This Angel is getting a little too light for her wings.
Victoria's Secret model Candice Swanepoel has been turning heads recently — but not for her blond locks or voluptuous bod. This beauty's been looking alarmingly thin lately and hasn't been filling out those lacy underthings so well.
It was markedly apparent on Wednesday, when the once curvy South African hottie revealed her newly skeletal frame at a Los Angeles fashion shoot at the Mondrian Hotel wearing tiger print bottoms and a black bra. Just two months ago, a much healthier Swanepoel posed as the face of the lingerie house's Valentine's Day campaign. Her weight loss since has been dramatic.
And now, a fashion insider close to the Victoria's Secret models tells us that Swanepoel's future with the company is in jeopardy.
Like all Angels, Swanepoel, 22, is expected to be "healthy and muscular," according to her Victoria's Secret contract, says our source.
"There is a really clear criteria for both Angels and the catalogue. Their career path is Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue then to Angel, it's the highest paying contract there is, period. The image is about being voluptuous, it's not fat, but it's curvy," says the insider.
"But if you start to look skinny and 'editorial print-like' like fashion mag models, like undernourished, it gives the image the company does not want. Their shopper is older, their target is the Macy's shopper. These are young women who feel pressure these models, she [Swanepoel] could lose her contract if she gets too thin.
"But I'd be surprised if it went that far, she'll right herself first. Of course they'll talk to her though, the company is all about image."
One New York City-based state licensed dietician and nutritionist says Swanepoel's weight loss from 2009 to now is evident and that she could stand to put on more than a few pounds.
As for Swanepoel's excuse that her weight loss was caused by extensive traveling? Not likely but possible.
"I would say she has to go up to 125 pounds, she looks about 108 to 110 right now, and she's 5-foot-9 and a half," says diet expert Rochelle Sirota. "We know that TV and film puts on weight, the minimum looks like she would need to gain 15 pounds. If she were 5-foot-4 it would be less. Her body fat looks really low. Just a few months ago, she looked sturdier. I would say if someone is extremely stressed it is possible to get that skinny, with time changes and rushing around — if you have a fast metabolism and that's what she's claiming."
Sirota says Swanepoel would have to eat 500 extra calories a day and maintain the exercise she's doing now to gain a pound a week back onto her frame. And maybe lay off that steak she claims to be chowing down on.
"If someone is on a very low-carb they can still take off weight. With just meat and fat and very little starch and carbs, they can eat calories and wind up losing weight," Sirota says. "Looking at the difference in her — wow — before and after. She doesn't need to go back to her old weight from 2009, but now she's too skinny. She could definitely stand to gain 10 pounds, still exercising to maintain the muscle mass. This could be promoting an eating disorder, this type of role model."
And that's not the image the company wants.
Victoria's Secret model Jessica White, who has walked the runway for the fashion house, tells E! News that her bosses have urged her to keep healthy and maintain a normal weight.
"I'm a Victoria's Secret model and they have never encouraged me to be anything but sexy and healthy, I have curves and they love that," White says. "Victoria's Secret represents all women, which means all shapes and sizes. "
Another Victoria's Secret model, Alessandra Ambrosio, came under fire last year after she was shot looking too thin in a bikini in St. Barts. (We can vouch that in person, Ambrosio looks damn good — and yes, have even seen her eat!)
As for Swanepoel, it had been reported that during New York's Fashion Week, she was trying to put weight on. Calls to her rep at IMG and Victoria's Secret have not been returned.
(Originally published April 1, 2011, at 9:18 a.m. PT)