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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.
Becky G has been in the spotlight for a decade, working as an actress, singer and dancer since she was 14 years old. But like so many women in the industry, the Mexican-American star recalls facing pressure beyond her talent as people concerned themselves with her appearance as she was growing up in the public eye.
"I went through this transition of young girl to young woman in front of the whole world," she tells Yahoo Life. "You’re exposed all the time — what you look like, how you speak, how you wear something. It definitely affected me and it impacted how I viewed my own self."
Born Rebbeca Marie Gomez, the California native was one of four children who learned early on that she had a role to play in taking care of her family, working at a young age to help her parents out financially. As she grew older, however, she recognized that her caretaking nature was taking a toll on the way that she cared for herself.
"In Latin culture, you know, a lot of the women are very giving — you have to give to everyone else before we give to ourselves," she explains. "And through therapy I learned that it’s OK to work on myself, to do things that only I can benefit from, which is a healthy body."
While meeting deadlines and working to better herself as a performer, Gomez realized that taking care of her physical health was the most self-loving thing that she could do. In turn, it helped her to become more empowered as an individual. Still, it took her a long time to figure out just how to participate in fitness in a way that was most beneficial to her.
"The 'why' is very important to me. I think, a lot of times, for me as a young woman, the 'why' was something that was very superficial. It was to please what society expected me to look like," Gomez says, sharing that her Latin background played a role in the stereotypes that people expected her to fit into. "My mom is curvalicious, she gave it all to my sister and I got none of it. And right now we’re in a trend where being super curvy is awesome and so I feel like, well, I don’t have that."
Regardless of the way that Gomez has been perceived by the public, her relationship with her body is a personal one that often contrasts with the way that people respond to her looks. "There’s been times where people have applauded my body for how great it looks and little do they know I didn’t feel very healthy," she says. "I don’t think healthy is a look. It’s not a look for me, it’s a feeling."
Recognizing that she's the only person in charge of determining her health and her comfortability in her body is a journey that's allowed her to feel more secure with her body image.
"It’s learning to love ourselves and accept ourselves for that uniqueness. That never goes out of style," she says. "Unlearning the things that no longer serve us, which is comparing ourselves to what the society standard is today because unfortunately the truth is that it’s gonna keep changing. And the why was so much bigger than just my physical body. It was what there was to gain emotionally and mentally."
Gomez has used her platform to speak about about body image, movement and mental health, and is hosting Movement Live by Michelob ULTRA to spread her positive messaging even further.
"It comes back to community," she explains of her willingness to speak publicly on such topics. "Knowing that you’re not the only one because you can get really into your head and be in this place of isolation where you’re like, ‘Oh my god, I’m the only one going through this.’ And in reality, there’s so many other people out there."