Why I’m breaking up with Cleo

cleo coverIn this guest post, Cleo reader Madeleine Rigelsford reveals the humiliating process she went through after the avowedly body positive magazine chose her for its Body Challenge feature before dumping her.

The latest edition of Cleo magazine features the Cleo Body Challenge – in which ordinary readers talk about their weight struggles and the magazine helps them get in shape by the end of it. I was nearly one of them.

I applied. It involved providing the participants with a trainer and a nutritionist – they would be followed on their journey across four-page spreads in three editions. They asked readers to write in, telling them their weight struggles and to provide photos.

Like everyone, I wrote in and gave a brief background about my weight struggles. I included some photos of myself which showed past shots and present ones.

I received an email back from Cleo’s entertainment writer, Josephine, saying that I was perfect for the 12 week challenge: I was the right age, height, weight and I had a “real will to succeed”.

I was ecstatic. And also fearful about putting myself out there.

I organised time off work to go to the shoots.

From here on it was all go. Josephine and I were in constant contact. She told me they would find me a trainer in my preferred area (work or home) and I was to meet with him and train five days a week in a gym. I opted for mornings and somewhere close to work. I was to see a nutritionist and she would write up meal plans. The final issue sounded the most tantalising. They would dress me up, and I would have my hair and makeup professionally done.

The idea of the first photo shoot made me want to cringe.

It was made pretty clear that I was to look miserable in it and that it would be the ‘I’m fat and hate my life’ shoot. I was so nervous.

I left work early, jumped in a cab and was on my way to the Cleo office. I was greeted by my new Cleo buddy who met me in the lobby holding a pile of clothes. “You’re soooooo pretty,” she cooed.

The photo shoot was horrible.

They put me in super tight clothes. I felt naked in the first top. It was so tight, you could see every bump and roll, we stood in the mirror as they talked about me like I wasn’t there.

I stood tugging at it, red faced as two guys (one was the photographer) watching us. I begged her: “Please don’t make me wear this.”

She conceded: “Maybe not that one.. we want to see stuff ,but you look naked.”

Thank god. I breathed a sigh of relief as she instructed me to put on the looser pink top.

The next half hour was spent with a photographer and Josephine critiquing my body. I had to stand straight on and then side shots were taken. He was taking photos on an upward angle and I was only allowed to do a slight smirk. They kept saying not to smile too much. Each photo he took popped up on a large computer screen where she would sit and um, and ah over the photos.

Seeing the pictures of myself was confronting – like when you hear the recorded sound of your own voice and question ever speaking again, or see yourself drunk in a video and wonder how you have any friends.

The photographer told me he had recently lost 25kg and that I should stay away from pizza. Josephine chimed in that I should “try to stay away from coke”.

I was still excited about what would be coming next – the embarrassment of the shoot would be made up for by the coming transformation. It felt like a new start.

I told all of my friends and family.

Then it began to go wrong.

On the day of my first session, the personal trainer got in touch to say that I was too far from him. And that he was only available twice a week.

I wondered if I had got the details wrong. I got in touch with my BFF at Cleo asking whether twice a week was enough.

They dumped me.

She wrote back saying that she had chosen ‘a back up challenger’ who lives in the Eastern Suburbs where she had four trainers willing to train her immediately.

She offered what seemed like an inadequate apology given what I’d been through.

This is a magazine that prides itself on making women feel good.

For what Cleo is supposed to represent, I am shocked and furious that they would do this to someone.

My expectations were raised. I was made to feel like I would look and feel so much better after the challenge.

In truth, I felt better before I ever applied for the thing.

Cleo has lost a reader.

  • madeleine rigelsfordCleo editor Gemma Crisp did not return Mumbrella’s calls. Madeleine Rigelsford is a member of the commercial team on Mumbrella’s sister title Encore


  1. Kylie Ofiu
    20 Aug 12
    10:28 am

  2. I am so sorry to hear you went through that. What an awful experience.

    It is disgusting that these sort of magazines can get away with all they do, photoshop models so they no longer even look like themselves and distorts womens ideas on what we should look like.

