One of the refreshing changes of recent entertainment is the fact that our actors and actresses aren’t always thin. While the majority of them advocate towards a healthy lifestyle, they know the true meaning of healthy – and won’t necessarily turn down a piece of pizza if it’s offered. They realize that true talent shines through regardless of their appearance, and they’re ideal role models for children (and adults!) today.
Here are ten fierce and fabulous women who have an amazing attitude towards body image, and deserve a little recognition.
1. Jennifer Lawrence
I think it’s safe to say that Jennifer is the current front-runner for “America’s Sweetheart”. Not only do her fumbles and sense of humor make her extremely likable, but she’s incredibly self aware and can laugh off incidents that other celebrities might take to heart (like, falling a bunch.) She’s become an icon to girls everywhere, and for all of the right reasons.
“I think when it comes to the media, the media needs to take responsibility for the effect that it has on our younger generation, on these girls that are watching these television shows and picking up how to talk and how to be cool,” she said to Barbara Walters in an interview last year. “… And the word fat! I just think it should be illegal to call somebody fat on TV. I mean, if we’re regulating cigarettes and sex and cuss words because of the effect it has on our younger generation, why aren’t we regulating things like calling people fat?”
Jennifer, who has refused to lose weight for roles, also fought for her Hunger Games character to have a more realistic figure in an effort to set a positive example to younger fans. You rock, JLaw.
2. Lena Dunham
Think back to the episode of Girls, where Lena wore a bikini throughout the entire episode. While the idea of shopping for groceries without a shirt on might make you cringe, Lena’s character was supremely confident – just like Lena herself. In fact, there are so many Hannah nudity scenes in the show because Lena is trying to make a statement – bodies come in all shapes and sizes, and we shouldn’t necessarily cringe when we see a curvier body on screen.
“I think about my body as a tool to do the stuff I need to do, but not the be all and end all of my existence. Which sounds like I spent a week at a meditation retreat, but it’s genuinely how I feel,” she said in an interview this year with Gothamist.
3. Kristen Bell
Kristen Bell has pretty much had the world’s best few years. Besides having a baby with husband Dax Shepard, she also successfully got many celebrity tabloids to back off of taking baby pictures. Also – you’ve probably heard something about the Veronica Mars movie by now, right?
It was absolutely refreshing to hear that losing her post-baby weight wasn’t her top priority, since many women feel self conscious about the way their body looks after giving birth. With most celebrities, they have all of the time and help in the world to morph back into how they looked nine months prior, but it’s unrealistic to the majority of new mothers today.
“I had to surrender to not worrying about the way I looked, how much I weighed, because that’s just part of the journey of having a baby. I am not a woman whose self-worth comes from her dress size,” she said last year to Huffington Post.
4. Mindy Kaling
One thing we love about Mindy, besides her amazing writing skills (she did pen my favorite episode of The Office, you know), is the fact that her views on her body are absolutely normal. As in, she knows she has imperfections, but her goal isn’t to be perfect.
In a brand new interview with Vogue, Mindy stated “I’m always trying to lose fifteen pounds. But I never need to be skinny. I don’t want to be skinny. I’m constantly in a state of self-improvement, but I don’t beat myself up over it.”
This year, there was also a debate over Mindy’s cover of Elle magazine. While the magazine featured many beautiful women in television on alternate covers, Mindy’s was a close-up of her face opposed to a full body shot. Critics were quick to point it out, despite the fact that Mindy felt great about the shoot.
“I love my @ELLEmagazine cover,” she tweeted soon after. “It made me feel glamorous & cool. And if anyone wants to see more of my body, go on thirteen dates with me.” Love it.
5. Amy Poehler
If you’re not familiar with Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, immediately go and subscribe to the videos on YouTube. Amy’s “Ask Amy” segments are inspiring for all ages. The video above focuses on body image, and how to find love.
“There’s only, like, five perfectly symmetrical people in the world, and they’re all movie stars, and they should be, because their faces are very pleasing to look at, but the rest of us are just a jangle of stuff, and the earlier you learn that you should focus on what you have and not obsess about what you don’t have, the happier you will be,” she says in the video above. Why wasn’t she there to give me advice when I was a pre-teen?
6. Tina Fey
Amy’s bestie Tina is also an amazing example of a strong, talented woman who doesn’t let body image issues stand in her way. After all, she created Liz Lemon – a woman who ate so many Sabor De Soledad off-brand chips that it messed up the results of a pregnancy test. And that didn’t stop her from eating those chips! Need I remind you of the fact that she used her treadmill as a way to hang up her ham-stained wedding dress (before she was engaged)?
