"As women, we're taught our whole lives that thin is better," the actress told Well and Good

By Jacqueline Andriakos
Updated June 02, 2015 12:10 PM
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Another star of Girls is spreading positive messages about body confidence.

Jemima Kirke, who plays Jessa on the hit HBO series, opened up about embracing her body and learning to emphasize being strong, rather than skinny.

“As women, we’re taught our whole lives that thin is better, that the less space we take up the better, and that being strong is not associated with being feminine,” Kirke told online wellness site Well and Good in a joint interview with her trainer, Cadence Dubus, the owner of Pilates studio Brooklyn Strength.

“For Cadence, it’s ‘strong is feminine,’ because we need to be strong in our lives and work out for more than just looking good. It’s functional, it improves the quality of your life, so that you can pick up your kids and chase after them without getting winded,” she continued. “It’s about that, not about working out because you ate f— whatever it is that you ate!”

But the 30-year-old said that she didn’t always have that outlook.

“I’ve been in that place where you’re torturing yourself at the gym to be thin, I ve done that for years,” the British artist said. “I’ll tell you now, you’re not going to have the body you have in mind by doing that, because it’s often something totally unrealistic you saw in a magazine.”

The mom of two was partially drawn to Dubus as a trainer because of her strong, healthy appearance.

Dubus said, “Most women come to us already really frustrated that they’ve never gotten skinny. From my own background of being a dancer, I already know the body is capable of so much more than an outside aesthetic – it’s about feeling proud and grateful for the body that you have.”

The Pilates expert also added that clients “come in saying they can’t do a push-up, but you build that strength up over time, and suddenly they do it, and their faces totally light up. It’s absolutely beautiful.”

Kirke’s biggest piece of advice for living well? “Set a realistic goal that’s something maintainable, that’s conducive to your lifestyle. Sometimes, you’re going to have a hard week and be too tired to work out, and that’s okay. You’re human.”

Another Girls personality who has been exuding body confidence lately is the show’s creator and Kirke’s close pal, Lena Dunham.

The 29-year-old shared her workouts on Instagram with fitness selfies and shout-outs to her trainer, Tracy Anderson.

“Promised myself I would not let exercise be the first thing to go by the wayside when I got busy with Girls Season 5 and here is why: it has helped with my anxiety in ways I never dreamed possible,” the actress wrote in April.

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Dunham’s wise words on healthy living? “It ain’t about the ass, it’s about the brain.”