The History of Cathie Jung

Queen Of Hearts

The True Story Of Cathy Jung And Her Incredible Figure WHO MEASURES 39”-15”-39”?

The Queen of Hearts, of course. She’s had the patience, persistence and the urging of her husband Bob to slowly reduce her waist an incredible ELEVEN INCHES!

Cathy Jung is not diminutive above and below this tiny stem waist either: her bust and hips both measure 39 inches! That’s a 24” differential between bust, waist and hip measurements, and we don’t know anyone else in the world who can match it. So Cathy is our undisputed “Queen”.

Queen of Hearts

In 1992, twenty-four-hour-a-day tightlacing is a lifestyle for Cathy and Bob. But it wasn’t always that way. They were married back in 1959. Bob loved the look of a nipped-in waist. It was popular then with “inch reducing” waist nippers advertised and sold everywhere. Some of the most famous of these figure shaping garments were the “Merry Widow” and “Lady Marlene”. Cathy, like so many young women in ‘50s prom dresses, wore them too. But Bob wanted more for his bride. So, with Cathy’s approval, a real lacing corset was purchased for the wedding.
Cathy was a stunning, small-waisted bride 5’6” tall, 130 pounds (for the record, PPI of 1.96). She told me she went back recently to see if the corset could be used for her daughter’s wedding too. It had a 22” waist when laced closed. So Cathy entered her marriage with a 26” waist whittled down to 22”. And that was just the start. But during many years that followed the wedding, serious corset training was only a dream in the back of Bob’s head. There was a career to pursue—and the raising of a family—two sons and a daughter.

Cathy in a 16″ Zoers Corset.

1985: SERIOUS TRAINING I first met Cathy and Bob in 1985, just at the start of what was to be a seven year adventure in reducing Cathy’s waist seven inches beyond what it was on her wedding day. She told me they had visited England in 1983. On that trip they met several women who wore corsets ALL the time (including one who laced to 16”), some tight lacing enthusiasts (who had a formed a tightlacing society called “Les Gracieuses Modernes”) and Diane Medeq, a corsetier of some repute. These connections made the dream of a small-waisted Cathy seem more like a real possibility. As Bob said, “We lived in a small community in eastern America where tightlacing and wasp waists were unknown. We always considered it too different before our trip. But we met a couple of people (into tightlacing) who looked like they were relatively normal otherwise—and that’s how it started.” After the trip, Cathy and Bob were also freed of another consideration. Their daughter, who objected to a mother in bizarre fashions, left home. Cathy said, “She was very opinionated about what I was wearing and what I looked like and would say ‘you’re not wearing this to MY school!’ and things like that.” So in 1985, with visions of returning to England for the corset society’s annual ball, Cathy ordered a 22” black leather corset from Ruth at B.R.CREATIONS. A curious twist of fate. On her return from the post office with the new corset, her puppy ripped open the package and chewed a hole in the garment! Heartbreak.

Instead of waiting for a mail order repair, Cathy & Bob decided to visit California, see Ruth and the Ol’ Corsetier in person. That’s how we first met. Cathy got her corset back and ordered another one the same size. On my advice, she also saw Mr. S Leather in San Francisco and got a wide training belt. Serious waist reduction was about to begin. For the first year, Cathy put on the 22” leather corset only in the late afternoon, for the evening home with Bob, and wore the wide belt to sleep in every night. She alternated between a snug belt and corsets, but did not wear a reducing garment most of the workday. Cathy & Bob did go to their first Bal Des Gracieuses the end of that year—Cathy in 22” corsets.

During the second year of training, more B.R. leather corsets were ordered, this time with 21” waists. Now Cathy began to wear corsets most of the day and also started to sleep in them every night. Valuing the need for custom corsets to fit her unusual figure (small rib cage), later in the year she ordered corsets from other sources too (some with 20” waists). Cathy found that corsets from different corsetiers felt different and fit differently with specific clothing. So variety was required at this stage of training. The goal for the next Bal Des Gracieuses was a 20” waist. Getting a little smaller for each ball would soon become a tradition for Cathy & Bob.

For their second Bal Des Gracieuses in 1986, the target of a 20” waist was not only met, but exceeded. Cathy wore a German corset that was 19” on the inside and slightly over 20” on the outside when laced closed. After the 1986 ball, corset wearing became a full-time affair for Cathy. More corsets were ordered and trained into. When they reached an 18” waist (inside the corset) they decided to stop the on-going reductions.

