Alyssa Milano attends the UNICEF Ball in January 2016. (Photo: Jen Lowery/Splash News/Corbis)
This interview is part of Yahoo Health’s Body-Peace Profiles series, in which we talk with our favorite celebrities about embracing body positivity and healthy habits.
In a world of off-the-wall Hollywood celebs and intense pressure to look a certain way, actress Alyssa Milano seems to float above it all. But lately, she’s been striking back — albeit in her own trademark, down-to-earth, positive way.
Recently, appearing on Wendy Willams’s talk show, Milano defended public breastfeeding, and the debate went viral. Milano, mother of Milo, 4, and Elizabella, 18 months, shut down criticism by asking, “Would you eat under a blanket?”
The Who’s the Boss? and Charmed star also took the high road when she responded to nasty comments from Jay Mohr on Twitter: “So sorry you felt the need to publicly fat-shame me. Be well and God Bless. Please send my love to your beautiful wife.” (Is it possible to diss with politeness? Because if so — owned.)
Yahoo Health talked with the actress and role model about self-care, motherhood, and the best piece of advice she’s ever gotten.
YAHOO HEALTH: Have you ever struggled with body confidence?
ALYSSA MILANO: Of course. I think every woman on the planet struggles with body confidence at some point. For me, it was in my 20s.
How did you overcome the incredible Hollywood pressure to look a certain way?
I never really felt pressure from Hollywood to look a certain way. It was always my own issues and insecurity that made me feel that I needed to live up to a certain standard.
Have there been any moments when you’ve been really down about your body, and what helped you get out of it?
Yes! Again, I feel every woman deals with these feelings at some point. The thing that always makes me feel better about myself is working on my personal, soulful fulfillment, and trying to find balance.
What has being a mom changed for you, in terms of your approach to body image?
Having babies taught me that my body wasn’t created to look good in a string bikini. It was created to give life, nourishment, and comfort to the children my husband and I create. And to me, there is nothing more special and beautiful.
Alyssa Milano at the premiere of Disney’s Planes with her son, Milo, in 2013. (Photo: @Parisa/Splash News/Corbis)
What are the moments you feel completely confident in your body?
After a spinning class or yoga class, and when it’s time to feed Bella. Also, as odd as it may sound, pregnancy always makes me feel confident in my body. Women’s bodies are so very special.
What makes you feel strong and healthy?
I live the Atkins low-carb lifestyle, so I eat a diet rich in vegetables, lean proteins and fish, and good fats. I have found that by reducing refined carbs and sugar, I have a lot more energy to make it through the day and keep up with my kids. Working out and spending time focusing on my strength and endurance actually makes me feel physically fit.
What’s the best piece of advice someone’s given you about body image?
“Listen to your body. The female body is a perfect machine.” My mother taught me this.