‘Little House on the Prairie’: Here’s How Melissa Gilbert Is Setting an Example for Young Women

by Taylor Cunningham
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Little House on the Prairie star Melissa Gilbert spent years trying to fit into Hollywood by looking flawless and ageless. But eventually, the lifestyle caught up with her and left her feeling like “a shell” of herself. Now, she wants the younger generation of girls to learn from her experiences.

“We need to provide examples for young women of what aging well looks like, and what being healthy looks like,” Gilbert shared with Yahoo Life’s Unapologetically series.

That lesson is something that the 58-year-old classic TV star learned the hard way. When she was in her 20s, she fell hard into the celebrity lifestyle. Gilbert consistently went under the knife for surgeries and procedures that she once told PEOPLE kept her stuck “in that wheel of trying to stay young.”

And Gilbert kept up with the endless battle until she had an epiphany moment.

“It was a red carpet for the Season 4 premiere of Nip/Tuck,” she remembered. “And I was all done up. And I, it was at the height of all the fillers in the Botox and my hair was very, very colored … that really knocked me for a loop, because I was looking at thinking, ‘Who’s that person? That’s not me. That’s like a shell over what the real me is.'”

Melissa Gilbert was tired of “fighting the aging process.”

“You’re literally fighting nature and I just don’t have the energy for it anymore,” she added.

Melissa Gilbert Started Focusing on Becoming More ‘Connected’ with her ‘Internal’ Self

The revelation made Melissa Gilbert realize that her self-importance was only coming from an “external” place. She had completely abandoned the “internal.” And she realized that she needed to “reverse that” by becoming “more spiritual, more grounded, more at peace, more connected” to her community friends and family.

Now, the Emmy nominated actress is working to change the beauty standards women face in both Hollywood and real life.

Her hope is that more people will join her “movement” and make it more acceptable for women to age. As she explained, the concept of perfection is engrained into every detail of women’s lives, right down to the clothes we wear.

“We have designers who are designing clothes for people who are, you know, size two or a size zero, which is not the average size,” Melissa Gilbert said.

Melissa Gilbert Wants Better ‘Examples for Young Woman’

“We need to provide examples for young women of what aging well looks like, and what being healthy looks like, as opposed to telling them that it’s okay to lose 16 pounds to fit into Marilyn Monroe’s dress,” Gilbert says, referring to Kim Kardashian. “I think that is a dangerous destructive message. Hopefully, I’m here to inspire other women to join this movement, to be who we are and know that this is not only is this enough, it’s more than enough.”

So now, she’s asking people to have conversations about how we can change society’s views on women. And she hopes that with enough effort, girls can grow up and put more importance on who they are and how they impact the world over the smoothness of their skin and the size of their waists.

“Hopefully, I’m here to inspire other women to join this movement, to be who we are, and know that this is not only is this enough,” she shared. “It’s more than enough.”

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