What these celebs say about their bodies helps us feel great about ours.
"I’m never going to starve myself for a part… I don’t want little girls to be like, 'Oh, I want to look like Katniss, so I’m going to skip dinner.' That’s something I was really conscious of during training, when you’re trying to get your body to look exactly right. I was trying to get my body to look fit and strong — not thin and underfed."
— Elle, Dec. 2012
At the age 23, Jennifer Lawrence is an Academy Award-winning and three-time Academy Award-nominated actress…oh, and, you know, just the face of Dior. During the 2013 Academy Awards she said, "I forgot to eat because I was so stressed trying to leave the house, and I got in the car and I was starving. The [ceremony] is four hours long. I got in the car and could see the McDonald’s right there, so.…"
"I don’t feel like my work is dependent on my size. I feel like my work is dependent on the fact that I’m an everywoman. I’d be an everywoman if I lost 20 pounds or if I gained 50 pounds, because of my attitude and it’s my relationship to the world and the fact that like I have two front teeth that are bigger than the rest of my teeth."
— Time, April 2012
Dunham, 27-year-old writer and star of "Girls," is no stranger to criticism, especially about her appearance on- and off-camera. One of the most controversial "Girls" episodes involved her character having a two-day hook-up with a character played by Patrick Wilson. Critics claimed the actor was way out of her league. Dunham’s response? In a June 2013 interview to the LA Times: "Dude, I get it. It felt weird to kiss an actor that looked like Patrick Wilson. I get so tired of having to cry out ‘misogyny,’ but that's what's going on in this situation. People questioning the idea that a woman could sleep with a man who defied her lot in the looks bracket hews so closely to these really outdated ideas about what makes a woman worth spending time with. Really? Can you not imagine a world in which a girl who's sexually down for anything and oddly gregarious pulls a guy out of his shell for two days? They're not getting married. They're spending two days [having sex], which is something that people do."
"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."
— "Extra," Oct. 2013
Known for showing up to interviews in bright-colored track suits, Rebel Wilson approaches her appearance with realism, as well as a sense of humor. In movies like "Bachelorette" and "Pitch Perfect," Wilson, 28, has played character roles that build upon her weight and uses her size and other people’s perception of her as comedic material. While she never strives to be stick-thin, she acknowledges that health is an important part of being successful. To write, star, and produce a show, it’s important to have stamina because her job requires a lot of energy, she told Cosmoplitan in 2013.
"There's a whole list of things I would probably change about myself. For example, I'm always trying to lose 15 pounds. But I never need to be skinny. I don't want to be skinny. I'm constantly in a state of self-improvement.'
— Vogue, April 2014
In "The Mindy Project," Kaling’s character hardly ever has time to work out. (Kind of the reality that most of us live, isn’t it?) Yet, she exudes total confidence and doesn’t hate herself for it.
The 34-year-old Kaling is pretty much the same in real life. She says that she does barre exercises and takes an occasional spin class to stay in shape, but she never beats herself up about it. Kaling describes herself in her book "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?" as falling into the "nebulous ‘North American Woman Size.'" Her philosophy? People would benefit a lot from spending less time dwelling on personal appearance, and more time appreciating and enjoying who they are.
"I think that whatever size or shape body you have, it's important to embrace it and get down! The female body is something that's so beautiful. I wish women would be proud of their bodies and not dis other women for being proud of theirs!"
— Marie Claire, Feb. 2012
While Aguilera has faced criticism for being on both ends of the scale, she has managed to stay positive about her body image. "I don't weigh myself — it's all about how I feel in my clothes. What looks good on one person might not look good on another body type. I happen to be very confident in my own skin. It takes time to get to that place, but it's all about embracing yourself and your body," Aguilera said in a Marie Claire interview.
"The Voice" star told Jay Leno in 2013 that she felt sexier than ever.
Now at age 33 and expecting her second child, Aguilera has a lot to feel good and confident about.
Remember those "Beautiful" lyrics? Well, in case you forgot: "I am beautiful no matter what they say/Words can't bring me down/I am beautiful in every single way/Yes, words can't bring me down/So don't you bring me down today."
