Kate Winslet’s Body Positivity Will Inspire You

At 40, Kate Winslet is looking positively glowing with good health – whether it’s on the red carpet (she has already notched up a few Best Actress awards and nominations this year) or in candid shots on the set of her new movie, Collateral Beauty.

Winslet, who won a BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) award for Best Actress for her role in Steve Jobs, dedicated her award to those women who are subject to criticism. And she should know, having struggled with weight issues herself, and the negativity around it.

Kate Winslet Was A Victim of Body Shaming

“When I was heavy, people would say to me – and it was such a backhanded compliment – ‘You’ve got such a beautiful face’, in the way of, like, ‘Oh, isn’t it a shame that from the neck down you’re questionable’,” she shared in an interview with Glamour magazine.

For Winslet, this kind of passive-aggressive commentary about her appearance was nothing new; she was bullied as a child and teen.

In an interview with CBS Sunday Morning, she explained that she was often teased about how she looked. “In part, because I was quite stocky as a child.”

She had previously commented on an episode of Running Wild with Bear Grylls that, growing up, she never received positive reinforcement about how she looked. “I never heard positive reinforcement about body image from any female in my life. I only heard negatives. That’s very damaging, because then you’re programmed as a young woman to immediately scrutinise yourself and how you look.”

It didn’t help that the very people whose roles were to support, in fact, did the opposite. When she was 13, Winslet was told by her drama teacher that, “If I continued to be overweight, I would really only get a chance to play the cute, fat, best friend role, or the ugly sister parts.”

How Kate Winslet’s Body Positivity Saved Her Career

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In an exclusive interview with People.com, Winslet says she used this commentary to inspire her, rather than break her down. Instead of withering under the negativity, she changed her own perception. “I remember thinking, ‘Oh, you’re so wrong!’ That kind of spurred me on.”

Not that there weren’t times when she questioned her decision to go into acting. “I was always the kid at the end of the line because my name began with W, and I always had big feet, and I was always wearing the wrong thing.” She confided to People.com: “I remember having a moment where I thought to myself, ‘This is so stupid. This is just a waste of my train fare getting myself into London for auditions.”

But she didn’t give up; she worked harder. “I remember thinking to myself, ‘You’ve just got to keep going for it’.” And she did.

As an adult and a role-model, she has cultivated a positive self-image. She believes in empowering others to build their self-confidence. As she mentioned in her interview with CBS Sunday Morning: “You know, we walk down red carpets. It’s part of the job. But I feel strongly that it’s important to also say to young girls that we don’t look like that all of the time.”

One of the biggest culprits of reinforcing a negative self-image is social media, she believes. The actress admits that she is not a huge fan. A mother of three children, Mia, 15, Joe, 11, and Bear, 2, she told the Sunday Times UK that she has banned all forms of social media in her house. “It has a huge impact on young women’s self-esteem, because all they ever do is design themselves for people to like them. And what comes along with that? Eating disorders. And that make my blood boil.”