The UFC fighter gets candid about risking failure, what she learned from her mom, and when she feels most beautiful.

By Rozalynn S. Frazier
Updated July 13, 2016

With the help of UFC fighter Ronda Rousey, Reebok has kicked off a new arm to its long-running “Be more human” campaign: #NeverPerfect challenges women to embrace their imperfections and find strength in those less-than-stellar moments in life. The ad follows Rousey from a glammed-up version—sequin dress, full face of makeup and long-flowing mane—to the sports-bra wearing, bun-wielding, kick-butt fighter we all know, and most of us love. Both parts are equally Rousey, but the latter, some might say, is her less-than-perfect version. After all, it was that Rousey who lost to Holly Holm last November.

The thing is, Rousey doesn’t want to be perfect: “Perfect never gets truly tested. Perfect never gets to silence its critics. Perfect never gets a shot at redemption,” the fighter says in the voice-over. “So yeah, I’m fine not being perfect.”

But we can all agree, the 29-year-old is still a badass.

At an intimate lunch in New York City for the launch of #NeverPerfect, Rousey voiced her views on criticism, success, and how social media has colored our opinions of ourselves.

On happiness…

I’ve learned over the years that a surefire way to be unhappy is to try to make everyone happy with you.

On being true to yourself…

I’ve noticed in the social media age, that it’s almost like a projection of ourselves out into the world. OK, this is my profile, this is my representation of myself. It’s like everyone is on a first date with the world all the time. No one ever wants to show the flaws in themselves. They want to be like, "Here I am in Hawaii, and here I am in this great dress, and here I am with my friend Daniella." It’s parts of your life, but that becomes a representation of this perfect version. I don’t want to be like, "Oh I need everyone to like me, so I have to act a certain way and I say something wrong and everyone will hate me." No, this is going to come out the way it’s going to come out, like it or not. And that’s okay. It’s okay to have an Instagram post without a filter on it. It’s okay to post a picture where you don’t like how you look because you’re with someone you love. That’s what I think "Be more human" is; not constantly trying to groom and breed ourselves for everyone else, but trying to enjoy every single moment for yourself.

On always doing your best…

To be the best in the world, you have to be able to win every match twice on your worst day. [My mom] really didn’t push me to be perfect all the time, she pushed me to be so good that on my worst days I’m still good.

On criticism…

I’ve learned that taking criticism personally is a self-obsession, because there are millions of people out there that hate my guts. How selfish am I that I didn’t care about what those people thought about me until the day they decided they didn’t like me. I really don’t care about anything you think in your life except for your opinion of me. I really need to work on letting that go. It’s not a reflection of myself. It’s a reflection of them and what they think of me.

On training tough…

Tough fitness is about more than just training your body. You can go put on some fancy sweats meant to make your butt look good and climb on an elliptical for 90 minutes and be like "Yes, I did some fitness today." Yes, your body is a little more moved than if you laid in bed a little longer, but you yourself haven’t changed because of it. Tough fitness is about training yourself mentally as well as physically, and trying to better yourself in every way. It’s about doing things that challenge you rather than, "I’m just going to run a mile and listen to this playlist like I do every morning so I can still stay a size 4." Like no, like, set actual goals and do things to challenge yourself that you might not be able to do or you’re not sure about. Risk those failures and put yourself out there.

On beauty…

I feel the most beautiful when I wake up in the morning, like right away. It’s when you’re the least bloated and like fresh. Right when I get up in the morning, I’m just like "Oh I look good! And it’s downhill from here."