The glitz and glamour of Bollywood have always been associated with flawless beauty and impeccable style. However, the reality is that behind the perfect bodies and stunning looks, there are often stories of struggle, insecurity, and body image issues. Here are ten Bollywood celebrities who have openly talked about their struggles with body image issues and made us feel they are just like us!
1. Vidya Balan
The actress, who is known for her strong female-centric roles, has always been criticized for her curves. But, the actress shared that she is no longer bothered about what people say about ‘the length of your hair, the thickness of your arms, curves, height’ because it doesn’t matter.’ In an interview with a media house, she said, “When you go out into the world, you realise there are certain expectations that people want to box you (in) because it’s just more convenient. I think that comes as a bit of a jolt. I grew up a fat girl, but I thought I was the most beautiful woman on planet Earth until people began to tell me ‘Oh you’ve got such a pretty face, why don’t you lose weight’ and all kinds of terms get used for you – gundu (in Tamil) and moti (in Hindi) – and then you are suddenly looking at yourself at home (in the mirror),” However, she has now learned to accept and embrace her body, and she encourages others to do the same. She believes that people should focus on their talent and their work rather than their physical appearance.
2. Sonam Kapoor
The fashionista of Bollywood has often been criticized for her weight, but she has always been confident about her body. In an interview with Tribune, the actress shared her ordeal, “Till I was a certain age, I was called Giraffe because I was too thin. And then I gained weight, then I had a hard time with my weight. Sometimes, you don’t put on weight, then people are like, ‘Oh my God, she’s so thin.’ Especially when you come from a Punjabi family, and they feed you so much you gain weight, then they are like, ‘She is too thin, too fat, too dark, too tall who will marry her?’ It’s not healthy, it’s not correct, and it’s not mentally okay. People go through so many mental health problems, you can’t do that to people.” She also revealed that she had faced criticism and trolling for her body shape, especially after gaining weight for her role in the movie “Neerja”. However, she has now learned to love her body and has embraced a healthier lifestyle to maintain it.
3. Sonakshi Sinha
The Dabangg actress has often been criticized for her weight, but then also she has always been confident about her body. In an interview with Cosmopolitan, Sonakshi said, “You know, I was always an overweight child. I used to be 95 kilos in school. People bullied me, and the boys called me names.”
However, she did not let the criticism about her weight get to her, even when she was younger. “I never took the bullying to heart. And I didn’t let it bring me down because I’ve always known there’s much more to me than my weight or my size,” she said. “Before debuting with Dabangg in 2010, I lost 30 kilos and “It was a huge achievement for me. And I was so proud of myself. But people were still talking about how much I weighed and how I looked”, she added.
4. Bhumi Pednekar
The actress, who made her debut with the movie Dum Laga Ke Haisha, has often talked about her journey from being overweight to becoming a fitness enthusiast. Speaking to Popxo, the actress revealed that she used to weigh around 90 kg before her acting career and that she had to lose a significant amount of weight for her debut movie. However, she believes that body positivity is not about being overweight or underweight, but about being comfortable in your skin. Bhumi has also been actively involved in promoting body positivity and has been a part of campaigns that aim to raise awareness about body shaming.
5. Priyanka Chopra
During the show The View, Priyanka revealed, “Before I became an actor, I met a producer about the possibility of acting. I was a beauty pageant winner at that time. And, he said that everything was wrong with me. He said my nose was not proportionate, the shape of my body was not proportionate…”
She further added, “There is such a false perception about what women should look like and what our bodies should look like. Especially when you are in the business, you put on a couple of pounds and people are like body shaming you. It happens. Christmas happens to all of us. I am an Indian. I have Holi, I have Diwali, I have hundred holidays, and my body fluctuates, and you know what, I am fine with it.”
While talking about the changes her body experiences with age she said, “Well, I won’t lie that I don’t get affected by it. My body has changed as I’ve gotten older, just as everyone’s body does, and I’ve had to adapt mentally as well with like, OK, this is what it looks like now, this is what I look like now. It’s alright, catering to my ‘now’ body and not my 10-or 20-years-ago body.”
