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Fact Check: Sophia Loren Allegedly Said She'd Rather 'Eat Pasta and Drink Wine Than Be Size 0.' We Dig Into the Facts

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Claim:

Sophia Loren said in 1965, "I'd rather eat pasta and drink wine than be a size 0."

Rating:

Rating: Misattributed
Rating: Misattributed

Celebrities frequently find themselves wrongly attributed with quotes they never actually said. Sophia Loren, a symbol of Italian cinematic history, has often been connected to a range of remarks throughout her career and one particular remark attributed to Loren has raised our suspicions.

In February 2024, some social media users claimed that in 1965 Loren said, "I'd rather eat pasta and drink wine than be a size 0."

The alleged quote has been shared on various social media platforms such as Reddit, Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), and Instagram, on websites dedicated to celebrity quotes, and in online marketplaces.

However, based on the considerations outlined below, we've concluded that the quote has been erroneously attributed to Loren.

According to social media posts, Loren uttered the phrase back in 1965. However, according to the standards of the time, the smallest women's clothing size available in 1965 was size 8. The introduction of the concept of size 0 in the fashion industry came much later, as a response to evolving beauty standards. As a 2017 article in The Guardian explained, "Fashion did not invent size zero — the phrase emerged in LA in the early 1990s to describe the desired shape of aspiring Hollywood actors." A Slate article on the topic quoted by Time magazine said the sizing recommendations of American Society for Testing and Materials, an international standards organization, have "evolved over time to accommodate a very real trend: vanity sizing" (emphasis ours):

Women don't want to know their real size, so manufacturers re-label bigger sizes with smaller numbers. In 1958, for example, a size 8 corresponded with a bust of 31 inches, a waist of 23.5 inches and a hip girth of 32.5 inches. In ASTM's 2008 standards, a size 8 had increased by five to six inches in each of those three measurements, becoming the rough equivalent of a size 14 or 16 in 1958. We can see size inflation happening over shorter time spans as well; a size 2 in the 2011 ASTM standard falls between a 1995 standard size 4 and 6. (This may also explain why smaller sizes are constantly invented. The 1958 standard listed 8 as its smallest size. The 1995 ASTM standard listed a size 2. In 2011, ASTM lists a standard for size 00.)

Moreover, it's worth noting that although size 0 is a women's clothing size in the U.S., it's not used in European countries, such as Italy.

Finally, no reputable English or Italian-language sources have confirmed Loren ever uttered such a phrase.

So, to set the record straight: There is no evidence the quote about choosing pasta and wine over being a size 0 was uttered by Loren, and "size 0" didn't exist in 1965 when she supposedly said it, therefore we have rated this claim as "Misattributed."

Some social media posts and websites have attributed the quote to another famous person named Sophia: American actor Sophia Bush, known for her roles in TV series such as "One Tree Hill" and "Chicago P.D." The full quote attributed to Bush online is "Life is too short and I'm Italian. I'd rather eat pasta and drink wine than be a size 0." However, we have so far not been able to independently verify that Bush actually said this. We reached out to her via Instagram and will update this story if/when we receive a response.

Interestingly, Bush was named after Sophia Loren, as she related during an appearance on the television show "Live with Kelly and Mark."

It's not the first time we have fact-checked rumors related to Loren. For instance, in November 2023, we debunked a photograph allegedly showing Loren displaying an image of the Israeli flag. In January 2023, we investigated whether Loren once said, "Everything you see I owe to spaghetti."

Sources:

Cartner-Morley, Jess. "Size-Zero Ban Is Proof Fashion Industry Is Finally Listening to Customers." The Guardian, 6 Sept. 2017. The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2017/sep/06/size-zero-ban-proof-fashion-industry-listening-customers-lvmh-kering.

Emery, David. "Did Sophia Loren Really Say 'Everything You See I Owe to Spaghetti'?" Snopes, 25 Jan. 2023, https://www.snopes.com//fact-check/sophia-loren-everything-you-see-spaghetti/.

Sophia Bush Was Named After Sophia Loren. www.youtube.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOfnGDQi1TE. Accessed 5 Mar. 2024.

Sophia Loren | Biography, Movies, & Facts | Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Sophia-Loren. Accessed 5 Mar. 2024.

"When — And Why — We Started Measuring Women's Clothing." TIME, 23 Oct. 2014, https://time.com/3532014/women-clothing-sizes-history/.

Wrona, Aleksandra. "Pic Shows Sophia Loren Holding the Israeli Flag?" Snopes, 28 Nov. 2023, https://www.snopes.com//fact-check/pic-sophia-loren-israeli-flag/.