In addition to her starring role on ABC’s new hit series “Scandal”, Katie Lowes is also taking on the role of helping to empower young women to feel confident with their bodies and voices. In support of the Team True Beauty movement, Lowes is speaking out and sharing her hopes for our culture to shift its judgment of women based on looks and to instead focus on their actions and words. And when it comes to looks, the New York-raised stage and screen actress challenges the media’s limiting labels and believes it is vital for girls to value themselves and their unique spirits.
A spirit full of true beauty is what Lowes exuded during our interview as she shared her advice for what girls can do to avoid living their life with their insecurities, and to instead recognize their purpose and live their life through it.
As a young actress, do you feel the pressure to fit the image standards set by the media?
Katie- Of course! I definitely think you would be lying to yourself if you said you didn’t feel the pressure. Especially being an actress and being in Hollywood, and seeing the celebrities that I look up to; a lot of the times they have very different bodies than me. You always as an actress try to blame it on something. “Why didn’t I book that?” Or “Why aren’t I getting that opportunity?” And I find that a lot of times you say “Is it what I look like? Was I not pretty enough? Was I not thin enough?” And you have to try to find it within yourself to just be strong enough to quiet those crazy people inside of your head that are judgmental and are thinking about the wrong things. And you say, “No, that has nothing to do with it. This part just wasn’t meant for me and there will be one that is right for me. One that embraces and loves all of me that makes me who I am.”
One of our supporters talked about this as well-saying it’s society that puts those negative voices into your head. You’re not born with them.
Katie– Yes, for sure. I hesitate to say it but in my experience I found it to be true. I grew up in New York. I went to college in New York, and I’ve been an actress and someone that’s been in love with theater, and with dancing and singing my whole life, and it actually really wasn’t until I moved to Los Angeles six years ago that those voices got a little bit louder. I don’t know if it’s because it’s LA and there’s a lot of beautiful women who are thin, or because you’re auditioning so much and so there’s a lot of rejection- but those voices definitely got louder. You definitely need to dig deep to ignore them, push them aside and realize they’re not real and they don’t count.
It’s insecurities that we all share and have. We all have them. It’s so hard. I know women who are size zeros who have it and I know women who are size 16 who have it. And I know women who some say they’re absolutely gorgeous and they don’t feel it. I mean everybody has it. In one one way you feel sort of bonded together that everyone has insecurities. Everybody has parts of themselves that they’re not 100% happy with- that’s what makes you human. And being an actor, your job is to play human beings. Your job is to play real people. And so I think it’s very important that people turn on the TV and people go into movies and they see people like themselves. They don’t only see size zero. They have to see people from all walks of life no matter their size, their socio-economic background, their race, orientation. It’s just important that everyone is represented.
Yes because that’s how the world is so we have to reflect it. The media has to reflect the diversity.
Katie- Yes, the media as well. Everyone is so hyped up right now on this Ashley Judd article she wrote. I retweeted it, of course. I’m trying to do my part. And I’m so inspired by her and her standing up. And I’m so happy that it has gone viral and that she has stood up against the media.
I interviewed Ashley Judd last week and I spoke to her about the way she spoke out the way she did and told the media to stop focusing on the physical traits of women, and like she said, why the even matter and have to be discussed. She said it’s almost like you can’t win. If you’re too thin, you’re anorexic. If you’re a little puffy, they say something.
Katie- Yes, even if it is positive, we have to take the attention off of the superficial outside look of everything. Even if it is being positive. It has to come off of what people look like and it has to get down to the work. It has to get down to the role they played. How it was different from the role they last played. How the creative aspects of it are.
And what they do, like charities or their activism. That’s what lasts in the end.
Katie- Right, what you do with your time on earth while you’re here not what you look like while you do it.
When you were younger, in high school or college, did you struggle at all with these pressures?
Katie- I am so fortunate I never really did. I struggled with waking up days and hating yourself and waking up days and loving yourself. In high school I had a couple girlfriends who had very extreme eating disorders. Anorexia and bulimia. And in college as well. It’s just heartbreaking. As someone going through it, it’s heartbreaking. And as a friend who’s helping a friend going through it, it’s heartbreaking. It’s a real, real disease. Even beyond anorexia and bulimia, it’s just about growing up and girls being insecure and being mean to each other. And that’s why we all need to band together I think and make a change.
How do you think girls and young women today can find it within themselves to just be happy with exactly what they look like and not fall into the pressures?
