As perfect as their lives may seem, celebrities are indeed human like the rest of us. They get sad, they doubt themselves and (though it may seem surprising to the rest of us) they get insecure about their bodies.
Because of celebrities’ presence in the public eye and the undeniable influence that they and their representation in the media can have on others, one could argue that famous folks have an even bigger responsibility to spread messages of body positivity. Thankfully, many of them do just that, and oftentimes, these messages stem from genuine struggles they’ve had with their own appearance and hate from trolls. We’ve collected all the best advice from your favorite stars to let you know how important it is to love yourself, and why it doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks about how you look.
1. Demi Lovato
Demi has been open in the past about her eating disorder and her journey to loving herself and her body. She’s been vocal about her ups and downs with body image, but as she tweeted in April 2017, she’s learned to look past superficial labels.
“Sometimes when I’m having bad body image issue days, I remind myself that I’d rather live in freedom from my eating disorder than worry about what people think about my body,” she said. “I am more than a number and a jean size. Fuck yeah!”
Sometimes when I’m having bad body image issue days, I remind myself that I’d rather live in freedom from my eating disorder than worry
— Demi Lovato (@ddlovato) April 11, 2017
about what people think about my body. I am more than a number and a jean size. Fuck yeah!
— Demi Lovato (@ddlovato) April 11, 2017
We couldn’t agree more; numbers don’t matter one bit.
Like Demi, Rihanna has also denounced the obsession with size that modern society, especially the fashion industry, has perpetuated. In an interview with The Daily Mail, Rihanna used her savvy for fashion to explain the thinking behind the size zero glorification.
“They know that if we see an outfit on a mannequin in a shop window we will love it and want to buy it whatever size we are. That’s why they have size zero models—they want to sell clothes,” she said.
She then took the opportunity to remind us why we shouldn’t waste our time or sacrifice our health to attain that image. “You have to remember that it’s not practical or possible for an everyday woman to look like that,” Rihanna emphasized. “Being size zero is a career in itself so we shouldn’t try and be like them. It’s not realistic and it’s not healthy,”
Love yourself the way you are; you’ll come out the other side much happier if you’re focused on health instead of unattainable beauty standards.
3. Aly Raisman
On set with my aerie family yesterday Always so grateful to be a part of such a loving and supportive group. Aerie cares SO much about making a positive impact on the world. It’s really special and inspiring. I hope other brands will soon follow the NO RETOUCHING. It’s been empowering for me to shoot with them a bunch of times. I feel so lucky And I also want to wear this hot pink outfit everyday of my life!!! I love pink #breastcancerawareness
Aly Raisman absolutely crushed her time in the limelight during the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. But even though we can all agree now that she’s a fantastic gymnast, there was a time when social assumptions about her body held her back from those dreams.
“It’s hard when you’re in leotard all the time and you’re comparing yourself and you don’t know if you look good and you feel insecure,” Raisman said an interview with Elle. She even mentioned that she was originally told she didn’t have the “right” body for gymnastics. “I obviously proved them wrong,” she added. An icon.
Raisman is now an Aerie #REAL Role Model, and posed in some photos for their campaign that aimed to highlight non-retouched photos.
She clarified, “It’s important to me that all women and girls know that just because I pose in a bra and underwear, it does not mean I always feel confident about my body. Everyone should be proud of their bodies no matter what size they are, period.”
4. Ashley Graham
Ashley Graham has, for some time, been making waves as one of the more well-known plus-size models of today, and that’s led her to focus on speaking out about body positivity and loving yourself just the way you are. She’s seriously committed to her message, too: she even let the New York Times record her with 100 cameras in 3D holographic motion without a single bit of digital alteration.
Working as a model, she clearly understands the implications and impacts her career can have. “If you are constantly showing an altered woman in media, what is that little girl going to go and do when she looks in the mirror and doesn’t see smoothed-out skin, or almond eyes, or a pinched nose and plumped-up lips?” she asked.
Despite her own struggles with being told she was “too fat” and wouldn’t have a big break like thinner models, Graham persisted and it clearly paid off. She hasn’t lost her love for her body, either—as she puts it, “People ask, ‘How do you get your confidence?’ And it’s like how wouldn’t I have confidence? Or they will say, ‘You are so brave for putting on that swimsuit.’ Well why wouldn’t I do that? That’s not called bravery—that is called putting on a swimsuit. Everybody has their idea of what beauty is or what perfect is or what the right shape is and they just express it in a different ways.”
5. Sarah Hyland
Sarah Hyland is well-known for being associated with body positivity—after all, she’s notorious for having great responses toward insensitive trolls online. A few years back, Hyland faced criticism saying that she was “too skinny” while dealing with kidney dysplasia, which resulted in her getting a kidney transplant. For some reason, haters on the Internet decided to make snide comments telling Hyland to “eat a burger,” and she was having none of it.
She wrote, “I am not a fan of ‘being skinny’ which many of you have told me that I am too much of … but considering I’ve basically been on bed rest for the past few months, I’ve lost a lot of muscle mass. My circumstances have put me in a place where I’m not in control of what my body looks like. So, I strive to be as healthy as possible, as everyone should.” She concluded her message with a simple statement: “Strong > Skinny.”
In other words, Sarah Hyland is not here for your slander.
Kesha has come a long way throughout her career, but one of her more personal transformations was overcoming an eating disorder. She told Cosmopolitan that “it was scary, but I finally put my foot down and chose life,” and we’re so grateful she did, because the revelations she had while learning to love herself again are so important.
“That was a huge turning point,” Kesha revealed. “I’m not a size. I’m not a number. I am a strong, badass, motherf—ing woman, and quite frankly, I like my junk. Ten years ago, I never thought I’d be able to say that.”
Ten years ago, we didn’t know Kesha as much more than a glitter-fueled pop star, but now, we call her a role model with nothing but pride and respect.
Lorde, who was a teenager when she got her big break with debut album Pure Heroine, is no stranger to body shamers. According to Teen Vogue, the New Zealand singer’s first brushes with fame seriously changed her attitude toward her appearance. “I remember being made aware of my looks and my body in a way that I had never been,” she said. “[People online] were like, ‘F*ck her, she’s got really far-apart eyes.’ I remember being like, ‘Whoa! How did I get all this way without knowing I had far-apart eyes?’ Just weird sh*t like that. It rocked my foundations.”
Of course, Lorde has grown up a fair bit since then, and she has no problem clapping back toward body shamers.
“If I see some weird body-shaming on my feed I’m going to be like, ‘Hey man…” she said, referring to the time Diplo had a feud with Lorde’s BFF Taylor Swift. Women supporting women, especially when it comes to body positivity, is our everything.
Celebrities really aren’t all that different from us. Just like we may look in the mirror and not be 100 percent satisfied with what we see, so too do celebrities have bouts of insecurity. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible to love ourselves—beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, and ultimately, it’s what you make it, not what society tells you it should be.