  3. Mistreatment is Not OK
    20 Aug 12
    10:33 am

  4. Here we go again with the same old mantra that “It’s OK, companies exist to make money, not friends”… (as referenced in a guest post by Big River Creative)

    It’s NOT OK.


    Why do people in “business” think it’s OK to behave like arseh*les??

    It’s simply ANTISOCIAL- pure and simple – yet it’s rife throughout the Industry.

    Madeleine, you have my apologies – bullying like this should be stamped out wherever it exists – and hey, you are much more interesting than them because of your honesty.

    I’ll back you any day.

    [PS…. Mumbrella – I’d like to see this antisocial misbehaviour in Aussie corps put to the skewer – perhaps you can assist??]

  5. Albie
    20 Aug 12
    10:45 am

  6. Madeleine, you don’t need a mag to tell you that you look beautiful. You are beautiful regardless of your shape or size :)

  7. Jodie Adams
    20 Aug 12
    10:51 am

  8. I am so sorry to hear this happened to you Madeleine. I thhink you were very brave to out yourself out there with the aim of transforming your health.

    It’s a shame that Cleo exploited this desire for health as a way to attack and belittle you.

    Sadly, I am not surprised that all. The editors of some of these women magazines have such conflated views of themselves. Believing themselves to all be models while the rest of us are mere mortals. Please. Besides, the majority would do the least amount of required work possible to get a story, so if it is easier to have an issue full of Eastern suburbs women, they will.

    Who cares. Cleo is an under performing magazine and they wonder why.

  9. Madison
    20 Aug 12
    10:52 am

  10. Madeleine, really great story. I often wonder how many people go through this with magazines; having young, uncaring mag staff there to “support” whatever thing they go through.
    Really well written, and I like many others, join you in never picking up another Cleo.

  11. Daniel-Jacob Santhou
    20 Aug 12
    10:56 am

  12. Hi Madeleine,

    No words can describe what you went through. You experienced it, and you shared it. Your story has been amplified through mumBRELLA. I’m certain that it will resonate dearly with people who have experienced something familiar.

    It is a shame that the ‘pressures’ surrounding a work task/project has preceded the very brand entity itself. You are absolutely right that:

    “For what Cleo is supposed to represent, I am shocked and furious that they would do this to someone.”

    However you did mention this:

    “My expectations were raised. I was made to feel like I would look and feel so much better after the challenge.”

    Bear in mind you accepted this ‘mission’ and you probably felt that something about you needed to change.

    Why? Are you not happy with how you are?

    Be happy with how you are, and it will show more to others on who you are. Don’t let the media and society determine what beauty or right is. You determine that.

    However, it’s good that you have the courage to try something new as well.

    All the best, and I wish you the very best.

    Kind regards,

    Daniel-Jacob Santhou

  13. Elle
    20 Aug 12
    11:16 am

  14. Don’t get depressed, get even….make the transformation yourself, driven by the motivation that you are awesome and deserve to be happy, but that only you can make yourself happy.

    If that’ s by being fit and healthy and feeling good about yourself, go for it. Nothing to do with media, or social pressure, but how full of energy you feel when you get up in the morning.

    Then tell your story again to a rival magazine – Marie Claire? – entitled “Don’t you wish you hadn’t dumped me?” so that other girls aren’t taken in ; )

    Good luck gorgeous!

  15. Adam
    20 Aug 12
    11:23 am

  16. Hi Cleo. Please respond. Would love to hear what you have to say.

  17. Tony Healy
    20 Aug 12
    11:24 am

  18. Madeleine, if you’re interested in getting fitter, I bet you willl do that anyway, without Cleo.

    Just go for a walk everyday. You will notice the effects after a week. After four weeks you will be thinking about entering a fun run.

    If you work on Abercrombie St, you’ve got the beautiful Centennial Park just down the road.

    Good luck.

