Diet book tells how to be a 'Skinny Bitch'

Book centering on vegan diet is No. 3 on New York Times best seller list

Posted: Friday, August 24, 2007

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. - Don't worry about calling Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin a pair of skinny bitches. Just don't try to get them back on the double-bacon-and-cheeseburger diets of their youth.

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"We've been called a lot worse," giggles Freedman, who with her best friend Barnouin is co-author of "Skinny Bitch," the snappiest-titled diet book on the market.

Subtitled, "A no-nonsense, tough-love guide for savvy girls who want to stop eating crap and start looking fabulous," it features a drawing of a skinny young woman on the cover and a picture of the two skinny authors on the back.

Written in a flip, "hey girlfriend" style in which expletives are not spared and eating meat is denounced as the "dead, rotting, decomposing flesh diet," "Skinny Bitch" quickly became a word-of-mouth hit upon publication in December 2005. More than 200,000 copies are currently in print, according to its publisher, Running Press of Philadelphia.

It got a significant international boost in May when L.A.'s hottest skinny celebrity, Victoria "Posh Spice" Beckham, playfully held up a copy at the trendy Kitson's boutique in Hollywood while paparazzi clicked away.

"She never bought the book - she just picked it up," Fraser Ross, the store's owner, told The Associated Press.

But no matter, "Skinny Bitch" shot up top sellers lists in Beckham's native England and broke through to the No. 3 spot on The New York Times paperback advice list of best sellers.

"It's always been a steady seller, but I would say the Posh Spice thing just gave it this extra boost," said Jennifer Kasius, the book's editor at Running Press.

Beckham was not immediately available for comment, but for Freedman, the public's post-Posh embrace is just the latest example of "one of those kind of Kismet things where the stars align."

It all began, she said, four years ago when Barnouin, who had been converted by Freedman to a vegan diet, began insisting the two had to "change the world" and get people to eat better.

Freedman's initial reaction: "What can we do?"

"And then one day I called her and I said we're going to write a book, that's what were going to do," she recalled.

"And the rest was history," laughs Barnouin as the two sit at a window table in one of West Hollywood's hippest organic-vegetarian restaurants and share a plate of vegan pasta and a vegan club sandwich.

"I can put some of this on a plate for you to try," says Freedman, offering up a forkful of pasta as she continues with the pair's efforts to turn the world into a healthier place, one eater at a time.

Freedman, dressed in a midriff-baring top, and Barnouin, wearing a short brown skirt, certainly strike effortless poses for the benefits of the "Skinny Bitch" diet. Although both are trim and proud of it, neither is so skinny as to be mistaken for one of the many young TV actresses, models or movie stars who haunt the neighborhood.

But while the two say weight was never a problem for them, eating right was. And it made their personalities, well, less than personable.

"We both used to be really negative, angry, unhappy and miserable people," the upbeat, outgoing Freedman says of their pre-vegan days when she and her friend were known to consume burger after burger, as well as a hot dog or two and plenty of french fries.

Now Freedman, who has converted her parents to a vegan diet, and Barnouin, who feeds her husband and their infant son vegan meals, are out to show the world a person can eat healthy, look good and still enjoy his or her food.

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