There's something to be said for tips and tricks on how to create the perfect cat-eye or make your lipstick last. But the beauty advice that goes beyond technique and into our self-image can make a much more lasting impact. In an column penned for ELLE.com, Nikki Reed shared the beauty advice she'd give to her younger self, and chances are, you can relate.
The actress explains her affinity for glam from an early age — she had a perm before she was 5 years old, and was gifted her first makeup kit before she learned how to ride a bike. And as she matured and transitioned to a more natural, holistic approach to beauty and health, her self-image transitioned, too.
"It's the days I get to let my skin breathe and my frizzy hair fly free that I cherish the most, that I feel the most 'me.' So if there is one message I could have given my younger self, it would've been this: Be gentle with yourself. Know that every girl your age has acne, that it's okay to feel insecure about your height, your weight, or the size of your boobs. Don't beat yourself up about it. Don't spend your energy wishing you could change it."
"Imperfections are what make you beautiful," Reed adds. "They're what make you 'you.'" She's right: Often, the things that we're the most insecure about are the things that distinguish us as our own beautiful selves.
Her message is a reminder to reflect on what we spend our mental energy on. I, personally, have spent many years wishing I was shorter, thinner, and had smaller boobs and bigger eyes. And to some degree, I still do. Body positivity is a process, and as Reed herself has gotten older, she's learned to embrace and respect herself fully and honestly (a place many of us are working towards right now.)
"As you grow older, you'll find more and more opportunities to either tear yourself apart or stand up for yourself, both physically and emotionally," she says. And isn't that the truth. It seems simple: we have many chances to empower and love ourselves, so why would we choose otherwise? Of course, the answer is less straightforward, and deeply rooted in the way our society defines beauty and strength. But that doesn't mean we can't do our best to differentiate how we define beauty and strength.
For a little extra mid-week motivation, check out her full column — it's insightful, inspiring, and an important commentary on embracing what we've been through and appreciating who we are.
Aside from her admirable approach to beauty and natural health, here are four other reasons Nikki is a great role model:
1. She's Passionate About Animals
Whether she's defending the rights of test animals in a courtroom, finding homes for shelter animals, or pointing out cruelty and injustice on Instagram, Reed has always been extremely outspoken on her passion for helping animals. "It really is something that's deeply rooted for me, and I will continue [to be vocal about it] for the rest of my life," she told Yahoo!.
2. She Encourages Young Girls To Support Each Other
In a letter posted on Instagram, she encouraged young girls to be there best selves, and asked that they support other girls just trying to do the same thing. "BE the generation that changed the world. BE the generation that broke the cycle of girls competing with one another, bringing each other down, pinning girls against each other," she wrote.
3. She Advocates For Better Roles For Women In Hollywood
“I think it’s really important for us to not only play, but create roles for women that give them more to do than just be something one-dimensional and one-note,” she told Backstage.com.
4. She Raises Awareness for Autism
Nikki's brother has autism, and she's been proud in her efforts to raise awareness. "What is important is to treat everyone like an individual and learning not to generalize autism," she told People. "With autism, people make assumptions but it's very broad and everyone's so different. You have to treat each person as an individual."