  19. Fashion Hayley
    20 Aug 12
    11:58 am

  20. Where did my comment go?

  21. Bride Body
    20 Aug 12
    12:01 pm

  22. Hi Madeleine,
    I’m sorry to hear about your experience. As suggested by some of the other comments here, I’d love to help you turn your negative experience into a positive. My own company Bride Body, helps women lose weight and tone up through healthy eating plans and exercise plans. The company was started because I wanted to help women ‘get the body they’ve always wanted’ as for women weight and self esteem seem to be so intrinsically linked.
    I would love to send you out our weekly eating and exercise plans free of charge because reading your story I really think you are in the right mind space to make some positive changes to your health. Losing weight is hard and it’s important to have a plan-which I understand would have been a huge part of the appeal of signing up to the Cleo Reader Body Challenge. Having a plan helps us feel accountable and helps us stick to the ‘program’….
    So if you want head over to our website http://www.bridebody.com.au and if you want to join I would love to send you the online plans completely free of charge. Let’s turn this awful experience into a transforming one….

  23. Fashion Hayley
    20 Aug 12
    12:03 pm

  24. Hey Madeline,

    It is terrible that you were made to feel that way and that they unceremoniously dumped you like that. Terrible.

    I just think that some of the comments here saying you will feel better about yourself if you dieted and exercised are just as bad though. There is no shame in being fat, hell there is no shame in being unhealthy either, people don’t shame smokers in the way that they shame fat people (mainly shaming fat girls btw) and smokers are doing far more harm to their bodies. Feeling healthy does feel good yes but so does drinking coke and eating pizza, each to their own (I’m not saying that’s what I eat by the way, not all the time anyway lol)

    I’m here because I am a fat girl too. A fat girl who was today featured in Cleo magazine’s latest issue in a way that I never thought Cleo would feature a fat girl. In a positive non fat shaming way. Someone on twitter alerted me to this article and I thought I should maybe say something… I am hopeful that this is a step in the right direction for Cleo, to move towards a happy positive view on bodies and stop the shaming of the over size 12.

    Madeline you are amazing for standing up for yourself like this, I feel that you may really enjoy finding out about the fatshion blogosphere so here are some great blogs to read that will never ever shame you about your body: (Google em)

    Fashion Hayley
    Nicolette Mason
    Gabi Fresh
    XL as Life
    Sugar Coat It
    This is Ashley Rose


  25. Leaki
    20 Aug 12
    12:16 pm

  26. Madeleine – thanks for sharing. I often wondered what goes into those stories. I hope all the beautiful comments here on Mumbrella have made you feel better. Shame Cleo Shame! We support you Madeleine!

  27. Emma Mac
    20 Aug 12
    12:26 pm

  28. Cleo and the journalist who put you through this should respond to this article instead of being so cowardly and silent.

    Their treatment of you is absolutely appalling.

    Good on you for making this public….journalist need to abide by some sort of code of ethics and should be shamed for this type of action.

  29. Surry Hills
    20 Aug 12
    12:27 pm

  30. Let’s boycott Cleo – and see if they notice the decline in what has become a joke of a magazine!

  31. Emmie
    20 Aug 12
    12:42 pm

  32. This is outrageous – shame on you Cleo…what do you actually stand for?! Because it can’t be us women.

  33. Charlie
    20 Aug 12
    12:43 pm

  34. I have to stand up for Josie & the entire Cleo team on this, I was the previous body challenger & had nothing but a positive experience. Josie along with her team at Cleo were fantastic, yea they gave advice on how to pose etc & yes I felt like a fool to start with but not because of them, because I’d allowed myself to even be the fat person in the before pictures. It is comforting but for me that was the beauty of this challenge. Josie was so supportive, understanding, sympetheitc & always there if I felt it was too hard. Having experienced this 12 week body challenge I can honestly say it wouldn’t be a case of ‘getting dumped’ more a case of not having the right professionals at the right time, which isn’t always something they can plan or help because each trainer runs there own business so we have to work around them. I worked around Blake my trainer, I did everything he asked & my nutritionist was even on maternity leave so I had to go to her house, the point is if you wanted it enough you could have compromised more as well & not just rely on training when & where you wanted it to be, it was a massive opportunity & an amazing experience that perhaps you wouldn’t have missed out on if you yourself were more flexible? Just seems like your blaming them but really more compromise could have been made. Like I say I did whatever it took & lost 8kg & a total 53cm, I still train with Blake & because of how lovely Josie was during the process we have remained in touch & she has become a friend.

