Growing up a superstar athlete, winning multiple Olympic medals by the age of 16, Shawn Johnson East seemingly had it all. But as she admitted in a recent interview, during that time in her life she also struggled with body image issues.
And now that she’s a mom to her 6-month-old daughter Drew Hazel, it’s her biggest fear that her daughter will deal with body image issues later in life as well. While partnering with Peanut, Johnson took questions from other moms and answered them on camera along with singer Jana Kramer.
The image issues started for Johnson after she was bullied for having a boy name and a petite build.
“I remember I would come home just crying after school and I would be like, ‘Mom, I want to change my name. I want to quit gymnastics.’ She taught me literally everything. Like, ‘You’re not supposed to look like them. You’re not supposed to be like them.’ She was always like, ‘God made you different. You’re supposed to be different and that’s a beautiful thing.'”
And like her mom was her rock throughout that very challenging time in her life, she hopes to be that for Drew. But as she admits, she’s not quite sure how to prevent that.
“This consumes my soul. I think it’s because of gymnastics and insecurities and eating disorders and everything I had my whole life. My biggest fear is that Drew will let someone else tell her what to think of her and I hate it. And I don’t know — how do you teach a kid not to allow that?”
Although Johnson shares how she hopes to instill those values into her little girl.
“I think they learn by example, so I want to try to be so incredibly aware not to say stuff about my own body,” the mom continued. “But then I also know that’s not 100% realistic because at the end of the day, we’re all critical of ourselves and she’s going to catch me saying something. So then, I want to learn how to explain it to her — how that’s the bad side, and you don’t want to listen to it.”
Johnson revealed that it was becoming a mom herself that has given her a newfound appreciation for her body, a body that created life. “I feel more confident about my body than I ever have — I love it.”
Sara Vallone has been a writer and editor for the last four and a half years. A graduate of Ohio University, she enjoys celebrity news, sports, and articles that enhance people’s lives.