Cameron Diaz brilliantly explained how she broke free of toxic beauty standards

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Christobel Hastings
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Cameron Diaz

Much-loved Hollywood actor Cameron Diaz stepped away from the entertainment industry in 2014, and in a new interview, she opened up about the ways it allowed her to unsubscribe from toxic beauty ideals.

From Charlie’s Angels and The Holiday to the beloved There’s Something About Mary, Cameron Diaz is an undisputed romcom icon. And though the actor stepped away from her 20-year acting career in 2014 following the movie adaptation of Annie, it’s clear that quitting Hollywood enabled her to find happiness in many areas of her life, such as meeting her husband Benji Madden and giving birth to their daughter, Raddix, in December 2019.

In an interview with Michelle Visage on her new BBC podcast Rule Breakers, Diaz opened up about one of the major ways leaving the entertainment industry has enriched her life. Namely, that she’s become far less focused on her appearance.

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When asked by Visage how she managed to bypass the rigid beauty standards perpetuated by Hollywood and live authentically, Diaz explained that for a long time she didn’t escape them.

“I am absolutely a victim of all of the societal objectification and exploitations that women are subjected to,” she shared. “I have bought into all of them myself at certain times.”

Diaz then acknowledged what for many women is a daily reality: comparing themselves to other people.

“It’s hard not to; it’s hard not to look at yourself and judge yourself against other markers of beauty, and I think that that’s one of the biggest things,” she continues. “The last eight years, girl – I’m like wild. I’m like a wild animal, like a beast!”

Cameron Diaz
Cameron Diaz retired from acting in 2014

Diaz went on to say that as an actor, she became accustomed to sitting in front of the mirror for around seven hours a day analysing her appearance. While that was part and parcel of her job back then, she now realises what a “toxic” effect that had on her mental health.

“You just start to pick yourself apart,” she explained. “And you’re like, ‘Why I am sitting here like being so mean to myself?’ My body’s strong, my body’s capable. Why am I going to talk down to it? Why am I going to be mean to it when it’s like carried me this far?”

By comparison, Diaz explained, her beauty regime these days couldn’t be more low maintenance, as her appearance is “the last thing I think about on a daily basis”.

“I literally do nothing. I never wash my face,” she explained. “Twice a month if I’m lucky, I’ll be like, ‘Oh, I better put this on. One time works, right?’ Like is that all I have to do? I’m just not in that place right now like where I put any energy.”

Cameron Diaz
Cameron Diaz no longer subscribes to toxic beauty ideals
Ultimately, it was by only by stepping away from the industry and living life on her own terms that Diaz gained a new perspective on her self-worth. And while unsubscribing from pervasive social scripts is a complex process, it’s encouraging for someone like Diaz to address the pressures that women face on a daily basis and share her own experience of how she was affected by them. It goes to show that not only do few people escape the burden of social expectations, but by talking openly about them, we can find surprising similarities in the ways our lives overlap.

Images: Getty