  35. Rob Fraser
    20 Aug 12
    1:04 pm

  36. @Mistreatment is not OK (comment 2) i’m not sure what this has to do with my post on company use of social media? Cleo have behaved poorly and Madeleine has called them on it, good on her.

    And if you are so passionate about corporate antisocial behaviour (and “skewering it”) why don’t you put your name to a post on this site and let us all discuss it.

  37. Tiki Godzilla
    20 Aug 12
    1:21 pm

  38. I think there is a lesson in that for all of us in what to expect from these magazines. I feel bad for you Madeleine that you had to go through that experience, but I cant say that I am surprised that they would treat you like that. These mags have a deservedly horrible reputation and I am surprised that a) women actually buy them and b) you would sign up for something like with no control over the outcome. The sad reality is that if you lie down with dogs, you are going to get fleas. And Cleo et al are the mangiest and most flea bitten of dogs.Lets just hope that the pressure Mumbrella can exert on the industry results in a positive change and your brave article sees some results, if only it means no other women fall into this trap.

  39. Mel
    20 Aug 12
    1:23 pm

  40. I’m 40 now, but I gave up Cleo, Cosmo et al when I was 20. I realised I was giving them money to make me feel bad about myself. Why would I do that? So I stopped, haven’t looked back.
    And not sure if it’s related, but I was rather chubby until I was 21. That was 6-12 months after giving up women’s mags. And have remained thin all these years. Three babies born from this body too. Hmmm…..

  41. S (who Mumbrella notes has an ACP IP address)
    20 Aug 12
    2:22 pm

  42. It’s interesting to hear Charlie’s comments about having a great experience with CLEO. @Mumbrella, to what extent have you verified Madeleine’s story? I really hope she hasn’t taken any liberties with her account, because a journalist has been defamed in this. There are two sides to every story, i’d really like to hear from CLEO or Josephine.

  43. Mel
    20 Aug 12
    2:47 pm

  44. That sounds so bad!

    Funny that, they actually put an ad on Source Bottle on Friday looking for someone for the Cleo Body Challenge!

  45. Good move
    20 Aug 12
    3:13 pm

  46. Yep dump that shallow contrived rag. Its an old trick, tell you all the problems and sell you the solution. And photoshop them models so you always feel you dont measure and keep coming back for more of the same poison. Trash the trash mags!

  47. JosieK
    20 Aug 12
    3:18 pm

  48. @ Charlie – your post is doing my head in. At what stage did Madeline suggest that she wasn’t willing to work to Cleo’s instructions? I don’t have a problem with a defence of the magazine, but it is unrealistic to assign behaviour to Madeline that isn’t indicated here. In fact, she sounds very keen and compliant and willing to work within Cleo’s framework. It’s nice (and fortunate) that it worked out well for you, but that doesn’t mean it’s not Cleo that has disappointed on this occasion.

  49. kate
    20 Aug 12
    3:22 pm

  50. People telling you how to fix your body (unasked), talking about you like you’re not there, and portraying a message you’re not comfortable with…
    As an ex-model, I can say that your experience at the photoshoot is pretty standard.
    I often wonder if ‘real’ women would want to be featured in magazines and ads if they understood the dehumanising process they’d have to go through to achieve this.

  51. Gemma
    20 Aug 12
    3:59 pm

  52. Since bringing back the CLEO Body Challenge early last year, seven CLEO readers have successfully completed the 12-week body journey, leaving them fitter, healthier and happier. Unfortunately the pieces of the Body Challenge puzzle didn’t fall into place for Madeleine, due to location and logistics. The personal training we organised was located in Martin Place & The Domain and Madeleine wasn’t willing or able to travel from her office in Chippendale to make the training sessions. At the photo shoot, Madeleine had been told beforehand that she would be wearing workout gear, and Josephine was talking about her own brother’s recent weight loss due to cutting out Coke and pizza from his diet, not in relation to Madeleine.
    As our print deadline was approaching and Josephine was struggling to find a personal trainer based near Madeleine’s home or office, who was available to train her over the 12 weeks at a time that suited Madeleine, the decision was made to put Madeleine’s Body Challenge on hold to give us more time to get all the pieces in place. Josephine emailed Madeleine to explain the situation and suggested that we use her for the next Body Challenge, as it would allow more time to lock in a personal trainer closer to her work or home. When Madeleine replied expressing her unhappiness, Josephine asked to call her to discuss in person which Madeleine agreed to, however she then didn’t take her call. We regret that Madeleine feels that she had a negative experience with CLEO, as this was not our intention at all.

