As a diehard P!nk fan, I watched her get the Vanguard award and deliver the most beautiful speech Sunday night:
"Recently I was driving my daughter to school and she said, out of the blue, "I'm the ugliest girl I know". And I said "Huh?" And she said "Yeah, I look like a boy with long hair" and my brain went to oh my god you're 6 where is this coming from who said this like what?
But I didn't say anything. I went home and I made a PowerPoint presentation for her, and in that presentation were androgynous rockstars, and artists that live their truth, and are probably made fun of every day of their life, and carry on and wave their flag and inspire us. And these are artists like Michael Jackson and David Bowie and Freddie Mercury and Annie Lennox and Prince and Janis Joplin and George Michael, Elton John, so many artists her eyes glazed over. But then I said "I really want to know why you feel this way about yourself"
"Well I look like a boy"
"Well what do you think I look like?"
"Well, you're beautiful"
And I was like "Well, thanks, but when people make fun of me, that's what they use. They say that I look like a boy or that I'm too masculine or I have too many opinions, my body is too strong, and I said to her "Do you see me growing my hair?"
"Do you see me changing my body?"
"Do you see me changing the way I present myself to the world?"
"Do you see me selling out arenas all over the world?"
"Ok. So. Baby girl, we don't change. We take the gravel in the shell and we make a pearl. And we help other people change so they can see more kinds of beauty."
And to all the artists out there, I'm so inspired by all of you. Thank you for being your true selves, and for lighting the way for us. I'm so inspired by you guys. There's so much rad shit happening right now in music, and keep doing it. Keep shining for the rest of us to see. And you, my darling girl, are beautiful. And I love you."
Having role models we can relate to is so important. They remind us, especially in our darkest and most insecure moments, that we are strong, beautiful, and capable. Because if they are all those things, and we identify with them, then we can remember we are those things too.
That's one of the many reasons I'm so passionate about body positivity and diversity. We need to see role models of all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, and personalities... Especially in the world of health and fitness.
My fitness journey started in college, with a DVD of a trainer who was different. She was intense, like me. She made bad jokes, laughed loudly, swore, and had a masculine swagger. I had seen other DVDs, with lithe sweet elegant trainers, but she was the first trainer I related to. I had never thought of myself as physically strong. But I saw myself in her, and she was strong as fuck. And that's what kept me training with her and getting stronger.