The 43-year-old actor isn’t standing for body shaming or starving herself to fit certain ideals anymore. By making herself her first priority, Sameera has reached a state of greater acceptance The last thing I said no to was working with a brand that did not align with my beliefs. And then, when another brand asked if they should Photoshop my ‘grey, eyebrow hair’ in a campaign photograph, I refused because I am happy to own that little grey strand. 10 years ago, I wouldn’t have been this confident…I would have worried about ruining my chances or pissing someone off. But today, I care more about being authentic and true to myself. Over the years, I have struggled with my body and body image. I lost a lot of weight to look the way I was expected to. And I was incredibly self-conscious about my hips not being proportionate to my breasts, so I would wear a push-up bra every single day…even to the gym! I dated men who pointed out my flaws, and that only made me feel worse. I agonised over how I looked, constantly. If I could go back in time, I would tell my younger self to work on her self-worth. I struggled with this constant sense of not being good enough…I was a victim of ‘imposter syndrome’ and believed everything I had achieved was a fluke and that I didn’t really deserve it. And because I was short-selling myself, I couldn’t achieve my true potential. I only understood and overcame this in my 40s.
After My Pregnancy, It was Difficult To Love Myself Because of My Past Insecurities.
My body changed many ways, and it remains different from how it used to be. After giving birth, a woman is expected to get back ‘in shape’ within months, which is unrealistic. I still have a floppy, saggy stomach, which no amount of exercising has helped. I think I am what they call a ‘thick’ body, and I am definitely more voluptuous than before, but I don’t see these as bad things anymore. Do I want to go back to my pre-pregnancy body? Well, I killed and starved myself to look that way, which wasn’t sustainable. And today, I am at a weight and shape that I am happy and comfortable with…I think each one of us needs to come to a healthy, accepting space in our minds, regarding our bodies. And focus more on what we want, instead of what others think we need to look like. The truth is that women care far too much about what other people think, what they say, and about how they are perceived. They really need to care more about themselves. They need to love themselves, forgive themselves, and be selfish about their own dreams and goals, instead of giving them all up to and for someone else One of the most important things you can learn today is unlearning the things that hold you back from achieving your full potential. Over the years, I have worked to let go of many things that have held me back. The most powerful one was letting go of the pain I felt because of certain wrong decisions I made when I was younger. Now I no longer look back and wish I could change the past. I have also learned to identify my triggers and the patterns that take me down a negative path. I have always been an emotional eater, a trigger I have carried from my childhood. Whenever I was upset, I would eat, and I am working hard to unlearn this habit. I think it comes from a deep sense of not feeling complete and trying to feel good using the wrong methods. I am a work in progress, trying to improve myself every day, to overcome old, negative patterns. When my children are sad, I don’t give them a piece of candy to make them feel better. Instead, I encourage them to really feel their feelings…when my daughter feels bad, she puts her tiny hand on her chest to express her sadness If I could share a message with the young women of today, it would be this: value yourself and step into your power. I would tell them to stop comparing themselves to Instagram models, and be aware that there is an entire machinery and filters behind what they see on social media. That many of these ‘perfect’ images they see have been carefully constructed and are not real life. I would tell them to be themselves, to be unique, and to be different…it’s what I tell my kids as well, that their so-called flaw could be their superpower.”