As Danielle Brooks prepares to be a first-time mom, spreading body positivity and acceptance has become even more important to the Orange Is the New Black star.
Talking to SHAPE for its new cover story, the actress opened up about wanting her child to love whatever body they have.
“I feel like the world has built these invisible bullets to bully us in telling us who we’re supposed to be and what we’re supposed to look like. And I’ve always had this desire to prove people wrong — to say that this body that I’m in is enough,” she tearfully told SHAPE.
“Now that I’m about to be a mother, it means even more — to make sure that this human being I’m going to bring into the world knows that they are enough,” she said.
Brooks’ advocacy began when she realized the power of her voice while starring in OITNB.
“I began to realize the impact of my voice when the first season of Orange Is the New Black dropped,” she explained. “I started to see girls use my red-carpet looks as inspiration for their prom dresses. I began to see my interview quotes on social media.”
She realized she could help change the dialogue surrounding beauty standards and body image while promoting acceptance of all body types — something she yearned for when she was growing up.
“I realized that I could be what I wished for as a young girl, for someone else,” she told SHAPE. “I wanted someone in the industry, who I felt was a reflection of me, to scream from the mountaintops, ‘I love my body! I can accomplish whatever I want in the exact body God created me to be in!'”
“As I met people along the way, I began to understand the importance of not shying away from being an advocate for body positivity, but running toward it full throttle,” she added.
The advocate and actress admitted that she’s had to give her body extra care as it goes through changes during pregnancy, explaining that she tries to “practice what I preach” about self-love.
But, she says, once a person learns to embrace their body, they can become the change and motivation for someone else.
“When you let your light shine, it not only gives others the permission to do the same but opens up a world of unknown opportunities and joys for you as well,” Brooks said.
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