At 58, Brooke Shields Says She Regrets Being a "Good Girl"

"I spent so much time self-deprecating, making myself small."

Brooke Shields poses at Joel Grey's 92nd Birthday bash at "Cabaret" on Broadway at The Kit Kat Club at The August Wilson Theatre on April 11, 2024 in New York City.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Model, actress and advocate Brooke Shields has had enough.

While speaking to what is safe to assume to be an attentive crowd at the PHM's HealthFront 2024 two-day event in New York City on April 10, the founder of Beginning is Now—an online wellness community specifically created for women 40 and over—said that she "spent so much time self-deprecating, making myself small so I wasn't threatening."

"You do it long enough, and you kind of start to believe it," she continued, and as reported by People, a sponsor of the event. "That's the danger. I had to really practice not making myself less than and not letting myself be intimated by people who were just yelling louder."

She went on to say that while humility is not inherently bad, often times for women—and for her—it is a "source of being accepted, being liked, being hired."

"All those things, that as a good girl, that's what you do," she continued. "When it gets detrimental is when it shifts into self-deprecation."

Brooke Shields poses at Joel Grey's 92nd Birthday bash at "Cabaret" on Broadway at The Kit Kat Club at The August Wilson Theatre on April 11, 2024 in New York City.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Shields went on to say that women "are not taught" how to advocate for themselves—a vital practice that she says has changed her life.

"We're not taught that we know our bodies better than other people do. It's not in the narrative," she continued, adding that because women are not inherently taught self-advocacy tools, it's up to moms (and dads) to talk to their daughters about how they can show up for themselves first and foremost.

"You have to have conversations with them, about their bodies, about what's happening with their bodies, about what they're feeling," she explained. "The dialogue has to keep happening so that you can teach them the questions to ask their health care provider."

Shields is the proud mom of two daughters—Rowan, 20, and Grier, 17. The former model says she has been a big part of helping her daughters during their own health journeys.

"You need to teach them to be able to speak up for their own selves," she added.

Rowan Francis Henchy, Brooke Shields and Grier Hammond Henchy attend the iHeartRadio Z100’s Jingle Ball 2022.

Rowan Francis Henchy, Brooke Shields and Grier Hammond Henchy attend the iHeartRadio Z100’s Jingle Ball 2022.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

During the same April 10 conversation during the Publicis Health Media’s HealthFront event, the actress also said that women over 40 are often "dismissed" by society.

“It starts at 40 and (you) just don't realize it's happening,” she told the crowd. "I started looking at (beauty) marketing and it was either you're the sexy girl at the bar or it was all anti-aging, only wrinkles or only menopause."

Shields went on to admit that she was also "part of the problem" as a model and active part of the beauty and marketing industry.

“I was perpetuating whatever I was selling for people," she explained. "And to get to this age, and actually feel sexy and feel great, and then have marketers not market to us—it was angering to me. It all just is about, to me, changing the narrative and not using all these negative words.”

Danielle Campoamor
Weekend Editor

Danielle Campoamor is Marie Claire's weekend editor covering all things news, celebrity, politics, culture, live events, and more. In addition, she is an award-winning freelance writer and former NBC journalist with over a decade of digital media experience covering mental health, reproductive justice, abortion access, maternal mortality and mental health, gun violence, climate change, politics, celebrity news, culture, online trends, wellness, gender-based violence and other feminist issues. You can find both her work in The New York Times, Washington Post, New York Magazine, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, TODAY, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, InStyle, Playboy, Teen Vogue, Glamour, The Daily Beast, Mother Jones, Prism, Newsweek and more. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and their two feral sons. When she is not writing, editing or doom scrolling she enjoys reading, cooking, debating current events and politics, traveling to Seattle to see her dear friends and losing Pokémon battles against her ruthless offspring. You can find her on X, Instagram, Threads, Facebook and all the places.