"I've never wanted to look like models on the cover of magazines. I represent the majority of women and I'm very proud of that."
— People, Feb. 2012
Adele has never let other people’s opinions about her weight interfere with her music or her success. In February 2012, Chanel savant Karl Lagerfeld told a Paris newspaper that Adele was "a little too fat." As fans turned against him, Lagerfeld quickly apologized by lavishing her with luxe Chanel handbags. In an interview that same year for "60 Minutes" with Anderson Cooper, the 25-year-old singer said: 'I don't want to be some skinny mini with my t*** out. I really don't want to do it and I don't want people confusing what it is that I'm about."
"Whether I put on weight or take it off, someone’s got something to say, so what I’ve figured is this: As long as I’m healthy and happy, cool. I’m just me — take it or leave it. And personally, I think I’m looking good!"
— The Daily Mail, May 26, 2012
Ever since winning "American Idol" in 2002, Kelly Clarkson has had her self-esteem and body picked apart by the public. She has been open about her struggles and describes herself as an eating-disorder survivor. Now, 32, Clarkson is confident in the woman she’s become. As a wife and soon-to-be mom, Clarkson manages to stay true to herself, while producing numerous hits. The negative criticism has only made her that much "Stronger."
"I have a crumble baby belly, boobs are worse for wear after two kids... I'm doing all right. I'm 33. I don't look in the mirror and go, 'Oh, I look fantastic!' Of course I don't. Nobody is perfect. I just don't believe in perfection. But I do believe in saying, 'This is who I am and look at me not being perfect!' I'm proud of that.'"
--The Sydney Morning Herald, 2008
Now 38, the acclaimed actress and mom of two has topped many a Best-of-Body-Image list thanks to her dedication to promoting a real, healthy, attainable image of beauty. Remember when she publicly blasted British GQ in 2003 for airbrushing away most of her body? "I do not look like that and more importantly I don’t desire to look like that," she said.
In 2009, the "Titanic" star successfully sued a British magazine that had falsely stated she had visited a diet doctor. And in 2011, Winslet partnered with fellow actresses Emma Thompson and Rachel Weisz to form the British Anti-Cosmetic Surgery League, promising that they would never undergo plastic surgery to alter their appearances and encouraging others to follow their lead.
When asked by Italian Vanity Fair in 2012 if she was tired about discussing her weight, Kate responded: "I believe it is important to go on insisting that normality is not what we are exposed to. 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." Winslet puts her money where her mouth is — and we always love what comes out of it.
"I'm pretty comfortable with my body. I'm imperfect. The imperfections are there. People are going to see them, but I take the view you only live once."
— The Telegraph, 2010
At age 35, Kate Hudson is a celebrity that is constantly being photographed — and, most of the time, wearing only a bikini. She has always tried to be a positive role model to young women.
In 2006 she sued the English version of The National Enquirer after it claimed she had an eating disorder. She was afraid of the impact this false statement would have on her fans. When British Elle asked about her diet in 2010, Hudson said, "It's important to be conscious of your health and not indulge too much in the things that are bad for you. Do I mind having my appearance constantly scrutinized? I don't have enough time on this planet to worry about things like that. I'm more concerned with if I'm raising my son properly, with what makes my family happy, with what makes me happy."
"To people making mean comments about my GG pics, I mos def cried about it on that private jet on my way to my dream job last night. #JK"
— Twitter @GabbySidibe
Weighing in at about 350 pounds, the 30-year-old star radiates the kind of confidence not even seen in supermodels.
That’s not to say Sidibe has never battled body-image demons: Her first diet started when she was just 6 years old, she told Oprah in 2009. "I've never been a small girl," she said. "One day I had to sit down with myself and decide that I loved myself no matter what my body looked like and what other people thought about my body…I got tired of feeling bad all the time." Now, that’s a precious sentiment we love.
"I love my snaggle fangs. They give me character and character is sexy."
