No skin condition has been as demonized over the last few decades as cellulite. Who could forget the glossy magazine covers with ultra-zoomed photos of celebrities’ butts, thighs, and stomachs, hyper-analyzing any bumps they could find? These were bad times for women’s body image, and many of us are still undoing the damage.
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Because the truth is, cellulite is ultra common, whether you’re a celebrity or not. A recent study noted that 80 to 90 percent of women have cellulite, mostly on the thighs, butt, and hips, and it’s completely harmless, Mayo Clinic says. It’s caused when fat cells accumulate and push against the skin, while the fibrous cords connecting skin to muscle pull down, creating an uneven surface. Some people associate cellulite with being overweight, but weight is only one factor of many; hormones, genetics, and muscle tone can all play a role as well. People of any weight or fitness level can develop cellulite, and having cellulite (or not having it) has no bearing on how active or healthy you are.
Clearly, there are a lot of cellulite myths we’re working to debunk, which is why it’s so encouraging to see many people starting to embrace it, including the celebrities who were once blasted for daring to show the ripples on their skin while relaxing on the beach. Ahead, read what 11 celebrities have to say about their cellulite and how they celebrate it — and why you should too.
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Florence Pugh spoke to Elle UK this year about embracing her body, including all its bumps and textures. “I’m not trying to hide the cellulite on my thigh or the squidge in between my arm and my boob: I would much rather lay it all out,” she told the magazine. “I think the scariest thing for me are the instances where people have been upset that I’ve shown ‘too much’ of myself.”
The time for policing of bodies (and especially women’s bodies) is over, Pugh went on. “Keeping women down by commenting on their bodies has worked for a very long time,” she said. “I think we’re in this swing now where lots of people are saying, ‘I don’t give a s***.’ … We need to keep reminding everybody that there is more than one reason for women’s bodies [to exist].”
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While many people have drawn strength and confidence from the body positivity movement, others prefer body neutrality — not judging your body as “good” or “bad” at all. One of them is Jameela Jamil, who has other things she wants to focus on besides her body. “I believe in just not thinking about your body, and I have the luxury of being able to do that because I’m not being constantly persecuted for my size,” she said in a 2019 Daily Show interview.
Jamil went on, “I just manage to get more things done in my day when I’m not thinking about my figure. I can’t stand in front of a mirror and say, ‘Oh I love my thighs, I love my cellulite,’–I can just not think about them, and think about my bank account and orgasms, you know?”
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One of the most ridiculous (and unfair) parts of the current beauty standard is the way it forces us to equate how we look — including our body shape and size — with how deserving we are of love. Amy Schumer, for one, refuses to put up with those expectations, as she revealed in a 2015 interview with Glamour. “For women, we’re taught to eat less until we disappear,” she said. “And trained to believe that if you don’t look like everyone else, then you’re unlovable. And men are not trained that way … I think it’s good to see somebody saying: I have a belly. And I have cellulite. And I still deserve love.”
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Blake Lively is constantly impressing us on the red carpet, but she embraces her body whether it’s decked out in gowns or not. “I obviously have plenty of imperfections on my body,” she told Allure in 2012, “but I’d rather have a little bit of cellulite and go do a food trip and try every ice cream place in the South.” We love a star with her priorities in order.
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Lizzo loves her body and her beauty, and she’s on a mission to help fans feel the same way. Talking to People in 2022, the “Good as Hell” singer said, “I think I have a really hot body! I’m a body icon, and I’m embracing that more and more every day… What I’m doing is stepping into my confidence and my power to create my own beauty standard, and one day that will just be the standard.”
In a 2020 interview with Essence, Lizzo explained that she loves “creating shapes with my body,” which includes “normalizing the dimples in my butt or the lumps in my thighs or my back fat or my stretch marks … I think it’s beautiful.”
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Kristen Bell has had her share of paparazzi photos where her cellulite is visible — and often highlighted. “I’ve had my cellulite circled, when Dax [Shepard, her husband] and I were in Hawaii,” she told ShowbizSpy in 2010, per Jezebel. “When I saw it I started to sweat, going, ‘Oh, my gosh, someone doesn’t like me’. Then the more I looked at the pic, I thought, ‘I look great!’ I’m sorry for having human legs, made of muscle, skin and fat. Oops. Like I should be apologizing for that! If I had an extra pound on me, forgive me, but I was happy enough with the picture that I was like, ‘I like my body. I have cellulite. Deal with it’.”
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Kelly Clarkson has long been an advocate for authenticity when it comes to body image — even when she herself is being Photoshopped. Back in 2009, at the very start of the body positivity movement, People reported that she told a group of young Girl Scouts that “everyone in the magazines is Photoshopped … We’re all human!”
She learned early on, as a contestant on American Idol, that her body would be unfairly scrutinized and her best bet was to ignore it. “It’s horrible – [magazines will] show celebrities with cellulite and it’s like, ‘Of course celebrities have cellulite!” she said. “We’re not fem-bots!”
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Jessie J casually embraced her cellulite in a gorgeous (now-deleted) Instagram photo from 2019. Pictured rocking a black bikini, the British singer wrote, “Took ages to hairspray my hair like that. My shadow is my mood. Oh and for those telling me I have cellulite. I know. I own a mirror.” Her unbothered attitude towards the trolls is exactly on point.
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Jessica Alba’s workouts prove she’s passionate about taking care of her body, and that includes accepting it the way it is. In a 2010 issue of British GQ, she discussed how her body had changed after giving birth to daughter Honor, saying, “My breasts are saggy, I’ve got cellulite, my hips are bigger.” A few years later, in a 2013 interview with Women’s Health UK, Alba added that she didn’t “have the body of a 14-year-old anymore.”
“I have cellulite and stretch marks,” Alba went on. “I think the more we try not to have that unrealistic ideal, the happier we’ll be.”
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As a star who rose to fame at the height of Hollywood’s weight obsession in the early 2000s, Kate Winslet has always refused to conform to unhealthy ideals. “I look like the people that walk down the street,” she told The Sun in 2012, per HuffPost. “I don’t have perfect boobs, I don’t have zero cellulite — of course I don’t — and I’m curvy. If that is something that makes women feel empowered in any way, that’s great.” The mom of two, who was 36 at the time, added, “I feel stronger, fitter and more comfortable in my own skin now than I have ever done.”
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Ashley Graham has broken plenty of barriers as a plus-size model, so it’s no surprise that she’s also shared insight into her feelings on body image. “I felt free once I realized I was never going to fit in the mold that society wanted me to fit in,” Graham said in a 2015 TED Talk. “I’m never going to be perfect enough for an industry that defines perfection from the outside in … rolls, curves, cellulite — all of it. I love every part of me.”