Why Addison Rae Doesn't Let 'Really Tough' Body Criticism Define Her

Addison Rae doesn’t let the haters get her down. The 20-year-old TikTok star covers Glamour U.K.‘s digital February issue, and reflects on the “online hate” she receives, a lot of which has to do with body image.

“It’s a really hard thing to deal with when you’re a girl, especially going through your teens,” she says. “I am 20 and my body is constantly changing, but people have this high standard around body image and say, ‘Oh, you have to look like this to look great or to look hot or to be cool or to be pretty.'” 

“For me, a lot of people have said, ‘Oh I love how comfortable she is and she doesn’t look like the beauty standard.’ It’s a backhanded compliment sometimes because people will be like, ‘I’m so glad she’s confident that she doesn’t look perfect,'” Rae continues. “It hurts sometimes when people say that, because I think everyone’s perfect, so why is there some standard of ‘this body is the ideal body’?”

Though she’s against the thought that there’s an ideal body, Rae admits to previously falling victim to the pressure of societal beauty standards a time or two.

“I used to ask myself, ‘Why doesn’t my body look like that? Or why isn’t my hair that way? Or why is my face this way?’ Or even feature-wise, sometimes I would just really look at myself and pick myself apart for no reason,” she says. “There is so much going on in the world today, adding self-esteem onto that is really tough. If you can’t mentally, emotionally or physically love who you are it becomes really difficult to even be happy.”

“I know I’ve not been eating the best during quarantine or maybe not working out as much and watching a lot of TV, but we need to give ourselves grace,” Rae adds.

Allowing herself that grace is something Rae began doing as a result of time spent in therapy.

“I started seeing a therapist, which was really helpful just to not feel so down about myself,” she says. “Self-worth is a big thing that I’ve been working on the past few months because it’s definitely a real struggle, and it does affect you in your daily life, not having high self-worth.”

“Therapy is a great way to work on that and it’s an outlet to speak on things that are bothering you internally,” Rae continues. “Just being able to have someone to talk to has been a big thing for me and understanding that if you let people understand you a little more, then they will.”

Addison Rae and Her Mom On Body-Shamers and Overcoming the Negativity

Addison Rae and Her Mom On Body-Shamers and Overcoming the Negativity

Among its biggest takeaways, therapy helped Rae to feel worthy and loved as she is.

“There’s this one quote that I love: ‘comparison is the thief of joy.’ That’s so true because when you start comparing yourself to someone, you’re just asking to be upset because you’re comparing yourself to something that you will never be, because you’re only you,” she says. “… I have thought a lot in the past year that it doesn’t really define me and I am learning to love my body and who I am, for what I am.”

As for those negative comments, which Rae believes come from a “totally understandable” place of “envy” — something she herself has felt too — the TikTok star does her best to not let them get to her.

“That doesn’t define me, and they don’t really truly know me in my heart,” she says. “There’s going to be people that don’t like you and that want to tear you down, but you have to love yourself for who you are.”

In addition to therapy, Rae has leaned on her friends and family for support, including one of her best pals, Kourtney Kardashian.

“It’s really inspiring to see people that are so happy in their lives and are so put together after everything they’ve been through,” Rae says. “That’s why I look up to Kourtney a lot and her entire family — throughout everything you can lean back on your family and friends to really have that emotional and mental support. It really pulls you through at the end.”

“Something that she told me was, ‘Make sure you’re always enjoying what you’re doing because this is the life you’re living. Make sure it’s something that you’re proud of and you’re continuing to do the things you love,'” she adds.

Rae is set to star alongside Kardashian in He’s All That, her first acting gig. She’s equal parts excited for the opportunity and prepared for the judgments she’s likely to receive.

“It’s been a dream of mine forever to be an actress. To be really called one now, is just really insane. Growing up, I was always in acting classes and watching movies and pretending I was the character,” she says. “The reaction is a little scary sometimes because people don’t really know what I did or aspired to do before I started social media. People base anything I do off, ‘Oh, she started on social media,’ but without knowing my background or knowing I’ve always been in acting classes.”

Despite her TikTok success and burgeoning acting career, Rae says she’s most proud of herself for “staying mentally healthy” amid a challenging time.

“Going through the changes of life, really staying grounded, and remembering where I’m from. There’s so many times that I’ve been like, ‘This is a lot, maybe it’s mentally challenging,’ and then wanting to give up,” she says. “But then I remember that I got where I am today, and that I should take every opportunity I can to just accomplish everything that I dreamed of.”

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