Brooke Shields is a modeling icon. At a young age, she walked the biggest cat walks and starred in some of the most famous campaigns, making a name for herself at just 12 years old. But despite her fame, the star says growing up in the spotlight wasn’t easy on her self-esteem. Now, at 52, Shields has partnered with body-positive swimsuit brand Swimsuits For All for it’s latest size-inclusive Power Suit campaign — and she’s opening up about why she’s more comfortable in a bikini now than she ever was in her twenties.
“Growing up under such scrutiny led me to feel insecure about my looks,” Shields tells PEOPLE in an interview about her new bikini ads. “Feeling disconnected from my own body, it took me years to separate the opinions of others from my own. Over time, I was able to find confidence in myself through my work, my passions, my network of strong female role models and my journey through motherhood. At 52 years old, I finally feel comfortable and proud of the all the hard work I’ve put into my body. I can say that I feel confident being in my own skin, showing my body and not hiding it.”
And that comfort doesn’t come from crash dieting or insane workouts. Shields explains that she “didn’t do anything special” to prepare for the bikini shots. “It’s all about balance. There’s no set way to be healthy and fit, it really is finding what works for you. I always try to drink a lot of water, get a good night’s sleep and maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.”
And apparently, it’s paying off — as far as her self-esteem is concerned.
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“When I was younger, I never loved being in a swimsuit because I picked apart the way I looked in them. I would always find a way to cover up,” she shares. “Now, I feel most confident when I’m showing off my body rather than hiding it.”
Shields adds that her daughters, Rowan, 15 and Grier, 12, who she says raid her closet and teach her about Instagram, are a driving force behind her self-esteem today.
“My daughters have especially helped me feel confident and I am proud to be in more revealing swimsuits than before. I wore the stunning red Pioneer Bikini from Swimsuits For All in this campaign that I felt so amazing in. It’ll be my go-to bikini all summer.”
But Shields wasn’t the only familiar face who looked amazing in the campaign photos. Joined by Ashley Graham, Angela Simmons and more women, the model says this was one of her best swimsuit shoots to date, all because of the company she had on set.
“Swimwear shoots can always be a bit daunting. I’ve certainly felt self-conscious and vulnerable shooting them in the past,” she shared. “This shoot with Swimsuits For All however, was one of my favorite swimwear shoots I’ve ever done because I was surrounded by the most amazing women. We all lifted each other up and gave each other the confidence to really enjoy every moment on set and in front of the camera together. My daughters love Ashley Graham so I was excited to work with her.”
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Shields adds of her campaign co-stars: “Working on this campaign with Swimsuits For All was inspiring to me because each one of these women is remarkable. They all worked so hard through their own journeys to realize their self-confidence and their own voice, just like I have.”
So when it comes to taking the best bikini photos, what’s her secret? “It’s all about exuding your inner confidence. If you feel good on the inside, it will always show,” she shares.