Christina Aguilera rose to fame as a teenager with her first hit song, "Genie in a Bottle," but the singer said it took her many years before she stopped comparing herself to other people and learned to love her body.
"I think we all have our good days and our bad days in how we feel about ourselves," said Aguilera, who graces the cover of the May issue of Health.
Aguilera, 40, opened up in the cover story about how she sometimes would feel insecure about her appearance, especially at the start of her career.
"Entering this business, I hated being super skinny. Once I turned 21, I started filling out a little bit, and I was loving my new curves. I appreciated having a booty," she said. "I’ve always said that women are way more interesting to look at than men!"
While Aguilera embraced her curves, she said she still doesn't love looking at photos of herself from early on in her music career when she struggled the most with body confidence.
"I have a hard time looking at the early pictures of myself because I remember feeling so insecure. I would never want to relive my 20s — you’re so in your own head and finding your confidence," she said. "As you age, you stop comparing yourself to other people and start appreciating your own body and owning it."
For Aguilera, beauty is found in true acceptance of her body.
"As much as I also love being a glam girl and playing dress-up for the camera, when it all comes off, that’s what’s ultimately most rewarding — being able to feel really good about who’s staring back at you in the mirror, because you’re owning all of it," she said.
As a mother of two, Aguilera said she is also careful to model self-acceptance, particularly for her daughter, Summer, 6, whom she shares with fiancé Matthew Rutler. (Aguilera shares son Max, 13, with her ex-husband, Jordan Bratman.)
"I am really careful if my daughter is there when I am doing photo shoots. I want to make sure that when she sees Mommy in hair and makeup that she realizes that’s not what’s important. If she needs my attention, I stop everything and look into her eyes and listen to her. I want to make sure she understands that this is part of Mommy's work, but that it’s what I create that matters more," she said. "There's no right or wrong way when it comes to my kids. I just really try to encourage them to be their own selves."
Aguilera's issue of Health goes on sale April 17.