Aly Raisman Talks Self-Love and Feeling Confident in Her Own Skin
Aly Raisman knows a thing or two about thriving under pressure. As a six-time Olympic gold medalist and member of the 2016 “Final Five” team (nbd), this 22-year-old has mastered the art of landing an insane floor routine in front of millions of people. And she makes it look easy. Next, she’s teamed up with Playtex Sport in hopes of removing the stigma around periods for girls everywhere—and help them dominate on the gymnastic mat, the track, the soccer field, or at the gym. “It can be tough dealing with your body changing and adapting to new things,” she told us. “My advice would be to surround yourself with people that encourage you and make you happy.” See how she does that—and get more advice from Aly—below.
You’ve been admirably outspoken about body confidence and feeling comfortable in your own skin. How did you get to that point where you’re like, “OK, I’m cool with myself”—especially when your job literally consists of being judged in front of lots of people?
When I was younger, people teased and made fun of my muscles. It took a lot of self-encouragement and acceptance for me to finally come to love my body. Every morning, I look in the mirror and pick something out that I like about myself instead of focusing on the negative. Even if I’m not necessarily feeling it that morning, I make sure I have positive self-talk. Getting involved in gymnastics and following my passion helped me push aside those feelings of self-doubt or low self-esteem. It’s what I love, and when I focus and give my all to that, it makes me so much more confident in myself and my appearance. It’s important to remember that we’re all different and beautiful in our own way—and life isn’t about having that perfect body, there’s no such thing. We all look different and that makes life interesting.
Periods can be awkward, and period stigma is SO real. How can we make it be socially acceptable to walk from your desk to the bathroom with a tampon in your hand?
We know that periods are nothing to be ashamed of, but the general population is still catching up! I think it just takes girls and women being reminded of this.
Girls have so much pressure, whether it’s to succeed in school, sports, or hobbies. What’s your number one way to cope?
People will remember you for what type of person you are, not how you look. Find something you love, whether it’s sports, art, or music, and focus on the good and being your personal best.
What’s the best advice one of your Olympic teammates has ever given you?
To just enjoy yourself and live in the moment.
How do you find balance in your day-to-day life?
One thing I’ve learned is that it’s important to take charge of every moment. So when I’m on a plane from Boston to who knows where, coming from an event the day before, I take a moment to breathe and be fully present. That’s how I take control of my time. Another thing is recognizing what’s priority and what’s not. Family always comes first for me, and I’ll do everything I can to keep that the case. I always try to schedule time to catch up with family, and friends. Making time for yourself is really important. Go for a walk. Take a bath. Read a book. Put yourself first!
What are the three websites you check every single day?
CNN and USA TODAY. I have lines of T-shirts, socks, jewelry, leotards, and gymnastics equipment so I often check the sites to see how they’re doing and try to find inspiration for new collections.
What do you wish you knew about life five years ago?
That everything will work itself out.