The teen actress and activist spoke to us about the pressure from the media, defining the word "strong," and exercising your mental health.
It’s easy to assume that today’s top teens have it all together: They act, they sing, they dance...on top of being activists, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, going to school, and dressing better than most adults. But despite being wise beyond her years—and even making sure to take her OLLY Girl vitamins on a regular basis—Rowan Blanchard admits that she’s still a typical 16-year-old in many ways. She feels pressure at times, has insecurities, and struggles to put down her phone and get off social media (same).
But that’s partly why we, as full-grown adults, genuinely love and admire the young star. She’s honest and real (who doesn’t feel insecure or like they’re spending too much time on Instagram?) and has great answers to even our most challenging questions, including what she tells herself on bad days and how she would define the word “strong.”
How do you find the balance between being health-conscious and health-obsessed?
“I feel like a lot of how we think about health is with goals, whether that’s to lose weight, or to look, I don’t know, what’s marketed as ‘feminine’ or what’s marketed as ‘fit.’ I try to think of it as what’s being healthy and what’s not being healthy. I always let myself enjoy everything in moderation, and just know that you have to be conscious of what you’re putting into your body. But I’m never over-conscious about it because I’m pretty young.”
Between work and travel, how do you maintain your health and take care of yourself?
“When I’m traveling, it’s usually the hardest because I forget to take care of myself in the ways I normally would at home. When I’m traveling, it’s usually for work, and it’s always a very quick turnaround trip, and it’s so easy—especially with time changes—to forget to let yourself sleep and to get vitamins. I did start bringing my OLLY Girl vitamins wherever I travel, which is helpful. I’ve also been trying to prioritize sleep more, because that obviously keeps you healthy, [and have] been trying to turn off my phone before bed, which is hard.”
What advice would you give other young women who feel pressure to look a certain way?
“I mean, I feel that pressure to look a certain way [too], so I don’t feel totally exempt from this or like I have this figured out. But I think we feel that pressure to look a certain way because we were told we have to look a certain way, so it’s only natural that we feel like we have to. I grew up with a lot of magazines that were marketed towards teens that had headlines about how you can lose weight, or how you can look ‘fit,’ or how you can get a ‘bikini body.’ Those types of headlines inherently breed that sort of self-loathing young women already have. Specific advice I give myself whenever I feel very insecure, or insecure about my body, or how I look in a dress—all of these things—I try to tell myself that a lot of it is in my head. This is a hard one, because I’m still a teenager who’s insecure every day.”
Do you have a favorite activity or way to exercise your mental health?
“One thing that generally helps is running or walking around, or doing some sort of timed activity where I can just listen to music and not really think about anything else. That definitely helps your mental health, and so does trying to stay off social media as much as possible. Daily mental health activities that I should be trying to practice more are reading books—things that are physical and not on your phone. Because I feel like a phone, subconsciously, probably really stresses us out.”
How would you define the word “strong”?
“I would describe being strong as when you’re being truthful and honest. We have perceptions of ‘strong,’ especially for women, that very generically mean feeling empowered—whatever that means—and feeling super confident and invincible. Personally, I feel like strong is whenever you’re telling the truth to yourself, even if that means feeling insecure and feeling sad. That’s still strong because you’re not lying to yourself or to the world.”
Do you have any mantras that you live by? What do you tell yourself on bad days?
“What I try to tell myself on bad days is that no matter how I’m feeling, there is another person in the world that feels exactly how I feel in the moment. I think we often forget that we’re a part of such a grander thing. It can be nice to be like, ‘There are so many other people that feel the same way that I do, and they all survived.’”
Top photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@rowanblanchard
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