  53. Olivia
    20 Aug 12
    4:28 pm

  54. Madeleine I am so sad to hear about this. No-one should ever make you feel bad about your body or yourself. Thank you for sharing this experience and outing Cleo for their behavior. I will be re-thinking my magazine purchases in the future.

    As Hayley said, you can find some amazing plus-size women online rocking fabulous fashions! I hope to see a follow up article with you doing the same! :)

  55. Bronte
    20 Aug 12
    4:55 pm

  56. Madeleine it would be good to hear your response to comment #25 by Gema?
    It seems to me that you were treated more than fairly by the Cleo team and it might serve you to remember that the opportuniy to participate in the makeover was a privilege, and not a right.

  57. MIssD
    20 Aug 12
    4:59 pm

  58. Did you watch that reality show “Park St” where they did a behind the scenes on Sydney’s Park Street magazines… Cleo, Madison, Shop to you Drop, Dolly etc?
    Similar story – each “transformation” piece they had their main contender and a few back ups. I felt sorry for the girls who poured their hearts out to a journalist only to receive a quick “sorry you won’t be in the mag” phone call. Seemed heartless to me – but I guess they are in the business of selling magazines, not making their readers feel better about themselves.

  59. Sam (who Mumbrella notes has an ACP IP address)
    20 Aug 12
    5:00 pm

  60. So Madeleine wouldn’t travel from Chippendale to the city for the free training? That’s pretty ungrateful. And they didn’t dump her but just post-poned? Sounds like there’s more to this story than simply Madeleine’s version.

  61. Ezme
    20 Aug 12
    6:22 pm

  62. I think it reflects badly on Mumbrella that they even published this post. There are two sides to every story, and as Gemma’s response showed there appear to be valid reasons why Madeleine was postponed for the body challenge. Cleo and Josephine have been defamed without Mumbrella really knowing the facts at all. Not saying Madeleine is making it up, but one situation can be viewed differently by two different people.  It’s scary how in the online/social media world one person with a bone to pick can do so much damage. 

  63. mumbrella
    21 Aug 12
    8:41 am

  64. Hi Ezme,

    You’re right that one situation can be viewed from different perspectives – and of course magazines face practical issues. It may not be their fault that the personal trainer had a change of mind about being willing to travel, but nonetheless, the end result was that the impact on Madeleine was as described.


    Tim – Mumbrella

  65. Madeleine Rigelsford
    21 Aug 12
    9:30 am

  66. Thanks for all the support guys – It’s so nice to hear some understanding around this.

    To clarify, I was always happy to travel to wherever was available. But I did query whether they were happy with the personal trainer only being able to see me twice a week. It also became an issue when he said he would only be able to train me outdoors and asked me to pay to join the gym he worked at.

    To respond to one or two of the comments, I went to the photo shoot, knowing full well the initial photos would be horrible, but it was on the understanding I would get training at the end of it, which was what made it a price worth paying.

    This is why I am breaking up with CLEO. I need a partner that understands when they have done wrong and will mend the relationship. Not write me an email saying its over, and then back up the email with some ridiculous comment claiming I was the problem yet again.

  67. LW
    21 Aug 12
    12:12 pm

  68. As someone who has organised many shoots, including real life ones like this, I can 100% say that the problem would have been logistics. The shoot sounds incredibly confronting, good on Madeleine for wanting to do it, I know I couldn’t!
    From reading the initial post and the follow-up information, it does sound like the story was skewed originally towards “Evil Cleo” when it was more likely to have been “Annoying Cleo deadline”, and more factual disclosure would have made that clear – but then there’s really no story, is there? :-)
    And a final point: this would have also been an issue for a reality TV show or newspaper story, or any other media.