Cathy laces the 16″ Zoers corset closed.
She then measure a scant 5 1/2″ wide at the front.

But resolves like stopping at 18” have a way of dissolving for devout corset enthusiasts like Cathy & Bob. For the third ball, Cathy again appeared smaller than the year before. Now having the 18” waist achieved that year. For the fourth and fifth ball, more slight reductions of about one-half inch. By the sixth ball, in 1990, Cathy was laced to 17” and almost able to lace to 16”. By the seventh ball in 1991, 16” was a reality for Cathy and still smaller corsets were ordered and tried.

On their next visit to the Ol’ Corsetier’s in March this year, Cathy was able to quite comfortably lace into 17” and 16” corsets for the photos you see with this article. For the Grand Finale, Cathy brought out a very special, very long Van der Klis (of Amsterdam) corset with NO front busk and NO backlacing eyelets. Bob and I struggled to pull it closed (see photos). We had to make an eyehook to work the waist section down because this corset had no back puller loops either! This corset is so small in the waist (supposed to be 15”), it was difficult for us to get an accurate measurement of Cathy’s true waist size inside it. The best we can estimate is between 15.25” and 15.5″. For all practical purposes, I’m rounding out the fractions and calling it 15″. I know that by the time Bob & Cathy settle down from the eighth Bal Des Gracieuses, the figure will be an undisputed fifteen.

Cathy steps into 15″ corset that has no front busk or eyelets at the back. Holding loose corset.

Cathy catches her breath before the lacing ordeal begins.
Bob draws the long lacing closer and closer while Cathy kneels on a chair.
Cathy has astoni- shing proportions when the corset is finally closed and tied off.


In conclusion, I feel BP&MPQ readers should know more about Bob & Cathy’s adoption of tightlacing as a lifestyle. So here goes. On the phone yesterday, I asked Cathy what her uncorseted waist now measures just after she takes off one of her smallest corsets (my criteria for amount of body modification that has taken place). She replied, “When I take off my Van der Klis Waspie with a 15.5” waist, I’m 19″. That’s a big difference from Cathy’s starting point of 26″. Seven inch reduction in normal waist size, 10.5” reduction when corsetted.

I asked Bob & Cathy if they were aware they had achieved some major body modification. Cathy replied, “No. We had no real intention of modifying my body when we started. We just wanted to make my waist smaller.” In reality, what Bob & Cathy have done equals or exceeds the modification achieved by Ethel Granger of 13” waist fame (for years undisputed small waist champion, see Guinness Book of World Records, 1959 and the website of Ethel Granger). Ethei started with a 23” waist which was 16” when released from her smallest corset: a SEVEN inch reduction. Cathy started with a 26” waist which is 19” when released from her smallest corset: A Seven inch reduction. Ethel corsetted her waist from 23” to 13”: a TEN inch reduction.

Cathy tries on Ethel Granger's 15"black corset in 1992. Ethel Granger herself in white 15" corset in 1936.

I asked Cathy about the “downside” of tight lacing, the negatives. She replied, “Of course it’s hard to get around and do a lot of normal things. . . like driving a car. I can’t see well or react well. Or you can only sit comfortably in certain chairs. And then there’s the social problem. Not everyone understands what we’re doing and thinks a small waist is beautiful. And it takes a lot of time. You know, dressing and undressing and taking care of my body. I have skin problems”.

I asked Bob & Cathy about the continuity of the tight lacing, about “gaps” and “breaks”. Bob replied, “She’s worn them night and day now for about five years”. Cathy added, “No breaks. Not really. First of all, I don’t have any clothes to wear without a corset. Also I find I’m more comfortable with some support when I’m active or working. The only time I make an exception is when we’re out boating or fishing, when it’s very hot. Then the corset is very irritating so I take it off for an hour or two. But I always put it back on at the end of the outing, even if I don’t want to. I don’t want to lose ground. it’s a mixed blessing”.

I asked two last questions. “Cathy, how do you feel about yourself, your image?” She answered, “At first I was very self-conscious about my figure. But not anymore. When I take the corset off I seem to expand very quickly. When I look in the mirror, from the front, I don’t see much difference”. I suggested that perhaps this was an illusion because her modification had been done so slowly and over a long period of time. Finally I asked her, “Do you intend to go smaller?” “Possibly, a little bit. Maybe another inch?”