"I can't tell you the number of people who've said I need to eat a cheeseburger."
So we passed the mic to eight provocative public figures, from actresses and athletes to a body-positive model and singer. We simply gave them one prompt and then pressed record: "My naked body is..."
"My naked body is... a temple and a gift. No matter what shape or size we are, if you are doing your best to care for your temple, that's beauty. If you're healthy and have a working body, how much bigger of a gift could you have? There are so many people who don't even have that. I think we forget that, but it's miraculous that our bodies can stand, and walk anywhere, and create art, and hold your lover's hand.
"When you depend on someone else's perspective, you always get judged. For example, I have always been very lean. My mother is Vietnamese. My father was a skinny Irishman from New York, and I've been an athlete my entire life. People think you're lucky to be skinny, so they have a license to say mean things about your body. It used to hurt me. Now, it makes me laugh. I've raised my metabolism by being an active person, so I need more food than most people. But people tell me that I don't eat actual food. Like, how do you think I function? I don't put anything into my body but the air that I breathe? I can't tell you the number of people who've said I need to eat a cheeseburger. I'm like, really? I need to eat a cheeseburger? You can eat a cheeseburger and I'll be okay over here.
"I was once at a movie studio and I was pushing open a door that was in one of those wind tunnels. It was like a suction cup! I put all my weight into it and finally it opened. There was this hairdresser who was watching, and she said, sort of under her breath, 'Of course you can't open doors. A skinny thing like you can't do much.' I turned around and I said, 'A skinny little thing can't do much? Let me show you how strong I am—I can knock you out right now.' That was the last time she ever worked with me. Don't assume what my strengths are. It just shouldn't be acceptable to make comments about anyone else's body. You never know that person's story."
Maggie Q stars in ABC'S Designated Survivor, returning for its second season, and is the co-founder of wellness supplement company ActivatedYou.
This article originally appeared in the September 2017 issue of Women's Health. For more great advice, pick up a copy of the issue on newsstands now!