Believe me when I say I had icons. I used to dance in my room to Madonna’s “Holiday.” Of course, I would draw a Cindy Crawford mole above my upper lip for about a year straight. And, tell me, who did not dream of spending their sixteenth birthday with Jake Ryan?
As I grew older, these icons shifted. They became more of role models or people I aspired to be like rather than just a fascination. I was definitely still into fashion, or the lack there of. I could not wait to watch Kelly, Dylan, Brenda, and Brandon of 90210. However, the 90s were loaded with epic moments of women in sports. Title IX got a boost from the Supreme Court and then it was girl power like you’d never seen before. Sheryl Swoopes became Player of the Year by Sports Illustrated and gets a shoe named after her, “Air Swoopes.” A woman with a shoe named after her — awesome! Shannon Miller dominated the gymnastics world. Marion Jones wins three events at US Track and Field Nationals. Women’s soccer and softball became medal sports at the Olympics. Therefore, I could not wait to follow in Mia Hamm’s footsteps and win an ESPY for Most Outstanding Female Athlete.
Then shit got real when I entered college. Who didn’t want Carrie Bradshaw’s life? She had a career she loved, the best of friends and shoes to go with any outfit. People of inspiration weren’t just pretty faces to look at, but people who had achieved something. During my college years, I listened to more Jay-Z than any girl on this earth, and I watched Grey’s Anatomy religiously, pretending I was Meredith in my residency. And, who did not watch Michael Jordan? Honestly.
Somewhere in the past 20 years, our role models or people we consider heroes have taken a turn for the worst. Women in front of the camera do not portray health. They are well under 100 pounds with lifestyle habits that would make my grandma cringe. They do not represent real life. Yet, I still see women, even CrossFitters, aspire to be thin like Gwyneth Paltrow or Victoria Beckham.
For the most part, these women on the big screen or who live their daily lives in Hollywood are not healthy. I’ve been witness to the TV and movie industry by working in it for two years. There are those exceptions. However, women and men limit their food consumption so much that their intake would starve a grade-schooler. These people are very malnourished. Their bodies are starving for nutrients, hydration, sleep and recovery.
I work with and consult with women on a daily basis. It continues to sadden me that women use CrossFit or Paleo or a sugar detox for pure vanity reasons. It’s like nails scratching a chalkboard when I hear a woman say that she’s just got to lose those last 10 pounds.
Perhaps you are made the way you are for a reason. Perhaps your body functions optimally with 19 percent body fat rather than 10 percent body fat. What matters most is your health. If your omega levels are ideal and your bloodwork is fabulous, then you are winning. Go out and get yourself a pair of Carrie Bradshaw Manolos.
I cannot wait for the day when a woman has a picture of herself taped to her bathroom mirror instead of Angelina Jolie or Britney Spears. Be proud of who you are. Be comfortable in the skin and body you were given. It’s yours. Own it. Flaunt it.