Getting fit with her trainer helped her lean into body positivity.

By Claire Gillespie
October 22, 2020
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Think women over a certain age can't wear a bikini? Think again. Or at the very least, listen to Brooke Shields, who credits her teen daughters and her workouts for helping her transition from wearing a shape-hiding swimsuit to a body-flaunting two piece.

In an interview with PEOPLE, Shields, 55, said she had been wearing "those big bathing suits that had as much fabric as possible," when her daughters told her how "ridiculous" it was.

"It was sort of seeing myself through their eyes and just celebrating things like my butt. Things I just would never want to focus on in my life. Being 55 and saying 'Wait a minute, women over 50 are not done,'" the actress said.

She explained that her lifelong experience in the fashion, beauty, and film industries—admittedly, not something most people can relate to—had skewed her view of aging and body image.

"If you're that age, especially if you are an actress, it's like 'you've had your career, relax,'" she admitted, before declaring, "I think I'm just starting." (She's recently signed with IMG Models.)

And a quick look at Shields' Instagram page proves she's fully embracing the bikini-at-55 (and beyond) ethos.

In 2017, Shields talked to Health about the early days of her career, revealing how difficult it was to have a body type that wasn't the stereotypical skinny model.

"I was in an industry where [being athletic] was not celebrated," she said. "I have friends who are supermodels, and I never had that body. I've never been asked to walk in a Versace show. I was doing the covers of the magazines while they were cruising the clothes down the runway, and then they'd bring me the clothes and I'd have to photograph them."

She's thankful that her daughters have a different perspective. "My daughters say I'm curvy. To them curvy is different," she told PEOPLE. "I watch them celebrate it. I'm learning from them and they always say you're better off with something that shows your body rather than a muumuu."

If you're wondering how Shields maintains those cracking abs, she's been working hard on them—and all other muscle groups—during the coronavirus pandemic, and sharing her efforts on Instagram. When gyms shut down, she started working out at home with her trainer, Ngo Okafor, using whatever equipment she could find, from chairs to wine bottles.

Shield credits Okafor with helping her see the true meaning of body positivity. "My trainer said every day in the gym there are women in the best shape possible, and they'll walk by the mirror and say 'Ugh, look at that,'" she told PEOPLE. "And a guy will come by with a belly, and go 'Yeah.' [Okafor] said, 'You've been coming to the gym and you make yourself smaller. Stop it.' He just had a baby girl and he said 'I'm never going to tell my daughter to dim her light.'"

"He told me, 'You've started to believe all your self-deprecation.' And that was the basis for all my humor," she added. "And it was like you're right. I don't want my girls to do that. Just think of how great it would be if we can all feel this larger than life energy."

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