Actress, supermodel, and former child star Brooke Shields is busy raising two daughters, 6-year-old Rowan Francis and 13-year-old Grier Hammond, and she is well aware of the pressures that young women face from society. She explained to People at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards in New York City on Friday she is determined to raise them with healthy views of their bodies.
“Their bodies are so important to them. Whatever you say is heard, so you have to really be careful how you say whatever it is you’re saying to girls in particular. I really have to be like, ‘How would this sound if it was said to me at 13?’ I celebrate the differences in their bodies.”
Not only does she want them to be comfortable in their own skin, she also wants them to stand up for themselves and to learn how to say no, something Shields explains that she has only recently learned.
“I learned to say ‘no’ this year and it came through me saying to my daughters, ‘This does not have to be your problem. You don’t have to take care of everybody all the time’. You try to teach them to take the high road but at times, you have to say, ‘That did not make me feel good. I didn’t appreciate it. I’m not going to succumb to that level’.”
Shields, who got her big break playing high sexualized roles at a very young age in Pretty Baby and Blue Lagoon, explained to Yahoo Lifestyle earlier this year that body image was something that she really struggled with while growing up in the public eye.
“I had a very strong disconnect to my body. I was the face on the covers, I was the eyebrows or the face or whatever the thing was that people and the press and everybody focused on. And because I was never really skinny, I never did runway. So I was always the one that was doing the magazines but often never fit into the samples.
It was said that I was the most famous virgin, which is really great to live with. How do you justify sexy screen siren and famous virgin? It’s a real disconnect and it’s really hard. And so, I look back and I think, I’m still surviving and I can’t believe that I didn’t turn into a train wreck. Seriously.”
Ultimately, Shields wants her daughters, who largely stay out of the public eye, to have a better shot at loving themselves and their bodies than she did.
“I’m trying to present to them the image of a whole woman, which was very different from the way I grew up. I don’t want them to have any of that shame but I want them to maintain a sense of that their body is their body, it’s their own.”