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Learn English with Lili Reinhart. Join Lili Reinhart at the Glamour 2018 Women of the Year Summit as she delivers an empowering speech on body image, self-love, and the flaws of social media standards. The “Riverdale” star opens up about her own struggles and encourages everyone to embrace their natural, imperfect selves. Dive into this heartfelt message and join the movement towards real, inclusive beauty.

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Lili Reinhart: We are all imperfectly beautiful.

We are all imperfectly beautiful.

Lili Reinhart


We exist in a world today where everything can be faked or fixed. Noses can be changed and stomachs can be tightened and cellulite can be lasered away, apparently. Because that’s what we’re told to do, which is alter ourselves in order to be beautiful.

For the past year, I’ve been quietly trying to navigate my fluctuating weight. I’ve faced criticism in the past for talking about my body image. People told me that I didn’t have the right to talk about being self-conscious about my body because I was skinny. I understand how it seems inappropriate for someone who is average size to talk about problems with weight gain.

But my point is I didn’t think anything was wrong with my body until I was in an industry that rewards and praises people for having a smaller waist than I will ever have. And it felt unfair to think that I would never have an industry perfect body just because I wasn’t genetically built a certain way. I was exposed to young women smaller than I was telling me that they needed to lose weight. So I became hyper aware of my changing body.

I could see the difference in my shape in photos and wondered if anyone else was noticing. I felt this strange constant struggle of having to live up to the expectation of the appearance that I had already established to the world. So I found myself examining my body constantly in the mirror. Sometimes thinking, okay, I was being too hard on myself. Everything’s fine. I’m still the same size. And then I’d go back and look in the mirror a couple hours later and my stomach looked completely different.

So I was thinking, was my reflection lying to me? How can my body look so different over the course of one day? And why do I feel like I need to apologize to the world for my ever-changing self? I didn’t want the world to think that I was catfishing them with my appearance or making myself out to be a certain size and shape when clearly my body was changing. So I told myself if I can see this change, then other people can too. Reflections don’t lie. Or do they? And is that body dysmorphia or is this the normal part of being a woman that no one really talks about?

I think about when I have kids in the future and will my daughter be self-conscious about gaining weight? Will she feel the need to explain her body or justify it to anyone as it changes? Will she feel the same need that I do now to apologize to her peers and say, “Oh, my body doesn’t usually look like this,” or “I’m just a little heavier than usual right now”? Because how ridiculous is it that we even think about explaining the nature of our bodies to other people?

But it’s because we don’t want them to judge us. Because judgment and criticism have always existed. It’s just that now everyone can be a critic and share it publicly without hesitation at the push of a button. I used to look at all the magazine covers near the checkout line at the grocery store when I was younger, and sometimes the cover would show a celebrity with the headline, “Here’s what she really looks like.” And I wanted to see, obviously. I wanted to see what was underneath, and I wanted to see the flaws.

Everyone wants to see the flaws of another person because we want to see glimpses of our own insecurities in them, and we want to know that we aren’t the only ones. From a young age, we are unknowingly being trained by magazines, marketing, and all forms of media into thinking that having cellulite or not wearing makeup is worthy of being publicly shamed. So there is no way in hell that as young women digesting this media, we weren’t all going to try and hide those parts of ourselves from then on.

We aren’t born with these insecurities. We are told to be insecure about certain things. We are conditioned to feel ashamed or embarrassed about certain parts of ourselves. The world is not going to reform tomorrow. We can’t rely on those who profit from our perceived flaws to change their ways. There is no easy fix to the ideas of women that have existed for hundreds of years. So that leaves us with one option, which is changing it ourselves. Showing what’s real with no filter and certainly with no shame.

You are helping the movement of strong, modern women when you show the parts of yourself that we have been forever told to hide. So as a first step, I encourage you to find a healthy balance between expressing the natural, vulnerable side of yourself with the glamorous, contoured side. As much as I like to share photos from shoots and red carpets, I think it’s much more important to show what I look like the other 99% of the time.

Some days I feel strong and confident and other times I’m sucked into the rabbit hole of awful comments where strangers are criticizing parts of myself that I wasn’t even aware of. So how do I let every day be one of those victorious days where I feel invincible? I don’t know, I don’t have the perfect solution, but I have discovered some things that do help me have those better days.

I started to purge myself of content that made me feel less beautiful on a daily basis. I unfollowed the accounts on Instagram that made me question the shape and curves of my own body. I also started living a more active lifestyle because I wanted to feel healthy on the inside, which required some thoughtful effort on my part. But I wanted to know that I was healthy and strong without having identical measurements to those oth women that I was seeing.

Remind yourself that this perfect world you see online in magazines or movies and TV are presented to you through so many different filters. So do not set impossible goals of meeting those fake standards. It’s unrealistic to think that your body or my body will ever look like anyone else’s. That’s not the way it’s supposed to be. We are all imperfectly beautiful, so let’s embrace that and practice that in a healthy way.

There is a massive worldwide community of women who are rooting for beauty to be recognized in every shape and color that we come in. I mean, events like this Glamour Summit are a part of that movement. So embracing your natural beauty does not exclude anyone. There is no fine print. You can be naturally beautiful with acne or scars, cellulite or curves. So let’s celebrate each other and ourselves as we are, as we will be, and as we were meant to be. Unique, imperfect, beautiful, and so incredibly powerful. Thank you.