Jodie Turner-Smith Reflects On Finally Loving Herself
Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for AFI

ESSENCE cover girl Jodie Turner-Smith didn’t always think she was fierce and flawless. In fact, Queen & Slim star recently opened up about her struggles with self-confidence.

In a poignant Instagram post, Turner-Smith shared throwback photos of herself, detailing how she felt at 17 years old.

“Proof that the glow up has been really real. I’m humbled when I look at this girl. Seventeen-year-old me. Not just because of how I look on the outside, but because I remember how I felt on the inside,” she began in the lengthy caption.

“I remember how badly I hated myself and hated the dark skin that made people call me ugly. How I turned my helplessness at being unable to change my outward appearance inward by constantly cleaving away any and all parts of myself that I was told made me unacceptable to others,” Turner-Smith revealed.

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Proof That The Glow Up Has Been Really Real 😅😅😅 it’s been soooo long since i’ve seen these pictures, but because the internet is undefeated, i found them! a blast from the past! i’m humbled when i look at this girl. 17 year old me. not just because of how i look on the outside, but because i remember how i felt on the inside. i remember how badly i hated myself and hated the dark skin that made people call me ugly. how i turned my helplessness at being unable to change my outward appearance inward, by constantly cleaving away any and all parts of myself that i was told made me unacceptable to others. how i changed my voice, changed my hair, became captain of this and president of that, used my intelligence to build a wall around me, spent years in the practice of bending and shaping myself into the most acceptable form of Jodie for the people around me until there was nothing of me left but hate for a person i didn’t recognise and fear that i had become someone it was impossible to come back from… AND, MY GOD, IT WAS EXHAUSTING! but i say all that to say this— i am grateful for the girl in these photos and for every part of this journey. because i couldn’t be me, now, if i wasn’t first her, then. when you know what it feels like to hate yourself, finally loving yourself is a freedom that cannot be matched by anyone else’s approval 🥰🥰🥰 also worth noting— i was voted Most Likely To Succeed! but we all thought it would be in somebody’s office 🤓

A post shared by Jodie Turner-Smith (@jodiesmith) on

The actress admitting to changing her voice and hair to make herself more palatable. Turner-Smith wrote that she even “became captain of this and president of that, used my intelligence to build a wall around me, spent years in the practice of bending and shaping myself into the most acceptable form of Jodie for the people around me until there was nothing of me left but hate for a person I didn’t recognize and fear that I had become someone it was impossible to come back from.”

The actress who was voted Most Likely to Succeed, called the entire experience “exhausting.” Turner-Smith added that she’s appreciative for the journey and “grateful for the girl in these photos” because “I couldn’t be me, now, if I wasn’t first her, then.” 

“When you know what it feels like to hate yourself,” she said, “finally loving yourself is a freedom that cannot be matched by anyone else’s approval.”

We’re glad that Turner-Smith fell in love with herself, so we could fall in love with her too.

Queen & Slim is in theaters now.

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