— Elle UK, Sept. 2011
While Americans spend billions of dollars on tooth-whitening treatments and porcelain veneers, the 31-year-old Spider Man actress has chosen not to change her chompers just to fit the mainstream aesthetic — despite nagging from her own mother to do so. Like Jewel and Anna Paquin, Dunst proves that you don’t need perfect teeth to have a gorgeous, radiant smile.
"I was one of the only girls in my high school that didn’t get [a nose job]. And if anybody needed it, I probably did. But my mom always told me, growing up, 'Barbra Streisand didn’t get a nose job. You’re not getting a nose job.' And I didn’t. That’s why I’m proud to be on a positive show and to be a voice for girls and say, 'You don’t need to look like everybody else. Love who you are.'"
— GQ, Nov. 2010
When it comes to working out, Lea Michele keeps it simple — biking, outdoors, gym. "Working out for me is something I do when I feel like it. But it’s really about feeling good and taking care of my body rather than having to fit into any sort of model or anything like that. I try to eat well, and everything I do is really just to make me feel my best so that I can come to my job or my personal life and just feel really good," she said to Shape in August 2012.
Bravo to the 27-year-old "Glee" star for not going under the knife just to fit into some cookie-cutter definition of beauty.
"My main beauty tip is don't say that negative thing when you look in the mirror. It just isn't healthy…That lack of beating up on ourselves — that's my new mantra. Happiness is the best makeup; a smile is better than any lipstick you'll put on."
— Women's Health, Dec. 2013
Too often we forget that our body allows us to walk, run, dance, work, workout, hug, kiss, read, hear, see, taste and much, much more. As 39-year-old Barrymore — who admittedly battled a distorted body image for years — points out, it’s vital that we step back and thank our bodies for allowing us to live the lives we want. In the grand scheme of things, a few extra pounds don’t make a difference at all. Now a new mom, Barrymore doesn’t push her body to extremes in order achieve a perfect post-baby body.
"It's about feeling good in clothes and knowing you can get dressed up in an evening and work it for a minute," she explained to Women’s Health. "You know, maybe get back into a certain pair of jeans, but there's just no such thing as perfection. If you're trying to get there, you're just torturing yourself."
Jamie Lee Curtis
"The more I like me, the less I want to pretend to be other people."
— Family Circle, April 2006
You may recognize her as the Activia spokesmodel, but this statuesque beauty became a body-image game-changer in 2002 when she posed for More magazine wearing only underwear — no makeup, no hairstyling, no airbrushing, nada; on the next page, the magazine showed a glam Jamie in an evening gown, with the disclaimer that her transformation took 13 people and 3 hours. It took the 55-year-old actress decades to feel truly comfortable within her own skin and we applaud her bravery in refusing to perpetuate the fraudulent notion that everyone in Hollywood looks camera-ready, all the time. Curtis has even written confidence-boosting children’s books, with titles like "I'm Gonna Like Me: Letting Off a Little Self-Esteem."
"When I wake up in the morning, I feel just like any other insecure 24-year-old girl. Then I say, ‘You’re Lady Gaga, you get up and walk the walk today.'"
— Rolling Stone, July 2010
After being fat-shamed by the press in 2012 for gaining 25 pounds, Lady Gaga took to her blog, revealing that she has battled with anorexia and bulimia since age 15. She writes, "[I am] not conventionally beautiful. If there was some sort of mathematical equation for beauty, I don’t know if I would be the algorithm. I’ve always been OK with that. I’m not a supermodel. That’s not what I do. What I do is music. I want my fans to feel the way I do, to know what they have to offer is just as important, more important, than what’s happening on the outside."
Now, at age 28, she has come to accept her stardom and her appearance, despite public scrutiny. She has since invested $1.2 million of her own money to launch the Born This Way Foundation in 2011, an organization that promotes a more accepting society and combats bullying.
Whether she’s dressed as a mermaid in a wheelchair or has machine gun fire shooting from her tatas, one thing is clear: Lady Gaga makes no apologies for who she is. Gaga is all about self-empowerment, whether you’re gay or straight, black or white, heavy or thin. 'Cuz baby, you were born this way.
A version of this article originally appeared on iVillage.