so… i’m pretty. this might be a weird thing to say but i think it’s an important one. i spent too much of my life not recognizing my own beauty. i let negative beliefs and body dysmorphia rule me. not anymore, baby ! i like my eyes and my lips and my boobs and my hips and my hair and my cheekbones and the whole package. i’m happy to look like me.
Jennette McCurdy 00:00
So, I’m pretty. I know that maybe a weird thing to say out loud. But I think it’s an important one to acknowledge. And I’m going to tell you why. In this episode of Hard Feelings, well, I don’t know why I got so presentational there. I’ve never done that. Anyway, here we go.
Jennette McCurdy 00:44
So I feel like, you know, every kid starts thinking about their appearance, kind of just on the cusp of puberty, maybe a little earlier. But I started even earlier than that, because I was in an industry that is so hyper fixated and obsessed with the appearance of children, which is every bit as creepy as it sounds. I, I went out for a lot of roles, I went out for beauty pageant contestants, and, you know, little daughters of famous and very attractive, the actors and actresses. I had my fair share of that stuff. I also went out for roles, like, you know, a homely looking girl, but you can’t separate those things, when you’re little, you can’t go like, Oh, well, I’m also going out for the beauty queen. So instead, it’s just like, you see the word homely. And you just think like, oh, so I guess I’m not, I’m not pretty, like that’s the conclusion that you draw as a kid. And not to mention, you know, you’re in rooms with the literal, prettiest people, prettiest, prettiest children, the hottest children on earth because that’s what, again, Hollywood is you so I’m, you know, I’m a kid, I’m not able to differentiate any of that I’m not able to discern, I don’t know the difference so I just kind of get this messaging that I’m not attractive, on top of this, the thing that I think made it worst of all, was nobody’s going to be surprised. My mom’s messaging. My mom made me wear Crest White Strips. She put highlights in my hair from a very early age, tinted my eyelashes. Everything kind of felt like you know, it’d be reached to call that hygiene or upkeep or self care when the kids fucking seven, right like that’s not right. There’s a time and a place for that if you don’t start doing that in your teen years, like girls love doing that in their adolescence, perhaps I would have but as a result of my mom doing a lot of stuff to me, I really resented it. Anyway, that’s another story. But I felt like she was doing all these things because I wasn’t enough as I was, I felt like okay, she’s putting hot curlers in my hair to make the ends of my hair curl because my hair is too puffy on its own. And then she would also put Anti Frizz creams in this, this, you know, gloss cream from Frederick fucka, which she couldn’t afford, and she was sure to tell me about it. She would put that on my hair to tame the frizz. So everything felt like it was done. Because I wasn’t good enough as I was, it was done to make the not good enough, better, more tolerable, more, just acceptable. And then my teenage years came and that’s when the deep insecurity kicked in, because I was I was struggling with some acne. And I was really struggling with coming into my body and feeling like I didn’t I just was in a body that was no longer my own. I did not make that transition well from a girl’s body to a woman’s body. It was very uncomfortable and mentally and emotionally painful for me and exhausting. So I’m dealing with the body shit the skin stuff the deep seated insecurities from so far back and the in the fucked up messaging and narratives. It’s also bad that I would describe the the way that I thought I looked was like an ogre. I’m not saying this to be funny. I’m not saying like, oh, I thought I was a troll, like I literally thought I was a troll. I thought I looked so bad. I hated the way I looked. I fucking hated it, I hated every one of my features. I hated every like, I couldn’t find the thing that I liked about my physical appearance couldn’t find it. It’s oh my God, I literally might cry, it’s so sad to me now just because that level of self hatred came from so many other places. So many other places, but I took it on as my own. And I remember thinking like I couldn’t believe the idea that a guy would like me like it literally didn’t seem feasible that any guy would be attracted to me I could not in my wildest dreams imagine it not this is not I hear the pygmy girl in this this isn’t I swear to God, it’s not that’s not me like coyly tucking my hair behind my ear being a fucking goddess and be like, they don’t like me like no, no, this is me literally not being just body dysmorphia okay that’s what this is this body and face dysmorphia I was not seeing what was being reflected back at me I couldn’t see it.
