Celebrity body image issues — 14 stars who've been honest about their battles Advertisement

Celebrity body image issues — 14 stars who’ve been honest about their battles

Never be shy to stand up for your body

By Shweta Gandhi  March 26th, 2018

Being a celebrity is synonymous with being scrutinised for every move you make — whether it’s in your career, relationships or personal life, everything is openly dissected and debated. However, sometimes, it’s the stars themselves who come openly speak about issues affecting their lives, in a bid to create awareness. These celebrity body image issues blow the lid wide open on many taboo subjects, from post-pregnancy complications (as in the case of Kim Kardashian) to body shaming (like Sonam Kapoor has dealt with). 

Whether it’s brought on by the Internet trolls who feel body shaming others is a right they were born with, or the fears and insecurities of the celebrities themselves, it’s safe to say that talking about celebrity body image issues publicly helps countless women all over the globe relate and empathise, creating a spirit of solidarity.

From Sonam Kapoor to Kim Kardashian, here are leading Bollywood and Hollywood stars who have openly discussed body issues and conquered their fears, one at a time.

Celebrities who didn’t shy away from battling their body issues:

A couple of months ago, Selena Gomez revealed that she had undergone a kidney transplant since her kidneys were ravaged from Lupus. The surgery left a huge scar on her leg, and in a recent vacation picture, Selena openly showed it off. "The beauty myth — an obsession with physical perfection that traps modern woman in an endless cycle of hopelessness, self consciousness, and self-hatred as she tries to fulfill society’s impossible definition of flawless beauty. I chose to take care of myself because I want to, not to prove anything to anyone," the actor said in an Instagram post.

Selena Gomez

Starting her career at the impressionable age of 9, Selena has been dealing with public comments regarding her body for longer than most others. Last year, during an interview at On Air With Ryan Seacrest, Selena addressed the body shamers, saying: "I did gain weight, but I don’t care. It wasn’t about how I gained weight, it was about how I embraced it. And that’s just kind of my approach." We couldn't agree more.

Khloé Kardashian

In January, Khloé revealed on her show Revenge Bodies how she was body shamed by her family and pressured to lose weight because it was tarnishing their public image. "[They said] "Khloé, you got to lose weight 'cause you’re really hurting the brand", she recalled. "I’m a huge believer of it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it... I understand that was coming from my management side of my family, but it does hurt." In another interview, Khloé spoke about how being compared to her sisters had affected her mental health. "Being compared to my sisters is something I was used to. But being compared in such a harsh way I just thought, "Okay, that's my role." So I started saying it before people. I was like, "Okay, I'm the fat, funny sister. Who cares?" I almost let that take ownership of me. I wasn't fat; I wasn't obese, but I would let society make me believe I was."

"Sometimes it's hard for me to post these transformation posts only because I can't imagine my life being this unhealthy again. Never would I ever consider myself fat, But I would consider myself unhealthy mentally/physically and not knowing my true value. Mind, body and soul. For me, my transformation journey started from within. I needed to heal myself from the inside out. Once I started putting myself first, everything started falling into place. My life transformed a few years ago when I made the decision to stop existing and start living. I decided when I was ready regardless of what anybody else was saying about me. Regardless of the pressures. I had to do this on my terms or I knew it wouldn't last. It's ok to take the control back. Choose your life. Don't let anybody else decide for you! We are no victims to life but we can become victims and prisoners to the people that we choose to surround ourselves with if we allow them to break us and consume us. Never be afraid to put yourself first! Never choose comfort over your own well-being! Never forget that fate loves the fearless! Today's wisdom was yesterday's pain. Tomorrow's happiness is today's bravery! I am so proud of myself for being stronger than I've ever been-mind body and soul. I am even prouder of myself that I've been able to maintain a healthy lifestyle for so many years. I broke that cycle and I'm happier than I have ever been! You can do this!! Start from within and nothing can stop you. Elevate yourself- mind body and soul," she wrote in an Instagram post.

Kim Kardashian West

It took a lot of time for Kim Kardashian West to accept her body post pregnancy. "During my first pregnancy, I just wanted to cover up. I wasn't used to how being pregnant made me feel, and I honestly had a hard time being comfortable with it. The second time around, it was easier for me to embrace the changes. I loved finding looks that showed off my pregnancy curves," she revealed.

