Megan Fox on What It’s Like to Be Called a ‘Sex Symbol’ While Having Body Dysmorphia

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Dealing with the public’s fixation on her appearance has been a real challenge for Megan Fox—especially because she admits that for much of her life, she didn’t feel comfortable in her body.

In Wednesday’s episode of the Call Her Daddy podcast, the Transformers star got candid concerning her complicated feelings and negative thoughts about her looks, telling host Alex Cooper that she’s struggled with body dysmorphia since she was five years old—and has a vivid memory of the first time it showed up. “I even remember what I was wearing,” Fox recalled. “I had black shorts that had white polka dots on them, and I was five…I was in the back seat [of the car], looking at my legs.”

Another early source of insecurity for Fox, she said, was her breasts: “My mom said that I used to go into the bathroom and stand on the toilet and pull up my shirt to see if my boobies had grown, and I would get really upset that I didn’t have big boobs,” she recalled—which is part of the reason she later “took more control” over her body by getting breast implants, she added.

Many of us struggle with less-than-healthy perceptions of how we look (how could we not when we’re living in a culture that upholds impossible beauty and body standards?). But for some people, these negative self-assessments can escalate into body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). This mental health condition involves obsessive thoughts or compulsions related to fixing perceived flaws (which aren’t visible or appear minor to others) that seriously affect a person’s daily life (like their ability to do their job or socialize), as SELF previously reported.

Given her body-image issues (which stemmed from feeling “unwanted” and “defective”), Fox said she found it confusing to be labeled as a “sex symbol” by the public. “I think it adds pressure to a girl who, like I said, has body dysmorphia and didn’t really ever see herself that way,” Fox told Cooper. “And the things that I thought were my strengths—like my mind, my intelligence, my sense of humor—those things are not acknowledged, and instead I’m being acknowledged for something I don’t identify with.”

So as someone who’s been nitpicked, torn apart, and even slut-shamed under the spotlight, Fox said she hopes that people will be a little more empathetic when it comes to commenting on other people’s appearances—say it a little louder for the trolls in the back, Megan.


Originally Appeared on SELF