Let me just place this long quote from Tina’s book Bossypants here, and it’ll perfectly describe how she sees the standard of beauty today:
“I think the first real change in women’s body image came when JLo turned it butt-style. That was the first time that having a large-scale situation in the back was part of mainstream American beauty. Girls wanted butts now. Men were free to admit that they had always enjoyed them. And then, what felt like moments later, boom—Beyoncé brought the leg meat. A back porch and thick muscular legs were now widely admired. And from that day forward, women embraced their diversity and realized that all shapes and sizes are beautiful. Ah ha ha. No. I’m totally messing with you. All Beyonce and JLo have done is add to the laundry list of attributes women must have to qualify as beautiful. Now every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama, and doll tits. The person closest to actually achieving this look is Kim Kardashian, who, as we know, was made by Russian scientists to sabotage our athletes.”
7. Rebel Wilson
I was first introduced to Rebel through Bridesmaids, and thought she was insanely talented. It looks like the world agreed, since she’s been booked with projects since the film was released.
After rumors circulated that Rebel was on board to be the next Weight Watchers spokesmodel, she quickly denied the rumor, stating on Extra that “When it comes to body image, I don’t really care what I look like that much, and I think women out there should just be happy with the way they look. They shouldn’t really try to conform to any kind of stereotype. Just be happy and hopefully healthy.”
She went on to say that her main focus is being healthy. “You see other actresses who are like ‘Oh, I can’t really eat much lunch today because I’ve got that scene in my underwear’… I’m a little bit chill. But you know, what you do need is stamina. I don’t ever want to be too unhealthy because writing in a show, starring and producing, you need a lot of energy.”
Since Tina name-checked Beyoncé, it’s probably good to see what Queen Bey’s personal feelings about body image are – and no surprise here, she’s got an amazing outlook on women today. In fact, she tackled the topic through her visual album this past December.
“Blonder hair, flat chest/ TV says bigger is better/ South Beach, sugar free/ Vogue says thinner is better,” she sings in Pretty Hurts. Meanwhile, the pageant-style video shows judges measuring Beyoncé’s stomach with tape and focusing on her thighs, while trying to prep her for the stage.
In the past, Beyoncé has opened up about her personal weight issues – however, lyrics like “Perfection is the disease of the nation” have proven that she’s moved beyond her doubts and realized that you can be an absolute rockstar regardless of your size.
9. Kate Winslet
Who doesn’t adore Kate Winslet? Not only is she talented, but she’s gorgeous – and openly proud of her body. In an interview with Vanity Fair Italia in 2012, she opened up about some of the pressures that Hollywood starlets have in regards to being on a strict diet and exercise regime.
“I believe it is important to go on insisting that normality is not what we are exposed to,” she said. “Honestly, among my acquaintances there is no woman wearing XS. No, sorry, there is one: my daughter. The point is that Mia is 11 years old.”
Kate stated a few times that she never thought she’d be an actress, since she was a heavyset child. Perhaps this is why she’s such an important icon for women today – she proved herself wrong. Despite the fear and the doubt, she overcame her own doubt and became the stunning, talented icon she is today.
10. Melissa McCarthy
Before Melissa blew everyone away in Bridesmaids, fans of Gilmore Girls knew her as Sookie – the bumbling (well – in season one at least) chef and best friend of Lorelai. However, once word spread about how hilarious this girl was, she became an unstoppable force. She’s literally saved movies that wouldn’t have been half as funny without her. And yes, she’s bigger than your standard Hollywood star. So what?
In 2013, Rex Reed from the New York Observer made some false and cruel comments about Melissa, referring to her as “tractor-sized” and “a gimmick comedian who has devoted her short career to being obese and obnoxious with equal success.”
Since Melissa is a classy and confident woman, she responded accordingly. “I felt really bad for someone who is swimming in so much hate,” she told New York Times writer Dave Itzkoff. “I just thought, that’s someone who’s in a really bad spot, and I am in such a happy spot. I laugh my head off every day with my husband and my kids who are mooning me and singing me songs.”
While she admitted that the harsh criticism would have hurt her feelings decades ago, she’s more concerned that Rex’s comment might bring the wrong idea to children “that are not in a place in their life where they can say, ‘That doesn’t reflect on me.’”
In More magazine, she revealed that she used to be thinner – but actually feels happiest at her current weight. Back then, it was far more stressful and time consuming to focus on numbers. “If I was a 6 or an 8, I thought, ‘Why aren’t I a 2 or a 4?’ Now I feel like I have two great kids and the dreamiest husband on the planet, and everything else is just a work in progress.”
Who are some of your favorite inspirational celebrities?