"My mom has been someone who’s really aged gracefully and naturally," Schwarzenegger told PEOPLE

By Melody Chiu
December 14, 2018 05:54 PM
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Credit: David Livingston/Getty

Katherine Schwarzenegger has been open about her struggles with body image and wants to share her newfound body positivity with the world.

Earlier this month, she participated in an #AerieReal Talk with Iskra Lawrence at the Westfield Century City Mall to help influence young women to love their bodies.

After the panel, Schwarzenegger told PEOPLE exclusively her mother Maria Shriver, who also attended the event, has been an “inspiration” and “role model” when it comes to accepting herself the way she is.

“She really always talked about that when we were younger, especially as women, just being able to be aware of your body and love your body no matter what phase of life you’re going through or what your age is. And my mom has been someone who’s really aged gracefully and naturally, and that’s been really incredible for my sister and I to watch.”

Aside from turning to her mother, Schwarzenegger, 29, credits her confidence to the people she keeps around her.

RELATED VIDEO: Chris Pratt and Katherine Schwarzenegger Are Getting ‘Serious,’ Says Source: They’re ‘Hopeful for the Future’

“Surrounding myself with people that make me happy and that love me and that I love is what’s most important and what makes me feel best about myself,” she says. “Whenever I’m having a moment of feeling down or insecure, which we all have, just being able to turn to my friends and family and people that I trust and love around me and make me laugh and just keep things in perspective is what’s best for me.”

One of those people is undoubtedly boyfriend Chris Pratt, 39, who made their relationship Instagram-official on Schwarzenegger’s 29th birthday this week.

Schwarzenegger and Pratt
| Credit: Chris Pratt/Instagram

“It’s only been a couple of months, but they’re both serious about the relationship and hopeful for the future,” a source previously told PEOPLE about the couple. “Chris doesn’t just date to date, and neither does Katherine. She’s very excited. Family is very important to both of them, as well as their spirituality. She’s very, very sweet and maternal and great with his son.”

Schwarzenegger admitted during the audience question-and-answer session that she hasn’t always been in the healthiest of relationships, but those failed romances led her to a place where she realizes what she deserves from a partner.

“I also feel like a lot of my self-worth has come from falling down and getting back up — especially in relationships and feeling heartbroken sometimes, or feeling hurt and being able to figure out and say, ‘No, I don’t deserve to be treated that way. And that comes, or at least for me, it came with experience.”