Tag Archives: role models

Celebrity Body Image Role Models

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In a recent article, I wrote about a few of my personal “body image role models,” women who embody healthy body attitudes and have helped me to cultivate similar perspectives.  Now it’s time to consider the celebrities…

We often hear about the negative effects of the media and the damage created by trying to live up to celebrities in terms of beauty and thinness.  While it’s true that many stars are not good role models for young (and older) women, there are some women in the limelight who possess refreshingly positive attitudes related to weight and body image.

Today’s post shares a few quotes from some of my celebrity body image role models, as well as my commentary on what they had to say.   The women quoted represent various professions – an athlete, a model, a singer, and a reality TV star – but they all have powerful insights to share with those who are working to rehabilitate a negative body image.  It is my hope that you will gain a few tidbits of wisdom or “aha moments” from reading the quotes below.

Beautiful Inside and Out!

 “What I’d like to teach my daughter about self-image and self-esteem is that you’re beautiful on the inside and the outside, and not to get obsessed with pictures that are out there in magazines of skinny models.  I had an eating disorder in college and wanted to look like those models and be thin.  So I’ll probably share that experience with her and let her know that you’re beautiful just the way you are.”  – Dara Torres, Olympic swimmer and mother to a 6 year-old daughter

I have been a fan of Dara Torres for years, both for her athletic prowess and her tenacity to keep pushing herself to succeed at an age when most people in her sport have hung up their goggles.  Now I can add another item to my list of reasons for admiring this remarkable woman.  She is striving to cultivate a healthy body image and self-esteem in her young daughter and hopes to spare her from the pain that she herself endured while growing up.

Parents really can have a positive impact on their daughters and help mitigate some of the damage caused by the unrealistic standards perpetuated by the media and entertainment industries.  Dara is sending a positive message to her daughter that we should cultivate both inner and outer beauty – and above all, self-acceptance!

A Healthy Perspective on Aging

“I don’t have anxiety about [getting older], so I’m not running to get Botox.  Maybe that will change, but I don’t think so.  I feel comfortable in my skin and comfortable with aging, so I think it’s okay that I get wrinkles.”  – Heidi Klum, supermodel and host/producer of “Project Runway

Heidi Klum has always looked beautiful, healthy, and vibrantly youthful.  Her attitude toward aging is a healthy one.   It may help that her heritage is German instead of American.  I’ve found that European women don’t tend to be as obsessed as American women with being wrinkle-free, perhaps because older people are celebrated more in other cultures than here in the United States.

Whatever the reason for Ms. Klum’s attitude on growing older gracefully, it’s a welcomed and refreshing message!  I join her in avoiding Botox and other such anti-aging treatments.  I do my best to take care of my skin, but I’m a 46 year-old woman and it’s okay for me to have some wrinkles!  I don’t need to look like I’m 20; I just want to look like the best possible version of myself.

Accentuating the Positive

 “I am not a sample size, and I am okay with that.  I’m good with who I am.  I like to accentuate the positive.  My waist is something I love to show off.  I’m also happy that more and more women are embracing who they are, because everybody’s different.  You don’t have to be a size 0 to be pretty.  You just have to be comfortable with who you are.” Jordin Sparks, American Idol winner

I think that all women should strive to identify and accentuate the positive aspects of their bodies instead of simply lamenting the aspects they feel are flawed.  This is something I encourage all women to do!  We all have positive attributes that can be highlighted and celebrated, regardless of our size.

Most women are unable to achieve a model-thin figure without excessive diet, exercise, and obsession, but we all can look our best and show off our best traits.  For me, it’s my arms and shoulders.  I am blessed with toned and slender arms and broad, square shoulders.  I do my best to highlight those features through the way I dress.  I am also grateful for my height and long limbs.  I am much happier when I reflect upon my positive attributes than when I curse my hips and thighs.  It’s all about where we place our focus!

Embracing Your Curves

“All my friends were super-skinny.  I watched my mom and she helped me with my outlook.  I have curves and that’s never going to change, so I’d better start embracing them.”  – Kim Kardashian, reality TV star and entrepreneur (on growing up in Hollywood)

Kim Kardashian is echoing the positive message expressed by Jordin Sparks above.  Ms. Kardashian not only embraces her curves, she is known for them and has become a very wealthy woman as a result of being a “poster child” for curves in Hollywood.

I, for one, am happy to see women with curvier bodies becoming famous and being regarded as sexy and beautiful in our society.  Had Kim Kardashian hidden her curves or dieted down to a standard Hollywood body type, I doubt she would be as successful and famous as she is today.  She also embodies confidence and self-acceptance, which are as sexy as her curves, in my opinion.  Kudos to Kris Jenner, Kim’s mom, for teaching Kim to be proud of who she is and to love herself and her curves.

Who Are YOUR Celebrity Body Image Role Models?

I know that there are many more celebrity body image role models out there. If you have any quotes you’d like to share, I welcome your feedback and may even include your quote in a future post.

