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Recently, GLEE star Lea Michele shared some blunt body image thoughts. The 24 year old dynamo told People magazine, “I grew up in a New Jersey town where everyone looked the same. If you didn't have a nose job, you were about to. Agents and casting directors told me to get one, but my mother said, ‘Barbra Streisand never did and neither are you.'”
The article, entitled “Why I Love Barbra,” got me thinking about what role models I looked up to as a little girl. I’ve blogged before about Bea Arthur’s impact on my body image: As a tall pre-teen, I’d watch reruns of Dorothy Zbornak sipping coffee in her Florida kitchen, clad in a floor length caftan with massive shoulder pads. “That’s what I’m going to look like when I’m older,” I would think with a shudder. I didn’t have many tall role models to choose from – sure, there were Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell, but I related to those Amazonian supermodels about as much as Blanche Devereaux related to a run.
I suppose that, as of late, I feel a strange sort of alliance with Blake Lively (5'10"). True, I have a major girl crush and am about two at-bats away from switching teams for her, but it’s more than that. Last year, she admitted to Allure magazine, "I feel like a tranny a lot of the time. I don't know, I'm...large? They put me in six-inch heels, and I tower over every man. I've got this long hair and lots of clothes and makeup on. I just feel really big a lot of the time, and I'm surrounded by a lot of tiny people. I feel like a man sometimes."
“Thank you!” I screamed aloud when I read that. That’s precisely how I’ve always felt. Lively nailed the Bea Arthur fear on the head and ever since, I feel like she and I are two peas in a body image bod. I asked a few other women about a celeb with which they’ve identified. Here are their secret sistas-from-anotha-motha:
Who she admires: Natalie Portman
For what body part: Her small chest (when not pregnant).
Why: “She’s keeping her real (small, like mine) boobs in an industry where ridiculous implants are the norm. Give it up for the flat-chested!”
Who she admires: Sarah Jessica Parker
For what body part: Curly hair
Why: “At one point, I was straightening my hair a lot. I thought it made me look cleaner, more composed. And here was SJP with a wild mane of curly hair that was never tamed…and it looked amazing. She helped convince me to go natural and now I rarely straighten my curls.”
Who she admires: Angela Bassett when she played Tina Turner
For what body part: Muscles
Why: “She’s beautiful with glowing skin, and she looks healthy and muscular.”
Who she admires: J. Lo
For what body part: Tush
Why: “She makes me feel better about my own rotund Latina booty.”
Who she admires: Catherine Zeta Jones
For what body part: Curves
Why: “When she first came on the scene, she was not the typical skinny Hollywood type; more of a natural hour glass. Now, her shape seems different. She seems to have succumbed to Hollywood pressure and dieted down.”