Body Image

5 Confidence-Boosting Lessons I Learned About Body Image From Florence Pugh


If you’re not already obsessed with Florence Pugh for her acting chops, “Cooking With Flo” videos, and down-to-earth vibes, her staunch stand on not meeting Hollywood’s beauty standards will certainly do the trick. Unafraid to speak her mind when it comes to body image, the Don’t Worry Darling and Oppenheimer actor has proven herself as a strong, influential voice in the industry, calling out body shamers and the unrealistic expectations put on her and her female counterparts. Let’s just say it’s hard not to be a Miss Flo stan.

In a video for Vogue (in which she makes a drool-worthy Garlic Crostini and martini) and a subsequent cover interview, she candidly opens up about her relationship with food and her body. “Body image for women is a major thing,” Pugh said in the video. “From the moment you start growing thighs and bums and boobs and all of it, everything starts changing. And your relationship with food starts changing.” Read on for six powerful lessons about body image that I learned from Florence Pugh. 



1. Learn to love your “flaws” because they are unique to you

Pugh seems very comfortable in her skin, but it wasn’t always that way. “Thankfully, I’ve come to terms with the intricacies of my body that make me, me,” she said in an Instagram post. “I’m happy with all of the ‘flaws’ that I couldn’t bear to look at when I was 14.” Celeb or not, we all have a physical feature or quality that we can be critical of. Take a cue from Pugh and embrace your “imperfections” as unique traits that make you authentic. Instead of focusing on what makes you feel flawed, look at yourself as a whole person (that’s supposed to be human, not perfect). Practicing self-acceptance will help you let go of feeling the need to conform to what society deems as perfection and start living a fulfilling life. 


2. Know that your appearance doesn’t define your worth

It goes without saying that standing up to the pressures of looking a certain way is Pugh’s M.O. “I’m never losing weight to look fantastic for a role,” she voiced in an interview with Vogue. “It’s more like: How would this character have lived? What would she be eating?” Take a page out of Pugh’s book and welcome the body you were born with (I know, way easier said than done). That doesn’t mean you aren’t continuing to work towards self-improvement. Rather, you recognize your appearance does not define your worth and you accept and love your body in a way that allows you to reach your highest, best self. If loving your body feels out of reach, you can take a body-neutral approach and steer your focus from how your body looks to how it feels and what it can do for you.


3. Wear what you want, and wear it proudly

Despite Pugh consistently slaying on the red carpet, she’s been the subject of scrutiny for pushing the boundaries with her fashion choices. Case in point: Pugh went viral after donning a see-through Barbiecore (before Barbiecore was a thing) Valentino gown with no bra underneath at the brand’s couture fashion show last year. In an Instagram post responding to the backlash (yes, a dress caused this much stir), she wrote, “Listen, I knew when I wore that incredible Valentino dress that there was no way there wouldn’t be a commentary on it. Whether negative or positive, we all knew what we were doing. I was excited to wear it, not a wink of me was nervous. I wasn’t before, during, or even now after.”

The lesson here is to prioritize how you feel over how other people may respond. “If I’m happy in it, then I’m gonna wear it,” Pugh told Vogue. Whether it’s haute couture leaving little to the imagination, a bathing suit you feel self-conscious in, or a pair of jeans you love but are not considered “in,” remember that the world is critical (of women especially) and your job is to protect your spirit and individuality. In other words, wear whatever you want.



4. Eat according to what feels right for your body 

Pugh has been vocal about the expectations to adjust her eating habits for the sake of having the “right” appearance for a movie role. No surprise, Pugh prioritizes her enjoyment of life and self-worth over fitting a certain body type. “It was expected that you would be on whatever diet that you needed to be on…” she told Vogue. “I definitely put my foot down in that aspect. I love food.”

Even though most of us don’t have the pressures that come with being an actor, we’re surrounded by mixed messaging around what latest diet we should be on, what foods we should eat, and which we should avoid. Only you know what feels best for your body, so listen to and honor your body’s needs instead of letting a set of food rules or pressure to look a certain way dictate how you nourish your body. Food is a source of nutrients and energy to fuel our bodies to do the things we love to do. Rather than restricting foods and suppressing cravings, listen to your body’s hunger and satiety cues, eat nourishing foods whenever you’re hungry, and savor the less nutrient-dense provisions (read: pizza, ice cream, booze) shame and guilt-free. 


5. Reevaluate your relationship with social media

Pugh is well-acquainted with online trolls, and they don’t affect her body image or self-esteem because she doesn’t take social media too seriously. “I’ve always seen social media as a bit of a joke,” Pugh divulged to Glamour UK. If you’re one of her 9.3 million Instagram followers, you know this to be true. In between glam shots, you see her humorous and playful personality come out—from her popping pimples to up-close shots of her dog to her sitting on her sister’s shoulders drinking a beer. 

Pugh also recognizes social media’s detriment: “Social media is based around insecurity and it wouldn’t work unless everyone is insecure.” Social media can negatively impact how we view our bodies thanks to the comparison game, unrealistic beauty standards, and cyberbullying. If you find scrolling through Instagram or TikTok hurts your body image, take a break from social media use, limit your time on it, or unfollow the accounts that are triggering.