Anna Wintour is a cultural icon, a woman who defines modern fashion journalism and, quite honestly, all style everywhere. She hasn’t been without her controversies, of course—after all, she was the woman who inspired Meryl Streep’s fear-inducing character in The Devil Wears Prada. She’s been bashed by PETA for being pro-fur, she was seen clashing with collaborators in the 2009 documentary The September Issue, and it was reported that she defaulted on $140,000 in payments to the New York State Worker’s Compensation Board. She’s a septuagenarian who’s been in the fashion industry for five decades, maintaining her signature bob and dark sunglasses the whole time, and it’s now, today, that people decided to direct their ire toward her because of her go-to lunch order.
The 430-page biography Anna was released earlier this month, and while it is being considered the definitive biography of the fashion great, there’s only one detail that’s standing out in the news cycle: Wintour’s go-to lunch is a steak and a caprese salad without the tomatoes from the Palm restaurant. “Just a hunk of cheese?!” some corners of the internet cry. “Does she even eat vegetables at all?” others wail. Headlines calling it “weird,” “bizarre,” and “baffling” discuss the meal at length, going into detail about how a caprese salad should be enjoyed, completely ignoring every other revelation from the tell-all book.
Someone’s diet is far from the most interesting thing about them. Just as it’s damaging and unnecessary for celebrities to give a play-by-play of their daily intake for the masses to consume, it’s harmful to publicly pick apart the details of what someone else eats, whether they’re a well-known figure or not. And in this case Wintour was not showing off her meal on TikTok, begging others to adopt the #Vogue #girlboss diet. These were seemingly benign details shared by the sources interviewed, meant to add some colorful detail to the lengthy book, not set the internet on fire.
In the same way we shouldn’t judge Wintour for not eating vegetables, we shouldn’t judge people for eating a diet of mostly vegetables, or assign a personality to someone based on their preferred meals. This happens all too often with vegetarians and vegans who are presumed to be preachy or judgy toward others who don’t share their dietary restrictions. Just because someone isn’t eating an egg doesn’t mean they’re an insufferable person, just as someone who enjoys meat every day isn’t automatically some sort of violent carnivore. In fact, we need to rid the phrase “you are what you eat” from the zeitgeist entirely.
If anything, when I look at Wintour’s food choices, I see someone living their life to the fullest. A big ol’ steak and a hunk of cheese sounds like a great meal to me! Go off, Anna! Live that indulgent, veggie-free life! You’ve earned it.