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17 of the Best Celebrity Responses to Body Shaming

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17 of the Best Celebrity Responses to Body Shaming
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Diversity is beautiful. It's what makes life interesting. But for whatever reason, some people still feel the need to tear others down for what they look like. The story doesn't have to end with the negativity, though. Take these 17 celebrities as examples. Though they started out as the victims of body shaming, they all used the opportunity to defend themselves and help others learn to love their bodies. Their collective responses tell the world that it's OK (even great!) to be and look exactly as you do. Here's how they fought back with humor, self-esteem and a healthy dose of practical advice.

Alicia Machado
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ALICIA MACHADO

When Alicia Machado was crowed Miss Universe in 1996 it was the happiest moment of her life. But after gaining weight following her win, she was met with ridicule, bullying and fat shaming by fans, the media, and even the owner of the pageant, Donald Trump. From being called names such as “Ms.Piggy” or “an eating machine” to her weight being an ongoing discussion in the media, Machado spiraled into a dark period where she battled with eating disorders and depression. Now Machado loves and accepts her body and hopes to use her experience to help teens who are struggling to accept their own bodies. “No matter what, no matter who tells you that you don’t look good, that is only outside,” Machado told The Guardian when speaking of her outlook today, finishing: “I’m a strong woman.”

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2. Tyra Banks
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2 TYRA BANKS

In the fight back against body shaming, there has been no louder, prouder call to action than the “America’s Next Top Model” host’s proclamation, “Kiss my fat ass!” In fact, the now-iconic declaration, a response to a tabloid’s negative remarks about a shot of Banks on the beach in a swimsuit, was named one of TV Guide’s 60 Greatest Talk Show Moments. But the impact of the talk-show host’s words went far beyond that. “If I had lower self-esteem, I would probably be starving myself right now,” said a clearly emotional Banks during an episode of her show. “But that’s exactly what is happening to other women all over this country.” In taking a stand for herself, Banks also took a powerful stand for “curvy” women everywhere.

Related: The Dark Side of “Motivational” Body Images

3. Jennifer Aniston
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3 JENNIFER ANISTON

The Friends star unleashed on the media after tabloids speculated about her being pregnant one time too many. "For the record, I am NOT pregnant. What I am is FED UP. I’m fed up with the sport-like scrutiny and body shaming that occurs daily under the guise of 'journalism,' the 'First Amendment' and 'celebrity news,'” she wrote July 12, 2016, on Huffington Post. She railed against "how much we define a woman’s value based on her marital and maternal status," declaring, "we are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child." She urged fans to stop "buying the bullshit" served up by tabloids -- and social media went wild with virtual applause.

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4. Ashley Graham
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4 ASHLEY GRAHAM

Model Ashley Graham has long been outspoken about having a body-positive attitude and even calls herself a "body activist." Graham was the first plus-size model ever to be featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue -- in fact, she made the 2016 cover. "Someone once told me my thighs were 'cellulite city,'" Graham said on Instagram. "But I now realize these thighs tell a story of victory and courage." In the August 2016 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine, Graham chastised comedian Amy Schumer for the "double standard" of capitalizing "on being a big girl," but disassociating herself from the group after Glamour magazine implied Schumer was plus-size. In a subsequent lovefest on Twitter, the two celebrities expressed their mutual admiration with Schumer saying, "I totally understand Ashley's feelings. I don't group myself in with her because she is unbelievably beautiful. Nothing but respect for her."

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5. Zendaya
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5 ZENDAYA

Body shaming isn’t just for the “fat” -- skinny girls are unfortunately also the targets of body shaming. In fact, soon after accepting a Kid's Choice Award for female TV star, she was criticized by author and comedian Julie Klausner via Twitter. “Zendaya's ultimate retort to Giuliana Rancic is starving herself down to the size of one of her elbowz [sic],” she tweeted. Followed by, “You don't have to have an eating disorder to attend the Kids' Choice Awards... but it helps!” Zendaya's first response was a warning shot to Klausner (“Do you find this funny? I will write another paragraph to educate you aswell [sic]”), referencing the lengthy Instagram retort she posted in response to Guiliana Rancic's inappropriate comment in 2015. But the singer soon changed her tone, tweeting out a body-positive message to her young fans: “Now... everyone go look in the mirror at their beautiful body, and love that sh-- #thickgirlswinning #skinnygirlswinning #weallwinning.”