More importantly, Kim is setting an example for her daughter to follow. "As North gets older, she'll start to be more aware of herself and her body. Her attitude toward her body is directly related to my own, so it's my responsibility to make sure she understands that positive body image comes from having a healthy self-esteem," she said in an interview.

"I may be 'too skinny' for u, honestly this skinny isn’t what I want to be, but I feel healthier internally and am still learning and growing with my body everyday, as everyone is. I will not further explain the way my body looks, just as anyone, with a body type that doesn't suit ur 'beauty' expectation, shouldn't have to. Not to judge others, but drugs are not my thing, stop putting me in that box just because u don't understand the way my body has matured," she continued.

Gigi Hadid

While walking for New York Fashion Week Fall 2018, Gigi Hadid was criticised for being "too skinny." The supermodel soon took to Twitter to slam her body shamers by revealing that her "thinness" was because she was suffering from Hashimoto's disease, a thyroid disorder. "For those of you so determined to come up w why my body has changed over the years, you may not know that when I started @ 17 I was not yet diagnosed w/ Hashimoto’s disease; those of u who called me “too big for the industry” were seeing inflammation & water retention due to that," she tweeted.

Bhumi Pednekar

Bhumi Pednekar was close to 90 kilos when she made her debut in Dum Laga Ke Haisha. But never did she feel that the 23 kilos she added on for the film made her feel insecure. "I don’t have a problem with being overweight. That’s fine. But there’s a thin line between being unhealthy and overweight,” she said in an interview. Due to health reasons, Bhumi worked towards regularising her diet and fitness regime, and went on to lose 33 kilos.

However, she is no stranger to being picked on for her weight. "[As a kid] There were days I felt low when I was teased for my weight. Even as siblings when we would fight, there were times my younger sister would pick on my weight... The only thing that kept me sane and going was that every time I went back home, I was always told that you are very beautiful. If your family supports you and accepts you for what you are, it brings a lot of confidence in the child. My parents never made my weight an issue. They were never embarrassed of my weight. They treated me with a lot of love and respect and didn’t care about how I looked, what I wore, what height or weight I was. It helped me grow into a mature and confident person. Because I went through teasing and peer pressure in school, I can empathise with the pressures that girls with a large frame may go through," she said in an interview.

Huma Qureshi

Huma Qureshi has become a body positive icon for many women who've always shied away from their curves. The actress is content with how she looks, and does not let that restrict her in her choice of outfits. She has also openly spoken about body shaming: “There are a lot of people out there who are just bullies. They constantly keep telling you that you are too fat, too thin, your teeth are not fine, you can’t speak English really well, and you are too short etc. Bullies will be bullies and I think body shaming is something that people all over the world are condoning and condemning because it’s not cool. We need to set better role models for young women," she said.

“I would like to say this for the record that I am not trying to lose weight or gain weight. I am just trying to be the best version of myself and that’s really important,” she added

How Sonam Kapoor, Deepika Padukone and company confronted body image issues:

Priyanka Chopra

The Quantico actress recently appeared as a guest co-host on The View and revealed her brush with body shaming early on in her career. "Before I became an actor, I met a producer about the possibility of acting. I was a beauty pageant winner at that time, Miss World. And he said that everything was wrong about me. He said my nose was not proportionate, the shape of my body was not proportionate." Priyanka went on to criticize the standards by which women across the world are judged. "There is such a false perception about what women should look like and what our bodies should look like. Especially when you are in the (film) business, you put on a couple of pounds and people are like..body shaming you. It happens. Christmas happens to all of us. I am an Indian. I have Holi, I have Diwali, I have hundred holidays and my body fluctuates and you know what... I am fine with it."

Deepika Padukone

Deepika has been vocal about the objectification of women, especially actors, by members of the media, especially after her spat with a leading daily. She wrote an open letter addressing the problem. "I have no issue celebrating my body and I have never shied away from anything on-screen to portray a character. My issue is you propagating the objectification of a REAL person, and not a character being played. Sure, dissect my characters if you wish — if it is of so much interest, then discuss the character’s cup size and leg length if it is relevant to making the role convincing. All I am asking for is respect as a woman off-screen," she wrote.