  69. Eyeroll Extraordinaire
    21 Aug 12
    2:15 pm

  70. LW – are we sure we don’t work for Cleo?

  71. Daniel-Jacob Santhou
    21 Aug 12
    2:40 pm

  72. Ezme:

    I believe mumBRELLA has the right to publish a persons view on what they experienced. The author has not defamed any institution or person.

    It is a fair opinion in which platforms like this are available to allow for users to find out more, share and challenge if necessary.

    Taking the piece out of Cleo, there are many other organisations and brands that participate in these ‘challenges’ and ‘stories’.

    We live and learn, consume and create.



  73. LW
    21 Aug 12
    3:02 pm

  74. Eyeroll Extraordinaire, I have never worked for Cleo but I was at Pacific Magazines for seven years. You can lower your eyeballs now :-)

  75. dch
    21 Aug 12
    5:35 pm

  76. Hi Madeleiline,
    Congrats on dumping Cleo! Ditch all of the ‘women’s’ magazines and you will find you have a much healthier body image.
    In fact, you’ll be far better off without Park st telling you what to think, like or what you should look like.

    Welcome to the fold.

  77. fleshpeddler
    21 Aug 12
    5:43 pm

  78. honestly, and I’m certain I’m going to be flamed here, but is this such a big deal?

    you signed up saying you were going to do 4 PT sessions a week and then they told them you could only do two.

    understandably, they want somebody who is going to get great results to make the story better.

    I can understand that this may have been disappointing to you and it isn’t completely fair, but you must be fairly brittle and sensitive to go to these lengths. they haven’t banned you from improving your fitness and body image, they’ve just said that they’re not going to fund and promote it.

    I think you need to toughen up a bit

  79. Pavement Frippery
    21 Aug 12
    6:56 pm

  80. Does anyone else find the apparent dearth of personal trainers in Chippendale kind of odd? Furthermore, how hard is it to get a personal trainer from the eastern suburbs to travel to an inner city one?

  81. krangsquared
    21 Aug 12
    7:54 pm

  82. “…what I’ve been through”? Are you serious? You went to a photoshoot that didn’t make you feel like a princess. That’s all.

    I hope you continue with your efforts at getting more physically active. You can still get there without a personal trainer.

  83. Natalie
    22 Aug 12
    9:12 am

  84. I used to work at ACP. The girls working for the mags, whether they were editorial assistants, editors or part of the sales team, used to parade around park st like they were the only thing worthy of the pavement.
    Apart from treating their own staff members like dirt, they treated security guards like absolute s**t and if you ever spoke to them their conversation it was always about themselves. I was lucky enough not to work in their department because ACP as a whole is an awesome place to work (if you’re in the Goulburn St building).
    The funniest thing was watching them try to walk from castlereagh to pitt st mall in those absurd shoes.
    You can’t even call the editorial team “journalists” because they hardly write their own articles and most of the time, they are not balanced.

    Madeline, good on you for coming out and writing about their disgusting culture.

    I’m sure they will be thinking about this article when they’re out at the Ivy this friday pretending to be lindsay lohan.

  85. Lauren
    22 Aug 12
    9:54 am

  86. Hi Natalie
    As someone else who used to work at ACP, I find your comments really offensive. I admit, when I first began working at a women’s mag there, I wondered what kind of women I’d be sitting with every day. But very, very quickly, I saw that everyone who worked in women’s mags was incredibly dedicated, hardworking and above all, smart. You can’t work in that environment if you’re not good at what you do – it’s a simple matter of supply and demand. Lots of people want a job at a glossy mag, and if you’re not up to scratch, you’ll be replaced by one of them.
    In my experience, I rarely saw staff members act rudely or inappropriately – certainly no more so than any other workplace. In fact, most people I met there were incredibly polite and respectful – you had to be to get a foot in the door.
    With regard to the article, I completely agree with fleshpeddler. If you have a case study who’s not able to do all the things you need them to do, it’s not going to be a great story – and these mags are in the business of delivering great stories. There’s a lot of schaudenfreude that happens when news of mag circ declines crops up – everyone is so quick to decry mags as irrelevant or not up to scratch. But when they do try to do something right – ie publish a solid story that people will want to read (and believe me, LOTS of people love reading about weight loss journeys, whether we like it or feel comfortable with it), they’re told they’re doing it wrong.

