Danielle Brooks on body image: Don’t compare yourself, be a better you

I had to check in with myself real quick. Hope someone out there feels me. 💪🏾#voiceofthecurves

A video posted by Danielle Brooks (@daniebb3) on


Danielle Brooks, 27, is best known for her work on Orange is The New Black and was recently in the Broadway musical revival of The Color Purple. She posts a lot of body-positive messages to Instagram and most recently recorded a video explaining a situation when she caught herself feeling self conscious at the gym. Danielle said that she was going without her top, which I think means she was wearing either a sports bra or one of those sleeveless tight athletic tanks, and that she was confident about it until she spotted another woman without her top and started thinking she should put a shirt on. She told the story about how she gave herself a pep talk and it was really cute! It made me smile. The video is above but in case you can’t watch it here’s some of what she said:

I just left the gym and as most people know I take my shirt off when I go to the gym. That’s my new thing, it gives me confidence. So I had my shirt off and this lady walks in. She was bad. She looked great with her shirt off. So immediately I’m like ‘Oh no,’ I started to lose my confidence. I’m like ‘I need to put my shirt back on now or do I keep it off’cause she’s already seen me.’ So I realize I’m comparing myself to this woman, and I’m like, ‘Why just two minutes ago I was feeling great and now I’m not?’ And I realized the reason I was feeling so great is because I was comparing myself to yesterday’s Danielle. And today’s Danielle is better than yesterday’s. That’s why I felt so good. Ladies, don’t compare yourself to nobody. Just be a better you.

[From Instagram via People]

That’s so simple and is such a good message. She’s inspiring me to take my top off at the gym too, I don’t do that.

Here’s another message she recently put on Instagram about how it’s cool if you ate too much at Thanksgiving. I would post her whole instagram but it has a comic bikini pic with it which is mildly NSFW:

Post Turkey Day feels: This is just a cute memo to all the girls (and guys) out there who feel like they overdid the Thanksgiving meal(s), who feel like bingeing or are in the mirror tearing themselves apart. No need. Love your body at every stage. I’ve been there before, racking my brain about my appearance feeling guilty and ugly after that Turkey Day Meal. I’m here to say DON’T. And if you did overdo it, hit the gym tomorrow, dance in the mirror, drink a gallon of water and chill out. But don’t beat yourself up. Only one body, love it. #voiceofthecurves 🎨: @bloozchicken

[From Instagram]

Yes this! “Only one body, love it.”

On Saturday at my Zumba studio we did a two hour Turkey Throwdown class marathon to burn off the calories from Thanksgiving. I will admit to only going to the last hour, because I’m not going to beat myself up for doing the same thing that everyone else does on Thanksgiving and eating a lot of food. One of the women in my class, who is super fit, said she felt guilty from eating too much stuffing and that she was probably going to fast for a day. The rest of us were aghast and said there was no way we could do that. (I can maybe skip breakfast, but that’s it.) Plus what does that even achieve except punishing yourself, after which you may overeat anyway? Just eat in moderation, do you thing at the gym and be happy. There’s no magic switch that gets flipped if you reach your goal weight and there’s no reason to deprive yourself of all treats. I really like Danielle’s message, and how she explained that you should work at being a better version of you. That’s the best way to look at it.

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photos credit: WENN and Instagram/Danielle Brooks

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18 Responses to “Danielle Brooks on body image: Don’t compare yourself, be a better you”

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  1. Teatimeiscoming says:

    Don’t go shirtless at the gym–you’ll get staph or worse: MRSA!

    • nicole says:

      I don’t understand how being ‘shirtless’ or wearing a bra top or whatever would increase the risk. Everyone’s hands or arms or lower legs are exposed at the gym, so I’m not sure how having abs out would up that risk?

    • Snowflake says:

      I took off my shirt one time, I was on the treadmill and I got told by an employee I couldn’t be without a shirt. Must have been just the gym I was at, sounds like a lot of people exercise in their sports bra and pants/shorts. I was wearing a sports bra too, not a regular bra!

      • Kitten says:

        Whaaaaaaat???
        That’s really weird! I admit that I rarely take my shirt off at the gym, but I have no issue when others do.
        It gets hot in there.
        *shrugs*

      • tmot says:

        What what?
        They do at “my” gym. Not that I go there that much. But it is the last place I would expect to be bodyshamed!

      • detritus says:

        My gym has strict rules – no thin strapped tank tops, no booty shorts, men have to wear sleeves. Don’t exactly know why and everyone ignores it.
        Most of the time I have zero urge to take off my tank, except in hot yoga. I wish at Moksha I could channel Danielle’s self confidence because damn sometimes I think even the tiniest bit less clothing would make me feel cooler.

    • detritus says:

      Just as a general PSA, the MRSA risk at gyms was overstated. While MRSA can survive on surfaces for a long time, gyms aren’t a hotbed of methicillin resistant staph growth. In fact, you are much more likely to get MRSA from skin to skin contact, as opposed to skin to surface contact. S. aureus, the regular non-resistant kind, is also carried asymptomatically by an estimated 30% of the population.
      So yeah, just don’t go rubbing open wounds on equipment, or licking peoples skin and nasal passages (where staph hangs out), and you’re probably gonna be just fine.

      The more you know (*GI Joe Star)

      • Teatimeiscoming says:

        Overstated or not, there is a risk of MRSA, and of other skin infections like ringworm. It’s a lot harder to get those things if more of your skin is covered by clothing.
        If you’re (general, second person plural–not you specific) against shirts, make sure to shower immediately

      • detritus says:

        I’m going to have to politely disagree with you here. There was a lot of concern about gyms being a reservoirs for MRSA, but to my knowledge there are no proven cases that originate from gym equipment. I did a quick search of peer reviewed articles, since media coverage is really bad for science, and a few have out right stated that the risk is pretty close to zero. There is still a small chance though, since all staph can survive for a long time on surfaces.

        Now this is for equipment, not person to person contact. The more crowded the gym is, or if you are participating in activities that require touching other people, then all bets are off. The current ideology is that MRSA is caused by skin-to-skin contact.

        Ring worm and fungal infections though, are significantly more likely, and can definitely be contracted from surfaces. I totally second the showering after gym thing as preventative. Bacteria and most fungus and mould like warm and wet environments. Soap plus hot water will help break everything down, remove their food source (dead skin and sweat), and get rid of any loose CFUs.

    • NotSoSocialButterfly says:

      Or a fungal infection of your skin. Either way, Yeesh!

  2. Margo S. says:

    This post made me smile. She is such an incredible person. So beautiful. I love her!!

  3. Kitten says:

    Aw I love her!!!!

    I like how she used anecdotal experiences to support her message instead of just the usual bullshit “love yourself” crap that most celebs spew.

    She’s so great on OITNB so I’m pleased that she seems awesome IRL as well.

  4. Lisa says:

    I LOVE HER. Do not miss her stories on instagram. She’s the cutest.

  5. QQ says:

    I love her and her voice, she is also a delight in podcast format ( Anna sales had her in Death sex and Money, she was the cutest!)

  6. kay says:

    ‘I will admit to only going to the last hour, because I’m not going to beat myself up for doing the same thing that everyone else does on Thanksgiving and eating a lot of food.’

    love note to @celebitchy: “because i am not going to beat myself up for eating a lot of food at thanksgiving” :)

    i hope this is ok. i love this post, i love what you took from it and gave to us…just please don’t fall into the comparison trap. (heart emoticon)

  7. Lilybugg says:

    I love the picture of her in the white dress. She is an absolutely gorgeous woman!