Related: 10 Ways to Build Self-Esteem

6. Selena Gomez
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6 SELENA GOMEZ

The singer/actress, a professional performer since age 9, was so taken aback by comments made about her body when she hit her twenties that she felt the need to seek help. “I’ve been working in therapy,” she told Us Weekly. “I’d land at the airport, and people would yell out, ‘You’re fat!’ It was awful.” For her, the best way to fight back was to take control of the story, posting a body-baring photo on Instagram. “Look, I didn’t want them to win,” she told Ellen Degeneres on her talk show. “It’s so annoying when I see it all over the place, and everybody thinks they can bring me down. So my immediate response was I’m gonna post a picture and be like, ‘I’m happy with me, y’all.’”

Related: 25 Healthiest Celebrities and Athletes on Instagram

7. Melissa McCarthy
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7 MELISSA MCCARTHY

In the course of her meteoritic rise from “Gilmore Girls” buddy to box-office superstar, the future Ghostbuster has had to endure her share of verbal slings and arrows. When a film critic called her “tractor-sized,” she admitted that had it happened when she was younger and less secure, “it may have crushed me.” These days, her family offers all the protection she needs from this kind of vitriol. “I felt really bad for someone who is swimming in so much hate,” McCarthy, who is generally reticent to discuss body image, told the New York Times. “I just thought, ‘That’s someone who’s in a really bad spot, and I am in such a happy spot.’ I laugh my head off every day with my husband and my kids, who are mooning me and singing me songs.”

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8. Gigi Hadid
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8 GIGI HADID

It seems a little unbelievable that one of the biggest names in modeling would ever have to defend her 5'10" frame to anyone, but when online criticism surfaced following her appearance at last year’s New York fashion week, she took to Instagram. Acknowledging that, “I don’t have the same body types as the other models in shows,” she cited herself as an example of a changing fashion industry. Writes Hadid, “Your mean comments don’t make me want to change my body, they don’t make me want to say no to the designers that ask me to be in their shows, and they definitely don’t change the designers’ opinions of me.” You tell ’em, girl!

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9. Vin Diesel
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9 VIN DIESEL

The “Fast and Furious” hunk has always been known for his chiseled physique. But much to the shock to dads everywhere, Diesel was told he had a “dad bod” after sharing a picture where his typical six-pack was shown slightly softer. The actor, who had scaled back his rigorous gym routine for an acting role, made it known that didn’t he appreciate the comment. “I do think it’s wrong to body shame,” he told “Good Morning America.” “Trolls on the Internet -- there are all kinds of atrocities they commit on the Internet.” At the same time, Diesel, a weightlifter since his teen years, has no problem wearing a target on his well-developed chest. “Honestly, I would rather it come to me than somebody else,” said the actor. “I can take it.”

Related: The 35 Most Memorable Hollywood Bodies

10. Adele
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10 ADELE

The Grammy-winning singer and mother has said repeatedly that she makes music for people’s ears, not their eyes. Still, Adele, whose appearance at awards show tends to elicit unfunny and unnecessary jibes, admits that she occasionally reads the mean body-related comments that accompany her videos on YouTube. How does she put up with all of it? Proper perspective, to begin with. “I’ve always been a size 14 to 16 and been fine with it,” she said in “Adele: The Biography.” “I would only lose weight if it affected my health or sex life, which it doesn’t.”

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11. Mindy Kaling
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11 MINDY KALING

People may think that a comedian like Kaling wouldn’t feel the need to hold herself to “conform to normal standards of beauty,” as she wrote in her second book. The truth is, “I am just not remotely successful at it,” she jokes. Still, she admits that having a healthy attitude about her body -- and standing up to those who might be negative about it -- is important for both her and her fans. “I want to always be as body-positive as girls hope that I am,” she says. “Far too many women are much more hurt by being called fat or ugly than they are by being called not smart or not a leader,” adds “The Office” star. “If someone told me that I was stupid or that I wasn’t a leader or that I wasn’t witty or quick or perceptive, I’d be devastated. If someone told me that I had a gross body, I’d say, ‘Well, it’s bringing me a lot of happiness.’”

