US actress Danielle Brooks, who plays Tasha "Taystee" Jefferson on Orange Is the New Black, recently penned a body image essay for Glamour.
Excerpts from the essay are detailed below:
“In this entry [journal from her teenage years] I had written about how insecure I was about my weight. I wasn’t able to wear the flared jeans and cute tops the other girls wore—they didn’t come in my size. On top of that, I was dark-skinned and had natural hair. By the standard definition of beauty I had absorbed from the world around me, I had three strikes against me: I was too dark, too curly, and too fat.
“Because of this insecurity, I was desperately unhappy. I was even having suicidal thoughts. But you wouldn’t have known it. The world saw a young teenage girl who was happy in her skin, laughed a lot, and didn’t care what anyone thought about her. The truth of the matter was I wasn’t happy in my skin; I laughed to hide my pain.
“Ironically, achieving a measure of success in this field that gave me confidence threatened to shake the very foundation of that hard-earned self-worth. Being in the public eye magnifies my “imperfection” to an insane degree. Actresses [with whom she atteneded the Golden Globe Awards] don’t look like most women. I’m not saying those actresses should gain 30 pounds, but I am posing the question, that if art is supposed to reflect life then why don’t the red carpets and magazines reflect reality?
“I might not have the power to change what media puts out there, or to single-handedly convince young girls like me that they should love themselves. But what I can do is start with me: living each day, embracing who I am…..”