Katie- You really need to just be able to look into the mirror, no matter what you see looking back at you, and love that person because it’s what you’ve been given. You’re a human being: you have a body, and a face, and a voice that speaks, and a body that moves and it’s going to take you through this world and it’s such a beautiful thing. No matter what it looks like. Then I think it’s so important to try and find support in doing things- finding hobbies that you love to do that make you feel special. Whether you love to read, or you love to cook, or you love to play sports, or you love to dance; just finding hobbies that make you centered and make you feel positive- I think is really important. And of course, if you could find a support system outside of yourself-girlfriends that love you for who you are.
A couple of the actresses involved and I have spoken about the importance of finding your purpose. Because then you put your energy towards something else and not towards stressing about how many calories you ate today.
Katie- That’s exactly right! You won’t focus on superficial things. It’s like the last Oprah on her last show, I remember her saying something about finding your purpose. It’s just whatever that thing is in your life, that you do, that makes you lit up inside. Whatever that is for you. It’s different for everybody. For me it happens to be acting, which is so great because it happens to be my job. Before it was my job, I did it everywhere I could. Any acting class, any play I could do with a bunch of friends- because it’s what made me feel like my light was coming out of myself and when that is happening, you don’t care what you look like or what you weigh. If you feel like you have a purpose, you wake up in the morning with a passion and a drive and a reason for being here. It doesn’t have to be something that is their job or something that they’re going to major in. If it does great, but if it doesn’t, just something that they love to do that makes them feel like their purpose is being met and they’ve turned something on inside themselves. And staying in that world is I think what makes you ignore all of those silly voices in your head that are talking about silly things.
Then you feel like you’re doing something of value. I think it really makes a difference in our spirits when we live our lives with a dedicated purpose. I also believe you’re worthy just by being born. I think Oprah said that too!
Katie- Absolutely! But you feel it. You feel it when you work on whatever it is that makes you feel good. Anything.
At Team True Beauty, we also try to help with just lifting confidence in general. We tell people their voices truly matter. What do you want to say to girls who don’t feel confident with who they are? It doesn’t necessarily have to do with their looks, but they don’t feel confident to speak out or do what they really want?
Katie- I think when you are lacking confidence in doing something you have to dig deep and be brave and do it anyway. That is really a life lesson that comes later in time. I just know that high school is so hard and I’m so much more confident now than I ever was then. Now just life lessons and falling on my butt time and time again, off the horse, off the horse, and just getting myself back on, and finding it within myself to love myself to just do it.
I feel like when other women support each other, when girls uplift one another, it truly makes a difference and strengthens us and gives us more confidence.
Katie- That’s the most important thing ever! If you can find a group of women, any age, who are supportive and kind and love you, that’s the best. I have a group of girlfriends that I would lay in front of a bus for. They’ve picked me up through really, really bad times and I can definitely say I’ve done the same for them. I think women understand each other very well with any sort of confidence issues, or insecurities, or failures or things like that. I think if you can find a group of girls that you can really trust, there’s no bond like that.
I agree. We can help each other find the wisdom in our wounds.
Katie- Yes! And you are helping people to do that.
Thank you so much! So are you by speaking out. It’s all a team effort. There’s a quote that I love and when I read it, I thought it related so much to this campaign and everyone who is speaking out with us. “Together women’s voices of empowerment can be heard in the distance. we empower one another.
Katie- That’s so great and so true. It’s so true. I mean a group of people, any group of people, male or female, can move and change anything, I really do believe that. But I happen to be biased in that I really think a group of women can do more than anything.
We can heal one another.
Katie- Yes, and I feel like things like Team True Beauty are getting girls to know that there are options out there and there are support networks of women that are available to them and can give them insight and inspire them to make a change.
How do you define true beauty?
Katie- True beauty is a spirit that is inside of every human on this planet. Like you said anyone who is born is somebody that has a spirit. And that spirit is beautiful, and it is alive, and it has a heartbeat and it is musical; and you’ve got to nourish it, protect it and inspire it. I think that there is something truly beautiful in everybody you meet. I really, really believe that. And anyone that is doubting it can look at things like Team True Beauty to try to help it grow and so they can walk through their life knowing how beautiful they are. I think that everybody is. That’s why I’m actor because I get to play so many people. Even people who are so broken, that are so beautiful and have spirits that are different from my own. That’s why acting is so attractive to me.
Beautiful answer Katie! Everybody has their beauty within them. Any final words you would like to share?
Katie- I hope and wish all the best success for what you’re doing. I think it’s so incredibly important. Nobody is alone and I hope that any girls who read the interview and other interviews you’re doing, I just hope they’re inspired to know that they’re not alone. We’re all in this together. And you are beautiful!
Follow Katie Lowes on Twitter- @KatieQLowes
Katie Lowes stars on “Scandal” on ABC Thursday nights.
For more on Team True Beauty & to read more celebrity interviews- visit its official website! www.teamtruebeauty.com