Three Cheers for Kate!

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By Sharon Haywood

Kate Winslet has been attracting a lot of attention these days and not just because she snagged two Golden Globes for her roles in Revolutionary Road and The Reader. The 33-year-old actress boldly announced that she and her Revolutionary Road co-star Leonardo DiCaprio are proud to be Botox-free: “I’m so thrilled by our foreheads. They’re supposed to move.” She’s unlike some of her Hollywood peers, like Jenny McCarthy and Courtney Cox, who tried erasing their wrinkles via injections of the botulinum toxin only to be horrified to discover that paralyzed facial muscles are not conducive to realistic expressions. Winslet is not at odds with getting older.  She readily accepts that as she ages, so does the rest of her, a rare stance to take in the world of film and television.

This isn’t the first time Winslet captured headlines regarding her image. Since her birth as an international star from the release of Titanic in 1997, the media focused the spotlight on her body, and set her apart from the majority of female celebrities, most of whom are thin and often, underweight. Often described as well-rounded or curvaceous, Winslet is in reality of average weight. Instead of crumbling under the pressure and becoming the latest spokeswoman for a weight-loss center, she speaks out against striving for perfection, attempting to dispel societal messages that true success and happiness can only be found in a size zero:

“I’ve got a lovely husband and children, and I didn’t lose weight to find those things.”

Again and again, she refuses to conform to impossible standards of beauty. In 2003, an angry Winslet apologized to fans when editors at Britain’s GQ magazine essentially photo-shopped out what they thought was too much of Kate, thus distorting her body into something it wasn’t. While filming The Reader in 2008 she turned down the offer to have a body double stand in for her when the script called for nude scenes. She also refused to shed any pounds for the role. She wanted to depict a believable and credible character. What easier way to portray a woman who has had two children than to be herself, a mother of two in real life?  Not only a role model for her fans, she prohibits fashion magazines in her home, conscious of sending her daughter healthy messages about her body.

No doubt, we’ll hear more from her. For the sake of today’s young girls and women, let’s hope her colleagues will follow her example and spark a trend of actresses who have no shame in showing the world who they really are: natural and confident, and beautiful because of it.

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