These confident actresses are all about being happy, healthy, and loving what you've got.
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"It can be really challenging in today's world for anyone—especially girls and women—to feel good about their bodies," the actress, who is nominated for Best Actress for La La Land, told Seventeen a few years ago. "No matter how things look from the outside, we can all be super critical of ourselves and of our image in the mirror. I've seen articles or comments that have addressed my weight, or 'caving to pressure to be thin.' Keeping weight on is a struggle for me—especially when I'm under stress, and especially as I've gotten older." As for how she deals with the pressure? "I remind myself to be kind to myself, and as slightly ridiculous as it may sound, to treat myself in the same gentle way I'd want to treat a daughter of mine," she said. "It really helps."
Photo: Getty Images
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Natalie Portman, who is nominated for her portrayal of Jackie Kennedy in Jackie, was definitely under the microscope after she dropped a significant amount of weight to play a professional ballerina in Black Swan, a role that won her the Best Actress title in 2011. In an interview with Vogue about what it was like to play her character, Nina, she said, "I like pleasure, I like joy. I'd never get to the point where I would starve or injure myself like Nina does. I'm the opposite—when I'm hungry, I eat, and I always make sure I'm eating something delicious." And while she's a driven person, she tries to keep things in perspective. "I'm tough on myself in terms of the standards I want to live up to, but that's also part of my pleasure: knowing you are being your fullest self. Being your fullest self is a lot of work." (To see how she trained for the movie, check out Natalie Portman's Black Swan workout.)
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After the actress, who is nominated for her performance in Hidden Figures (and has already won an Oscar for her performance in The Help), gave an interview backstage at the 2012 Screen Actors Guild Awards where she briefly discussed her weight, she decided to make a longer statement on her Facebook page. In the lengthy post, she explained that "First of all, ladies and gents, here's what I am not doing.... I am NOT worrying about my weight! I am not trying to conform to an unrealistic model of beauty. I AM however being proactive in being the healthiest I can be. And before you ask, NO, awards season is not the reason." Right on! She continued: "Be happy in your own skin. If you are unhealthy, start by making small changes to become healthier. You are unique, beautiful, and worthy." (If you want more like Octavia's post, scope the best body positive moments of 2016.)
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In a Twitter Q&A with Indiana University, everyone's favorite actress was asked what her advice would be for young actors trying to make it. The three-time Oscar winner's response was a surprising one: "For young women, I would say, don't worry so much about your weight. Girls spend way too much time thinking about that, and there are better things. For young men, and women, too, what makes you different or weird, that's your strength. Everyone tries to look a cookie-cutter kind of way and actually the people who look different are the ones who get picked up. I used to hate my nose. Now I don't. It's okay."
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After receiving her first ever #SeeHer award at the Critics Choice Awards this past December, Davis, who is up for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her work in Fences, gave an acceptance speech that hit home with many of her fans. In her remarks, the actress who also plays the lead role in How to Get Away With Murder said, "You know, when I was handed Annalise Keating, I said, 'She's sexy, she's mysterious, you know?' I'm used to playing women who gotta gain 40 pounds and have to wear an apron. So I said, 'Oh God, I've got to lose weight, I've got to learn how to walk like Kerry Washington in heels, you know, I've got to lose my belly.' And then I asked myself, 'Well, why do I have to do all that?' I truly believe that the privilege of a lifetime is being who you are, and I just recently embraced that at 51. I think my strongest power is that at ten o'clock every Thursday night, I want you to come into my world. I am not going to come into yours. You come into my world and you sit with me, my size, my hue, my age, and you sit, and you experience."
Photo: Getty Images
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When questioned about whether she thinks Hollywood standards of beauty put unfair pressure on women to fight aging during an interview with Access Hollywood, the Best Actress in a Supporting Role nominee for the movie Lion responded, "I just think everyone should do what they want to do. I mean, the world is tough now. It's tough on everybody, and the more you can put love in the world and be kind, be compassionate, and be generous, and the more we can emphasize that to each other, the better we're going to be." In other words, do you, treat others well, and the rest will fall into place—regardless of your size, shape, or age. (Need a little compassion boost? Give this loving-kindness meditation technique for inner peace a try.)
Photo: Getty Images
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Veteran actress Kirsten Dunst (who stars in the triple-nominated Hidden Figures) definitely has a good head on her shoulders when it comes to being in the spotlight. When a reporter from Hello! asked her if there was anything she'd change about her looks (um, why is it okay to ask a question like this?), she had the perfect response: "If you'd asked me that about five years ago, I would have had a list of answers, but now I'm comfortable with what I have and I know that if I work out and stay healthy, I feel my best."
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Though Adams isn't nominated individually (for the record, a lot of people thought she should have been!), she starred in Arrival, which is up for several awards including Best Picture. After she had her first child, she told Parade, "Being pregnant finally helped me understand what my true relationship was with my body–meaning that it wasn't put on this earth to look good in a swimsuit. I was like, 'Look, I can carry a baby! I'm gaining weight right, everything's going well.' And I've had that relationship ever since." As for getting that post-baby body thing everyone talks about? Adams wasn't too concerned about dropping weight quickly. "I've been working out when I can, and I'm trying to eat in a healthful way, but losing weight is not my number-one priority," she said. (For another celeb perspective on losing baby weight, read what Kristen Bell has to say about the perfect post-baby body.)
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Yet another of the amazing stars of Hidden Figures, Monáe has always stuck up for positive body ideals. When the singer and actress was asked about her habit of dressing conservatively by Elle Canada back in 2013, she had a simple answer: "When I look at myself in the mirror, I'm attractive. I really have a nice body. And I had to pick: Do I want them to focus on my body? Do I want them to focus on how curvy and really, really gorgeous my figure is? Or do I want them to look at my music? What has more value? And I made that decision. I want them to focus on the message and the music because I feel like I have a higher calling." While we definitely think you should be able to show off your body and be taken seriously, we admire her desire to keep the focus on what really matters: her work.