Ritter, 35, says that she was bullied as a teen, and now sees that it may have been jealousy over her summers spent modeling in New York City.
“But you don’t recognize it as that. And neither do they,” she tells Women’s Health for their November cover. “You’re just different — and different is not good.”
Ritter eventually realized that her classmates were wrong. “Different is good,” she says. “Different is great!”
These days, Ritter says she’s “confident and a little fearless,” and she tries to be an example for young women.
“I’m not a wallflower and I encourage girls to live that way,” she says. “I encourage girls to lean in, use your brain, get in there, get in the conversation.”
“I felt like such a loser the first time. I didn’t know how to throw a punch — why would I? Who knows how to throw a punch? Now I do it all the time, and it makes me feel strong,” she says. “It’s so f——- fun … You have to focus and be present … because if you aren’t present, you’re going to get hit in the face.”
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When she’s not practicing her kicks for the show, Ritter prefers more low-key workouts.
“In regular life, I love spinning, I love yoga, and I love Pilates reformer,” she says. “It’s so hard to motivate yourself sometimes when you really just don’t want to exercise, but I try to remind myself that you never ever, ever, ever regret going to the gym.”
And she loves meditation — in the form of knitting.
“If I have a moment on set, or anytime, I do this. I love it — the repetition,” Ritter says. “People call it the Secret Keeper, because it’s a meditation; it relaxes your mind. After I’ve knitted for a while, I feel like I just woke up form a nap. And what’s awesome is that then you have a product! You have something you made with your hands!”