6. Anushka Sharma
The actress, who is known for her fitness and toned body, has often talked about how she was once overweight. The actress, known for her beauty and talent, gave birth to her daughter Vamika in January 2021 and later revealed in an Instagram post that she had struggled with body shaming and unrealistic beauty standards after giving birth. Anushka in an interview with Grazia stated “Only a week ago, I was telling a friend how afraid I was because of this pressure that’s thrust upon women to look a certain way, even before they become mothers before they get pregnant, and definitely after they’ve had a baby. Despite being somebody who is fairly self-aware, I was worried. I kept thinking – am I going to hate my body?” she had been targeted and criticized for her post-pregnancy body, which had left her feeling vulnerable and insecure. However, she also expressed her determination to focus on her own health and well-being rather than external opinions and to set an example for other new mothers.
7. Parineeti Chopra
The actress, who was once overweight, has often talked about her journey to fitness. Parineeti in an interview with Mirchi Plus revealed how she has been body shamed before when she entered the Bollywood industry. She has been fat-shamed several times. She never forgot her beginning stint where she first faced criticism for being overweight.
While talking about her body image issues, the actor revealed, “I was not happy with the way I used to look. I didn’t have the confidence and the freedom to wear what I wanted. I was always restricted by clothes. I would see how I looked in photographs and on-screen and constantly felt, ‘Oh my God, I wish I was looking better’. I always used to feel that, and many people used to ask me, ‘Are you comfortable with your body and are you trying to make a statement by your body type?’ And I would be like, ‘Please, no, this is what I am’. I was trying to lose weight, but I never went to the gym. I never worked out, I never did anything that would help me lose weight.”
8. Huma Qureshi
The actress, who made her debut with the movie Gangs of Wasseypur, has often talked about how she was bullied for being overweight. Speaking with IANS, the actress revealed “I got rejected due to weight and in a review of my film. I had also received comments like, ‘Huma adds too much weight to be a mainstream leading lady’.
The actress, who made her debut with the movie Rockstar, has often talked about how she struggled with her weight during her childhood. The actress, known for her beauty and talent, revealed in an interview with HT, the diva shared “I definitely faced body shaming for a short time. I do believe there is a certain look or appearance people expect from you. So there is pressure to maintain that.” “When I first came to India, I was too skinny, so everyone was like ‘You need to put on weight’ I then maintained it, I have a naturally skinny state. Later I gained about 50 pounds, so they posted I was pregnant, which I thought was not funny, but also very funny. I think at first my feelings got hurt, but I realized it’s my job to take care of myself. I lost 40 pounds, worked out, and got that body back,” she added. However, she has now learned to love and accept her body, and she uplifts others to do the same.
10. Kareena Kapoor Khan
The actress, who is known for her once size zero figure, has often talked about how she struggled with her weight during her pregnancy. In an interview with a media house she revealed “Well, I have always been that person who has embraced her body in every shape and size. Whether it was during my pregnancy or post-pregnancy, I have owned it all. I have flaunted my bump. When I gained 26kgs, I walked the ramp with my heavy baby bump. That’s why I shot for PUMA because it’s about empowering women rather than making them think that the ideal woman should have six-pack abs and ripped legs.” She believes that it’s important for women to accept their bodies and be proud of them, no matter what.
11. Alia Bhatt
The new mom and everyone’s favourite Alia also faced body image issues. While speaking to Journalist Barkha Dutt at a recent panel discussion for ‘We The Women’ Global Townhall and said “Because I’m facing the camera, I’ve been very hard on myself through the years with regard to my food, the dieting, the weight, and my appearances.”
While describing her struggle she further added, “I’d tell myself as an 18-year-old, or a 20-year-old, that, ‘listen, just relax. Put the effort in but don’t be so hard on yourself because it does catch up.” She added, “But there is one part of me I still struggle with a little bit…because I’m facing the camera, I’ve been very hard on myself through the years with regards to my food, the dieting, the weight, and the way I’m looking…That’s a struggle that’s been constant. While I have to be professional and correct and I need to tick certain boxes because I’m doing this as a job. I feel like beyond a point, I was almost being too hard on myself. That’s something I’d change.”
While talking about her struggle with body image issues, she further added,” I do therapy once a week, and I am talking about body weight and body image issues…With Instagram culture and editing images, I want to just tell young girls out there, be kind to yourself and your bodies. And, I am saying this to myself as well.”
These Bollywood celebrities have shown that body positivity is not about being perfect, but about being comfortable in your own skin. They have set an example for everyone to love and embrace their bodies, no matter what shape or size they are.