Jennette McCurdy 05:31
Looking back now is so funny because I realize I realize guys that liked me that I didn’t realize like me. Like one guy got me we were I was like on the music tour and our tour buses were parked next to each other. He would like knock on my tour bus and give me different treats before shows and he brought me these like Harry Potter chocolate, the Harry Potter chocolate frog because I knew I liked them and Harry Potter Bertie Botts Jelly Bean, he basically got me Harry Potter stuff, but it was so sweet. He would get all nervous, he’d get his kid get like tongue tied and wringing his hands and his little feet would be overlap. He was he was nervous, and it was so sweet. And you’re like, I like couldn’t believe that, that that he he would like me because he was a nice, attractive guy. So that couldn’t be possible, right? There’s another guy who invited me to go, I hear that this could just sound like okay, Jeanette, get over yourself. That’s not the intention here. The intention here is genuinely to show the level of body dysmorphia that was happening. And I’m gonna bring it around to I think the value in appreciating your own beauty from a very genuine place. So there was another guy who invited me to a bonfire on the beach. So you know, it sounded really fun to me but I remember feeling like the thought was literally oh, he doesn’t really want me to, like I said, no and the thought was, oh, he doesn’t really want me to come. I’m not his ideal choice, like I fucking was. I just I was. There are other examples I keep going on examples, or is this not because this is getting okay. Oh my god, a Cirque du Soleil. I love Cirque du Soleil. I still love Cirque du Soleil, but I haven’t seen a show in years and years and years. But I used to love Cirque du Soleil, and there was this guy who got us tickets to go see a Cirque du Soleil show. You know, in our teenage years. That’s a hefty ticket price in your teenage years. He coughed it up. We went to see the Cirque du Soleil show, we went to dinner afterwards, he found my favorite restaurant. And I’m thinking like, like it didn’t even cross my mind. I was attracted to him too, it’s not you know, people that I wasn’t attracted to this guy I was very attracted to, I would very much like to kiss him. And I didn’t because I didn’t believe that that’s what he was in for. I thought that he was just getting tickets for he and his friend to see Cirque du Soleil you know how desperate 18 year old guys are to take their female friends to see a circus show. But that is where I was at at the time. And I think I came to start appreciating my appearance. Honestly, not until my 20s and probably not until my mid 20s. It had something to do with eating disorder recovery. I think there was something in in in healing my relationship with food and my body. That allowed me to get over the dysmorphia and finally start seeing me in the mirror. I could I could see me. And now I genuinely love the way that I look. I think I’m so beautiful. Oh my god, I’m gonna cry is this okay, I’m not gonna judge this. I’m just gonna sit in this. But I really love how I look. I wish that I had been able to see my beauty when I was younger. I wish that I had been able to see all the good things about me when I was younger. I’m glad you know on the one hand that this has been a journey that I’ve really been on and that I’ve you know, I’ve earned I’ve earned loving my appearance. I have earned it, and I know not everyone can say that some people just pop out of the womb just like I’m a diamond beauty queen yay um, but most of the world I don’t think is like that, I think a lot of us if not most of us struggle with insecurities. So many of us struggle with eating disorders and body dysmorphia and it’s just so unhelpful, but so unhelpful. It’s like, laughable now it’s so fucking unhelpful. eeks I love how I look. I’ve always been a pretty girl. It’s just how it is. I’m so glad to finally be owning excuse me, owning that. Here I’m talking about a pretty being a pretty girl. Well, just absolutely snorting snort up. Wow, that is something else. But it’s true. I am I’m owning it. I’m proud of it, and I really hope this is helpful for somebody who might need to hear it. Just fucking look in the mirror and and see yourself clearly I’m begging you, don’t see those weird funhouse wackadoo circus mirrors unless you’re going to a Cirque du Soleil show. Alright, bye.
If you want more Hard Feelings, you’re in luck. You’ve got options. On Apple podcasts. There’s bonus content for subscribers with Lemonada Premium, you can hear me answer exclusive questions from listeners. on Spotify. You can talk to each other by leaving comments on each episode and on Amazon music. You can listen ad free with a subscription to Amazon Prime. . I’m Jennette McCurdy, the creator, executive producer and host of HardFeelings. It’s produced by Lemonada Media in coordination with Happy Rage productions. Our production team is Kegan Zema, Aria Bracci and Brian Castillo. Music is by Hannah’s Brown. Steve Nelson is Lemonada’s Vice President of weekly content. Rachel Neil is Lemonada Senior Director of new content. Executive Producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs, Jessica Cordova Kramer and me. Listen ad free on Amazon music with your Prime membership.