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.
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.