Shawn Johnson addresses attention that media places on female athletes' appearance
Dove has been working with former Olympic great Shawn Johnson as part of the #MyBeautyMySay campaign, encouraging women to define beauty on their own terms.
Just as the Rio Games began, too, Dove kicked off part two of the program (Have Your Say), which calls out the attention that media place on female athletes appearance vs. their performance and encouraging consumers to help change the conversation.
Johnson had the chance to chat with AOL.com prior to the Games.
Q: How great has it been to work on this campaign?
A: It's been amazing. It hits home. Great campaign to be a part of. There's so much talk about female athlete and how it's always about their looks, their beauty, and not their performance. We're trying to get the word out, getting the social media campaign out, and use as much as possible. We want to make sure people are saying the right things.
Q: Did you feel the sting of this when you were competing?
A: Always. I feel like every athlete does. I feel like throughout my career, everyone would comment and would use words like bulky, stocky. They'd pick that apart but not the actual performance. We want the world to talk about the hard work that's put in instead.
Q: Have any athletes reached out to you, thanking you for spreading this great message?
A: Quite a bit. It's very new, but those who have seen it and get the message, have said thank you.
Q: Do you recall if you put extraordinary pressure on yourself at a young age to please people, or more specifically, perform well at the Olympics?
A: I feel like when you get to that high of a level, it is fun in a sense of having fun with sports. But by the time you get to that level, the pressure outweighs the fun. It's normal, though. Its what you work for. I mean, my sophomore year of high school, I was competing in the Olympics. I was named to the team, and I felt I was good enough to be competing against the people I was competing against. I loved what I did and always wanted to get better.
Q: Out of everything you've accomplished, what is your favorite achievement?
A: Athletic career, proudest moments. I would say the first medal I ever won meant a lot. I remember the gold and silvers being the highlights of my career.