Parineeti Chopra

Parineeti Chopra was equally lauded and criticized for shedding a ton of weight and getting fit, with the opposing camp accusing her of selling out and changing herself to fit Bollywood's standards of beauty, as she was one of the few 'real' women in the industry. The actress countered all those arguments by talking about how she never asked for that tag and getting fit was something she had done as she didn't feel good about herself anymore. "I was not happy with the way I used to look. I didn’t have the confidence and the freedom to wear what I wanted. I was always restricted by clothes. I would see how I looked in photographs and on screen and constantly felt, ‘Oh my God, I wish I was looking better’. I always used to feel that and many people used to ask, ‘Are you comfortable with your body and are you trying to make a statement by your body type?’ And I would be like, ‘Please, no, this is what I am’. I was really trying to lose weight, but I never went to the gym. I never worked out, I never did anything that would help me lose weight."

Sonam Kapoor

Sonam Kapoor has never shied from talking about her weight loss before joining Bollywood, even going as far as to discuss how magazines had to retouch her thighs because of her cellulite. She opens up about her struggle with body image issues in a piece she wrote for Buzzfeed, in which she wrote about how celebrities and their over-zealous team of make-up artists and stylists present an illusion of perfection that is toxic to young girls who are looking up to them for inspiration.

"Like every girl, I spent many nights through adolescence leaning into my bedroom mirror, wondering why my body looked nothing like it should. Why does my belly crease? Why do my arms jiggle? Why am I not fair? Why are there dark patches under my eyes? Why am I taller than boys my age? Do stretch marks ever go away? Will this cellulite stay forever? "Itni lambi, itni kaali," a relative casually let slip at a family gathering. "Shaadi kaun karega?" It confirmed that my greatest insecurities were well-founded," she wrote, "I constantly worried that, if asked to dance in a backless choli, rolls of back fat would give me away as an imposter to the industry. Nobody lines up to buy tickets to see cellulite. The ball is in the media's court to celebrate fit bodies rather than thin ones, and to know the difference. I know now that there's nothing wrong with stretch marks, cellulite, or scars. They're markers of our growth. There's beauty in their realness."

Alia Bhatt

Alia Bhatt was not conventionally beautiful or thin and that was a problem. This is not us talking, it's what her first director and mentor Karan Johar thought when he first met her. Even though he was blown away by her confidence and charisma, he still recommended that she lose the extra weight and come back. "To feel healthy from the inside takes effort. For that, following a basic workout regime is necessary, even if it’s just a daily walk," she confessed in our November 2016 issue.

Sonakshi Sinha

Sonakshi Sinha admits that she felt the pressure of conforming to  society's standards of beauty and fitness. The Lootera actress once said, "I think actors are under pressure to look perfect all the time. However, it depends on the particular person, on how you feel that pressure. I have always been projected as a healthy body image,” she added, "I know that young girls take us as an inspiration. They follow us in every way. Therefore, I don’t want to give any wrong message regarding health-related issues. What I feel is that you have to be healthy and happy if you want to do something noteworthy in your life."

Like any other celebrity, she faces a lot of trolls online who attack her especially for her weight. Sonakshi tackled them head on with an Instagram post that featured an image of a skeleton, captioning it, "To all those who keep commenting on my weight, whether it's a full picture, or a close-up where you can't see jack. Take a good look at this picture. Now get this: 1) this aint ever gonna be me 2) get over it. 3) i wish u could see which finger i hold up for shallow and idiotic people like yourself (sic)."

Jacqueline Fernandez

While Jacqueline is inarguably one of the fittest celebrities around, she self-admittedly hates the way her arms look. "I dress according to my body type. I like my legs so I don't mind showing them off. But I hate my arms and when I have the choice, I always go for clothes that highlight my legs over my upper body," she confessed in an interview. 

Lisa Haydon

It might appear that 'fat shaming' is one of the major issues in the fight for body positivity, but 'thin shaming' is also very real, said Lisa Haydon. "People always think that if you’re on the larger side or you’re overweight, then you (develop) a complex. But I think being a really skinny kid (gives you a) complex too. I just remember being picked on for being a toothpick. Really skinny and really tall. Eventually, you fill out and then, you tend to not put on weight when you’re older. But, when you’re younger and if you’re really thin, people just make fun of you," she admitted.