  87. Groucho
    22 Aug 12
    9:55 am

  88. This is a great example of exploiting the vulnerable to entertain the stupid.

  89. Golumn 8
    22 Aug 12
    11:18 am

  90. and that Groucho, is a great point – people who exploit others for personal and corporate gain ALWAYS peddle that old saw about business “existing to make money not friends” – as referenced in a Big River post recently – in other words, it’s Ok to be nasty, pejorative towards women, controlling, misleading, or even abusive, provided it’s about making money

    From big corporates as they rip off others, to politicians with their finger in the pie, to fiefdoms run by legends in their own lunchtime, it seems that people like Madeleine will continue to be mistreated by antisocial business types

  91. Alison_F
    23 Aug 12
    2:17 pm

  92. You’re cute!

  93. Kenny Rogers
    24 Aug 12
    11:19 am

  94. I used to work with Gemma at CLEO (Tim you can verify from my IP/email address that I’m not at ACP and not even in the same country as the magazine) and I only have great things to say about her and others working on the mag.

    Natalie’s experience certainly wasn’t my experience, and from what I saw, the girls who make it on those magazines are the most talented and hard-working individuals. They also provoke a lot of jealousy, due to their looks and jobs. There are a lot of women out there who’d like to be them – so the knives are always out to get them.

    As much as I think women’s magazines don’t do anything for women’s body image, it sounds like Madeleine’s body challenge was just a bit too hard for that issue (totally understandable from CLEO’s point of view – deadlines are deadlines) but I have major problems believing that anyone at CLEO was malicious towards her.

    Good luck Gemma and CLEO, you produce an amazing product every month. Don’t let this derail you.

  95. Joanne
    27 Aug 12
    2:19 pm

  96. Well done Madeleine- I understand magazines are under commercial restraints like deadlines and logistics, but my main problem is that Cleo (and other magazines of the ilk) purport to support women’s issues, self-esteem, confidence and “body-loving”, yet put a young woman through this experience when it doesn’t suit them comercially. There are two sides to every story, but it doesn’t sound like Cleo put in a great deal of effort to come up with something mutually agreeable. (Free personal training, I’d travel!)

  97. Sarah Jane
    29 Aug 12
    2:08 pm

  98. I’m so tired of ‘makeover’ stories in mags that concentrate on weight and youth and looks and image. What about all the people out there who work on who they are inside? People striving everyday to be happier, calmer, more tolerant, more grateful, more loving etc. Makeovers of the mind and soul. Let’s be kind to each other and ourselves and try to see (and value) what’s on the inside.

  99. El
    5 Sep 12
    2:48 pm

  100. Cleo are absolute idiots! Making you go through that and then dumping you! Shame on them! Not buying another one of their shit magazines for a long time!!!

  101. Dani @ Fitness Food and Style
    13 Sep 12
    2:54 pm

  102. Ohhhh M, how awful!!! I’ve stopped buying those mags years ago!!! Instead, I have started blogging my new lease in life after having 4 children (4 under 7) so they’re all my pictures and none of them made me feel uncomfortable. Well maybe the picture of my big belly post baby and sitting down with the massive Michelin Tyre around my waist!!! Hence me started my blog, my new healthy journey to real women who may want to follow a real Mum.

    No make overs here or photoshop.

    What a shame Cleo and other mags can’t get it right!!! There’s a lot more motivating and insipring people out in blog land that I would much rather follow than these bozo’s!!!

    Big hugs to you!!!! XxDani

  103. Sarah G
    14 Sep 12
    12:34 pm

  104. Hi Madeleine,

    If you take up the offer of some of the commenters to take up their weight loss challenges, we’ll happily to a shoot for you with a wonderful stylist and make-up artist as a congrats for reaching your goal.

    Offer’s there if you want to show off your hot new bod :-)