WATCH: Aly Raisman on Her Favorite Places to Shop, Her Travel Essentials and More

Plus, why you can always count on the Olympic gymnast to have a spare tampon

aly raisman

Aly Raisman is on a mission to take away the stigma surrounding women and their periods — specifically, young women. “I work out a lot with little girls, so sometimes they’ll run and [say to] me, ‘I just got my period!” In a way, the six-time Olympic medalist has become a bit of a tampon whisperer at the gym. “I like to think I’m not awkward about it, so I think that they can come to me… I get what they’re going through so I like to be that person for them.” So it was a natural fit when the athlete teamed up with Playtex Sport to encourage girls to continue on in sports after their get their period for the first time by providing the tools and advice they need to “play on.”

The key, she says, is having the conversation. “I think young girls feel awkward because the boys in their class don’t want to talk about it… you feel so awkward if you have to go to the bathroom in the middle of class if you have to change your tampon and so I would literally just slide it up my sleeve.” (A reason she’s happy to advocate for the Playtex Sport Compact, which “is great because it just fits in your pocket.”)

Hear Aly discuss the partnership further in the Facebook Live above – and of course, we had to talk to her about her style and beauty routine too. Here are some key takeaways:

-To destress, Aly loves with baths, candles and essential oils.

-She spends her Saturday nights shopping with her 15-year-old sister at T.J. Maxx and Target (where’s our invite?). As the older sister, Aly enjoys making time for her younger sibling. “It made me feel really good! She came to me and asked me if I could take her shopping… She’s only a freshman in high school, so I think it’s really important to spend a lot of time with her at that age because it’s hard to be a kid now.”

-One celebrity Aly’s dying to meet? Emma Watson. “She’s just so much about female empowerment and I think she’s incredible.”

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-Although she’s known for her body, Aly’s least favorite thing to work out is her abs. “It takes years to get a really, really toned stomach and if you don’t work out for like two weeks, it just, like, goes away.” But she’s not too concerned about it, adding, “It’s about taking the time to appreciate your body and realizing that our bodies are constantly changing… Of course I’m not going to look the same, or be in the same shape as I was in the Olympics and that’s okay.”

-When she travels, she always has — surprise! — tampons, as well as lip balm and Revision Intellishade tinted moisturizer.

-She uses seven or eight(!) hair elastics when she competes, and says she only recently started using bobby pins, which she calls “life-changing.”

And below, watch Aly surprise a young gymnast while she trains — and talk tryouts, tricks of the trade and more.

What did you learn from Aly’s talk?

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