Alex Cooper is the host and creator of the most listened to podcast by women, call her daddy, with a millennial and Gen Z audience that outranks everyone else. But the 28-year-old shares that confidence wasn’t what got her there.
In an episode of Jay Shetty’s podcast On purpose, Cooper explained that she was “severely bullied for my appearance” when she was a child. “I was super, super skinny, people made fun of me, said I looked like I had an eating disorder. I had horrible, horrible acne to the point that I was begging my parents to let me stay home after school,” she said.
During those formative years of her life, her appearance felt like it determined much of her value.
“I hated everything about me. I hated my skin, my face, my hair, my teeth, my body, my torso, my legs. I could identify every thing about me that I hated and that was almost everything, outwardly. ” she explained. “But inside I knew I was a good person, I knew I was a good girl, I knew I was a good friend, but I felt like it was all based on the appearance of why I was being bullied.”
Cooper remembers looking for remedies to feel better about himself or his skin. “In high school, I used to put on three pairs of leggings, tape them to my leg, and then put on my school pants just to hope everyone would think my legs were fatter. And at the time where I would have football practice after school, my joints hurt so much from sitting in class,” she said.
And while she didn’t reveal to her parents how isolated she felt at the time, she found solace in taking up hobbies that her father, who was a sports broadcaster at the time. , presented to him. Ultimately, it was in her parents’ basement creating content and on the soccer field playing on an all-female team that she felt “safe and seen” during a otherwise difficult chapter of his life. But as she rose to her current level of fame through her podcast, she kept those painful memories to herself.
“There’s this dichotomy, for me, between the girl who was bullied and the girl I created or the woman I created on the show. But I think a lot of people struggle because everybody wants to put things in boxes, understanding like, ‘There’s no way that Alex Cooper, the confident call her daddy girl could have been bullied too when she was younger,” she said. “What I realized, in therapy actually, was this ugly, clumsy, acne-prone girl who started call her daddy. ‘Cause if I hadn’t been there, there’s no way I would have started call her daddy.”
While the show could be seen as part of Cooper’s revenge arc, as she speaks about confidence to an audience of young women who might feel as lost as she once did, she also acknowledged how her childhood experiences caused her to put a rather unhealthy emphasis on herself. appearance.
“I look back and those years where you start to be particularly judged for what you look like, when we’re actually trying to figure out inside who we are, it’s just so problematic. I really think that m ‘affected. Then I had my appearance emphasized,” she said. “Hating everything about me, of course, I was like, ‘I want to bleach my hair, I want to be the girl I saw in the magazines.’ And then I did all that and even looked at pictures of me when I went too far But it was just to make me feel like the women I thought had it all because they had it all. look a certain way.
She even acknowledged that the change in her physical appearance has changed the way she is seen and treated by the people around her.
“I remember one of the boys I was with in middle school who bullied me ended up going to college and by then I had already had a crush,” recalls- she. “And he was trying to hit me up and give me all this attention and it just made me feel really awful because I was like, ‘I’m the same person, I’m the exact same person. “”
She continued: “I’m the same person at heart and you treat me differently because I got a prescription for Accutane, I got hair dye, I took my braces off, I I’m muscular because I play football. It’s literally just the physique that explains why you act differently towards me.”
While she’s used it to her advantage to create a social media presence that’s good for her business, she’s also acknowledged how the focus on Instagram and TikTok feeds has negatively impacted her self-esteem. self and, ultimately, on his podcast.
“I really went through periods where I felt like my whole existence was immersed and defined by social media,” she said. “It gives me anxiety, I realize, when I don’t feel good enough, I don’t feel pretty enough, I don’t feel like I fit the body standard, and then I start to spiral. Why do we do this to ourselves?”
For the past few years, Cooper has spoken on his podcast about efforts to separate his self-esteem from social media, including disabling comments on his posts. She told Shetty that she adopted other self-care practices to improve her mental health, including meditation and therapy.
Ultimately, she hopes her own development and evolution will have a positive impact on how she uses her platform.
“I know who I am now and I know my morals and my values and I know a lot of that stems from the pain I’ve been through and I’m a very empathetic person,” she said of his past. “It really made me turn inward and it created a different level of strength and empowerment that I can’t even put into words.”
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