Jenna Dewan says 'body conversations' with her daughter, 10, are beginning: 'There’s no rulebook for this'

Jenna Dewan says acne impacted her confidence. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photo: Getty Images)
Jenna Dewan says acne impacted her confidence. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photo: Getty Images)
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

It Figures is Yahoo Life's body image series, delving into the journeys of influential and inspiring figures as they explore what body confidence, body neutrality and self-love mean to them.

Nothing has given Jenna Dewan perspective quite like motherhood.

When it comes especially to appearance-based insecurities, the 42-year-old mother of two tells Yahoo Life that the little things don't faze her as much as they once did. She's talking, most notably, of a bout of acne that she dealt with when she first entered the spotlight.

"It was consuming, and it's a real lesson in control because I was not in control," she says about dealing with cystic acne. "It happened when I was like 22, which was weird. I went through my teenage years fine. And then all of a sudden, it just became this issue."

She says that she did "everything wrong" in response to the breakouts and ended up with scarring. "Then that was its own sort of confidence problem when I started getting into acting because of course, in Hollywood, we're on camera, so we're very aware of things."

The issues that she suffered from when it came to her skin, like the acne and melasma (blotchy patches) that resulted from laser treatments she underwent to treat it, weren't the only strike to her confidence. As a dancer, she's long been tuned in to her body, and the things that she doesn't love about it.

"That's just like an inherent part of what I do. But I think that's also for most every person," says Dewan. "Almost every human has to deal with their own confidence in relation to their body and their skin and their face."

She's improved the appearance of her skin by finding products she loves, noting that her recent go-to is Neostrata. But, establishing a true sense of self-worth goes far beyond that.

"You have to do the work to learn and to realize that you're so much bigger than your body and your face and to love yourself, no matter what," she says. "Being pregnant, becoming a mother, you get so real with yourself."

She continues: "Every issue, every body complaint, every skin issue, everything you go through is kind of this microcosm. It just happens fast and all in this period of time, so you really learn to understand yourself. You learn grace for yourself and you learn respect of what we are able to accomplish as humans on this planet. It just becomes not about you, it’s about this life that you've created. So it was a really nice prioritizing to happen for me."

Now, as a parent to daughter Everly, 10, whom she shares with ex-husband Channing Tatum, and son Callum, 3, had with her fiancé Steve Kazee, Dewan is focused on providing a positive outlook on body image to her children — especially in the midst of the popularity of social media and filters.

"It's tricky. We didn't grow up with this, right? There's no rulebook for this. I didn't have filters and phones, and this and that. And while I'm older, and I can understand, oh, this just a fun filter that gives me this look that I'm very aware is not the way I look, I think that's different for young girls," says Dewan, who notes that her children know the difference between "glam working mom" and regular mom.

"The body conversations, all that stuff is beginning. So we've really got to just be honest and communicative. I tell her, there's nothing you can say that will get you in trouble, there's nothing you can say that would be weird to me, I’m here for any and all conversations," she says. "And it's always going back to what's really important in life and what makes somebody beautiful, and that's inner beauty. It's being a kind, good-hearted person. That shines way more than any outside beauty ever could."