June 16, 2010 07:00 PM

Courtesy Shape

When it comes to her looks, Jewel has heard it all–from being labeled “the chubby Renée Zellweger” to being criticized for her crooked teeth. Happily, the singer has learned to embrace her imperfections–which actually helped land her 1999 role in the Civil War drama Ride With the Devil. “I asked [the director], ‘Why me? You could’ve had anyone you wanted. And he said, ‘You have period teeth,'” recalls the country star in the July issue of Shape. “So I got the job because I was the only actress in Hollywood who hadn’t gotten her teeth fixed!” But none of the country girl‘s apparent ‘flaws’ are evident on the magazine’s cover, where she looks as fit as ever in a striped bikini. And it seems the 36-year-old — who cops to a weakness for “a vanilla cupcake with buttercream frosting” — owes her fabulous figure to losing her old “all-or-nothing mentality” about diet. “I had seen so many performers develop eating disorders or try to control their weight with drugs,” she tells Shape. “I had to remind myself that standards of beauty are very fickle. One minute J. Lo‘s body is considered beautiful, and the next, everyone wants to look like Kate Moss. I’m all for people wanting to feel more confident, but altering your body to fit a current trend is serious stuff.” For more on Jewel, pick up the July issue of Shape or visit–Alison Schwartz

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