Jenny Craig closing: Her weight-loss empire and tragic accident – The Washington Post

But in the 1990s, the company seemed to be everywhere — even as its founder seemed to disappear. Several doctors expressed befuddlement about why Craig couldn’t speak after her jaw incident, until one finally gave her an answer: The muscles in her face had been stripped and needed surgery to repair.

Craig, a New Orleans native, and her husband launched their weight-loss empire in 1983 after the pair moved from the United States to Australia and saw a gap in the country’s diet industry. She had worked in the weight-loss field for decades, including at a chain of women’s “figure control” salons, she told CNN. That experience, she said, taught her “the things that work and the things that don’t work.”

The diet, which centers on prepackaged foods and one-on-one coaching, attracted a slew of endorsements from celebrities such as Mariah Carey, Queen Latifah, Jessica Simpson, Jason Alexander and Kirstie Alley. The company also ran commercials featuring Monica Lewinsky, but it yanked the ads from the air after people criticized Lewinsky as a poor role model.

Last year, actor Valerie Bertinelli apologized for helping to promote a “diet culture” mentality when she was a spokeswoman for Jenny Craig. Her 2009 appearance in a two-piece swimsuit on the cover of People magazine prompted headlines about how she had recovered her “bikini body” while on the program.

“Looking back now, I was part of a diet culture that didn’t celebrate women no matter what size,” Bertinelli, who starred in the TV shows “One Day at a Time” and “Hot in Cleveland,” told Washington Post Live in January 2022. “It was about getting down to the smallest size you could possibly get to, and if you’re not there, then you’re a failure. And I don’t believe that to be true any longer.”

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