fair bet to say she is the only Vogue cover star who has ever seen her weight climb as high as 16st 13lb.
Not that she weighs anything like that amount now. Still, Anna Wintour, the editor of American Vogue, asked her to lose nearly two stones for the shoot. "I was totally chicken. I did not approach her directly. I went through her agent," the editor later admitted.
The result, photographed by Steven Meisel, was a svelte and glamorous Ms Winfrey, dressed in a black Ralph Lauren dress and looking years younger. It is a far cry from when the 44-year-old weighed the same as Mike Tyson.
"This is a part of myself I didn't know existed. I am telling you I wept when I saw every one of the Polaroids," said Ms Winfrey, whose high profile coincides with the release of her new film, Beloved, from the book by Toni Morrison.
A Vogue spokesman said yesterday that it was a "natural step" for Oprah to be in Vogue, but that people had to have the "Vogue look" because it was a "successful aspirational magazine" and so the weight loss was necessary.
Oprah is perhaps the world's most famous dieter and has frequently shared her battle of the bulge with her audiences, at one point wheeling a barrow-load of fat on to the stage to show how much she had lost.
But the words Yo-Yo Diet Syndrome could have been invented for the talk- show queen. …