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12. Sam Smith
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12 SAM SMITH

Leave it to “shock jock” Howard Stern to give the most underhanded, backward compliment ever. During an episode of his satellite radio show, Stern said, “You know what I like about the guy? He's an ugly motherf--er. He's fat... He looks gay to me, not that anybody looks gay, but he does seem effeminate.” Things escalated quickly from there. Smith responded at first by posting vague tweets (“Can’t believe what I’ve just read.” and “Ignore.” they read). But he later used his Grammy acceptance speech to address the nasty comments. “I just want to say that before I made this record, I was doing everything to try and get my music heard. I was trying to lose weight, and I was making awful music. It was only until I started to be myself that the music started to flow and the people started to listen,” he said.

Related: 10 Ways to Learn to Love Yourself More

13. Kelly Clarkson
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13 KELLY CLARKSON

True, the former “American Idol” winner’s weight has fluctuated quite a bit since her rise to fame. (How many of us can relate?) But never had she been called out about it as severely as when a Daily Mail columnist tweeted, “Jesus, what happened to Kelly Clarkson? Did she eat all of her backing singers? Happily I have wide-screen.” The singer and new mother took it in stride, though, choosing to focus on her own happiness than the harsh body criticism. “I’ve just never cared what people think. It’s more if I’m happy and confident and feeling good, that’s always been my thing. And more so now, since having a family -- I don’t seek out any other acceptance,” she told Heat magazine. She also told the magazine that she planned to teach her daughter and stepdaughter the same kind of self-love.

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14. Alyssa Milano
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14 ALYSSA MILANO

Though calling out a woman for her weight or body type is never acceptable, you’d think the rule would go doubly for pregnant women or a woman who has recently given birth. Apparently no one informed actor Jay Mohr of this, though. Not long after the birth of her son Milo in 2011, the actor and new mom was criticized for her weight by her fellow actor. But Milano was 100 percent class. “So sorry you felt the need to publicly fat-shame me. Be well and God Bless. Please send my love to your beautiful wife,” she tweeted to Mohr, who later apologized for the rude comments. And once again Milano took the high road, graciously accepting his apology.

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15. Emma Stone
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15 EMMA STONE

Just like Zendaya, Emma Stone has faced her share of body shaming for being “too thin.” In 2014, actress and comedian Emma Stone told USA Today that she’d frequently been the target of body shamers telling her to “eat a sandwich” or that she looked sick. Despite her incredible strength of character, Stone said she briefly let the comments affect her. But then she took a stand against the haters and stood up for young girls everywhere. “I’m not sick. I eat sandwiches. I’ve shamed myself for it. We shame each other online. We’re always too skinny or too fat or too tall or too short. It bothers me because I care so much about young girls.”

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16. Minnie Driver
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16 MINNIE DRIVER

These days, you can find Minnie Driver tweeting up a storm on women’s rights, presidential politics and any number of other topics close to the Oscar-nominated actor’s heart. But there was a period when being body shamed after being secretly photographed on a family beach vacation almost made her swear off social media for good. She tweeted, “God some people are horrible: you try being photographed when you don’t know it’s happening, when you’re on holiday with your kids.” Later she vowed to leave the Twittersphere for good, saying, “It’s not worth it.” But the actor has been far from silent on the topic, going on “Today” to advise people who are trying to live up to the media idea of body image. “Don’t compare yourself to anyone,” she said on the NBC morning show.

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17. Demi Lovato
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17 DEMI LOVATO

Like other performers who found fame as kids, the singer and actress, who made her debut on “Barney & Friends,” struggled in the wake of her initial success. But few have been more open about it than Lovato. After completing rehab in 2011 for bulimia, among other issues, Lovato confronted her body shamers directly. “I’ve gained weight,” tweeted Lovato after looking healthy at the 2011 MTV Video Awards. “That’s what happens when you get out of treatment for AN EATING DISORDER.” She later deleted the tweet in favor of the more forward-thinking, “I’m healthy and happy, and if you’re hating on my weight, you obviously aren’t.” Just as powerfully, Lovato used her platform to take on fat shaming in the media, calling out former employer The Disney Channel on Twitter for a joke she felt promoted an unhealthy body image.

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What Do YOU Think?
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WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Were you aware of any of these instances of celebrity body shaming? What do you think of the celebs’ responses? Have you ever been the victim of body shaming? How did you handle it? Have you ever stood up for a friend, family member or even stranger who was being targeted for how he or she looked? Share your stories in the comments section below!

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