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Rumer Willis opens up about growing up in the spotlight and her journey to self-acceptance

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Rumer Willis has been in the spotlight for the entirety of her life as a result of her celebrity parents Demi Moore and Bruce Willis, where she’s been exposed to the impossible beauty standards of Hollywood. But after spending her formative years struggling to figure out who she is and how she’s most comfortable, the 33-year-old actress and singer is opening up her journey with body acceptance.

Video Transcript

HUNTER MCGRADY: I'm Hunter McGrady, model, designer, and activist. And I'm here to talk about everything from body confidence and feminism to politics and the planet. Because remember, we're all worthy.

Rumer, thank you so, so much for sitting down with me today. I am such a huge, huge fan. You are an amazing singer, dancer. You're just an all around bad-ass woman. I love how open you are with body positivity and what that truly looks like.

When you were growing up with your mom and your dad in Hollywood, you know how it is, right? The spotlight is on you. Everything is about how you look and how your weight is. Did that take a toll on you?

RUMER WILLIS: I grew up wanting to have a body like a 12-year-old boy. Like, I literally wanted no boobs, straight hips. Like, that was my aesthetic. And so I wore things that didn't look right. So if I dress like this, if I wear this kind of outfit, even if it doesn't suit me, then I'll be acceptable.

And I was just so exhausted by it. It's trying to manipulate or fit yourself into a box that really isn't yours. And so I went, OK, I got to kind of go back to ground zero. I just kept trying these science experiments to see how much acceptance I could be in. To just go OK, if my grays are growing out and my hair is curly, like, how does that make me feel?

HUNTER MCGRADY: As a curvy girl, I kind of have this juxtaposition of OK, so I'm accepting my body. But if I want to work out or I want to do something different, does that make me not body positive? And it's kind of played a role in my life. And has it played a role in your life as well?

RUMER WILLIS: What I've experienced most recently, which has been really frustrating, is navigating what is my natural size. If you post a photo where the angle of your arm looks small because I've turned it this way as opposed to this way, it's like, you need to eat. This is, like, unacceptable because you're such a body-positive person, it feels like there's no middle ground and there's no place to just exist.

HUNTER MCGRADY: That is so poignant and powerful. The other day, I was on the ground with my three-month-old son and he was looking at himself in the mirror. And he was so enamored with what he saw. And I thought, wow, at some point, we all really love what we saw. But then we all kind of had that point in our lives where that stopped. When did you decide to say, I'm going to use my platform to talk about this very thing?

RUMER WILLIS: I think there was definitely a moment over the course of last year when we were all in lockdown. I was feeling like such crap about myself, about my body. And so I just made a video in my underwear of like, this is what all of this looks like. And Instagram standard desirable is not a reflection of what I really look like or how I'm feeling about it, even though I have days where I still don't feel good or I feel insecure.

I think if you're not transparent about it, it creates such disconnection. And I don't want young women to feel like that, especially now where people who are younger have social media. And it's just all not real.

HUNTER MCGRADY: I really appreciate that you are so open about talking about this. It is so imperative for young people to see that. I also wanted to congratulate you on five years of sobriety. That is such a huge feat. You also recently partnered with Nicorette, which I think is absolutely incredible. Tell me a little bit about that journey and why you wanted to do that.

RUMER WILLIS: When I was growing up and I would watch movies and there was a really sexy scene or a very cool chick was smoking, I was like, yeah, obviously, I got to do that because that's what the cool kids are doing. Then I realized that there are so many external things that we use as medicators to cover up anxiety or to make us feel better or that we use as a social lubricant because we don't feel enough.

HUNTER MCGRADY: Right. It almost becomes a crutch.

RUMER WILLIS: Exactly. I remember one of the first times I quit, I think I was out, and I was like, how do I interact with people? Like, how do I date? What do I-- oh my god, I have to have a personality. I have to, like, talk about things.

HUNTER MCGRADY: I think it is really beautiful that you are doing that.

RUMER WILLIS: Thank you so much. Yeah, I think the more open that you can be about it, the more that you'll realize that you're not alone.

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