Selenis Leyva’s Daughter Won’t Accept She’s Beautiful: ‘It’s Really Scary to See Your Child Look at Herself in the Mirror and Somehow Find Herself Not Right’
Women’s ideals about body image often start in early adolescence. But being a mom to a young girl possesses its own set of challenges when it comes to the issue.
“It’s a girl thing, and as a mom, it’s really scary to [see] your child look at herself in the mirror and find herself somehow not right,” says Selenis Leyva, who plays Gloria Mendoza on Orange Is the New Black, in the newest episode of PEOPLE’s Mom Talk.
Leyva, 43, adds that it’s painful to hear her teenage daughter Alina say these things, and that when she reminds her daughter how beautiful she is, Alina responds by telling her mother she’s just saying that because she’s her mom.
The women go on to talk about how much girls’ bodies change constantly until they’re in their early 20s, and that it’s concerning for girls just entering their teenage years to face societal pressures of having to fit a certain ideal when they aren’t even close to finished growing yet.
“I think it’s gross,” Leyva says of how young girls are prioritizing the way their bodies look, including the presence of visible abdominal muscles.
“I don’t know how that happens, but it’s really … right now, at this age — 12, 13 — a big deal.”
— Jen Juneau