Body Image Role Models

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Body Image Role ModelsA lot of attention is given to celebrities who have enviable figures.  We’ve all seen magazine articles with such titles as “The Hottest Hollywood Bodies,” “Body after Baby,” and a multitude of other stories chronicling celebrity weight loss and body ideals showcased by the stars.  Similarly, many of us know “real people” with amazing physiques and we may compare our own bodies to theirs and find ourselves coming up short.  Seeing beautiful bodies can either motivate us or deflate our spirits, depending upon our mindsets and how we feel about our chances for achieving our body goals.

While it can be helpful to have body role models, it is even better to have body image role models, especially for those of us who are working to rehabilitate a negative body concept.  This post will highlight a few of my personal body image role models and show what I’ve learned from the women in my life who embody healthy attitudes toward their bodies.

Role Model #1 – Refreshing Friend

For much of my twenties and thirties, I found it exceedingly rare to meet a woman who didn’t continuously expound upon her diet and weight loss pursuits.  As someone who was desperately trying to overcome a deadly eating disorder, it was not healthy for me to engage in such discourse.

This is why I found it so refreshing to find one friend who didn’t waste a single moment disparaging her body or discussing her battles with weight and food.  She didn’t have to make an effort to avoid such talk; it simply didn’t occur to her to worry about these things.  She embraced her body for what it was, ate what she wanted when she was hungry, and went about her life.  Yes, it helped that she was naturally slim, enjoyed exercise and outdoor activities, and had grown up eating natural, healthy food.  However, as she gained weight in her late thirties and early forties (as can often be the case), she continued to love and accept her body and treat it with honor and respect.

Wrong Clothes, Not Wrong Body

I am grateful to this friend for being a body image role model to me for close to twenty years.  She showed me an alternate way of thinking and behaving in regards to body image, and it was healthy for me to spend time with someone who refrained from negative body talk and obsessive diet and exercise activities.

I remember shopping for clothes with my friend on a number of occasions. When she would try on garments that didn’t fit, she didn’t blame her body, as is common for women to do.  She either grabbed the next size up or decided the particular clothing style didn’t suit her and moved on to something else.  She knew she was just fine the way she was, that garment manufacturers tailored their clothing to particular body types, and it was just a matter of finding the right brand and style for her body.  In short, the clothes were wrong (for her), not her body.  A powerful distinction that is important to remember!

Role Model #2 – Confident Family Member

Another body image role model is a relative who has fluctuated in weight quite a bit over the years.  She has vacillated between having a tight, taut and fit figure and being dramatically overweight, and I never know how she will look when I see her.  However, no matter what she weighs, she has never expressed any feelings of shame toward her body.

This woman has no problem getting changed in front of others and will proudly strut around in the buff regardless of whether she’s thin or heavy.  She has a freedom around her body that I truly envy and greatly admire.   She also doesn’t make her weight mean anything about herself as a person.  She knows she is intelligent, capable, lovable, and fabulous no matter where the needle on the scale may fall.  She doesn’t let her body image dictate her self-image.  Who she is consists of infinitely more than what she weighs.  I aspire to be more like her in this regard and I honor her for what she’s taught me about body pride over the years.

Role Model #3 – She Loves Her Curves!

I have a new friend who is also a body role model for me.  This woman is beautifully curvy with a figure similar to the wonderful Christina Hendricks.  She proudly showcases her curves in body conscious clothing that makes the statement, “I love my body and enjoy showing it off.”  Her outfits are always beautifully put together and give off a powerfully confident “bombshell” vibe.

I already admired this woman, but then I learned she used to be sixty pounds heavier.  Amazingly, when she started to accept her body, take more pride in her appearance, and dress the body she had, she was able to drop the excess weight.

I could tell her story, but she chronicles it so beautifully herself in her own words that I will let you read it for yourselves.  Of note is that she reveals both her highest weight and her current weight in her article.  There is absolutely no shame attached to either number for her.  I aspire to be more like this amazing (and young!) woman.  That she was able to overcome her body image issues at such a young age is a tribute to both her strength and fortitude.

Lessons from My Role Models

In closing, I would like to recap the lessons I have learned from the three body image role models I briefly introduced above.  These three magnificent women have taught me the following:

  • There is so much more to life than dieting and weight loss.
  • All bodies are worthy of love and acceptance.
  • Take pride in your body regardless of its shape and size.
  • It is normal and natural for our bodies to change as we age.
  • Dress for the body you have, not the body you wish you had.
  • If clothes don’t fit you, your body isn’t bad or wrong!
  • Your body image should not dictate your self-image. You are not your weight or shape!
  • We all have positive body attributes that are worthy of showing off.

The list could go on and on, but the items above capture the most powerful lessons I’ve learned from my personal body image role models.

Body Love and Acceptance

When you look around for role models related to your body, I encourage you to search for those who will help you feel better about your body instead of worse.  I urge you to find those women in your life who embody body love and acceptance and who can help you develop those same desirable qualities.   We can all find bodies to admire and envy, but real growth and empowerment come from emulating those who can push you toward the ultimate prize, true body acceptance!