Whether you’ve admired Kristi Yamaguchi since her gold medal winning skating at the 1992 Winter Olympics or first got to know her when she claimed victory on the 6th season of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, it’s undeniable that Kristi Yamaguchi is a world champion. But she’s more than “just” a world-class athlete. Rather, Kristi Yamaguchi is also an artist, author, wife, mother, fashion designer and philanthropist.

She founded the Always Dream Foundation to support the lives of children through educational and recreational initiatives, served as the Goodwill Ambassador at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City and, in February 2008, Kristi received the prestigious Thurman Munson Award, acknowledging excellence in competition and philanthropic work within the community.

We sat down with Kristi Yamaguchi and asked her to weigh in on Real Beauty

How do you define beauty? I think it’s when you are confident in who you are. And, instead of wearing clothes you’re uncomfortable in, you dress for you. But it takes time. In your teen years, you’re experimenting. In your 20s as well. But finally, in your 30s, you just go with it. That’s beauty.

Who are your role models? Dorothy Hamill and other female athletes.

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What beauty products are you loving? Armani foundation! If I’m doing appearances or TV and need light coverage, I love it. I was introduced to it on Dancing with the Stars – where they use a lot of makeup! And Dove soap.

How do you deal with the pressure for body perfection in the media? As an athlete, I’m really in tune with my body. And more than how it looks, how it feels. Instead of hopping on the sale, listen to your body and what it feels like. Don’t listen to or be influenced by what the media says is the standard.

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What message do you try to send to your daughters about body images and beauty? I try and set a good example as far as eating healthy myself – I try to eat as healthy as I can, keep as active as possible, be positive and emphasize being strong.

What’s your fitness routine like now? It varies. I don’t have a regimen like you might expect. I’m not training like an Olympian anymore! I try to workout 2-3 times per week, do cardio on the elliptical, isometric exercises using my own body weight, lift light free weights. My daughter recently started skating so I’m at the rink now twice a week but I just sit and watch. Maybe I’ll start skating while she’s there.

Tell us about your fashion line… Tsu.ya launched [last night] is exclusively at Lord & Taylor. I wanted to create a lifestyle brand to benefit the Always Dream Foundation, for children’s literacy. With two daughters in public school, I saw so much going on. If a child can’t read at grade level by 3rd grade, it affects not only graduation rates but also their career in school and life. For me, the natural way to get into fashion, as a former athlete, was with active wear that’s functional, comfortable and feels good for busy moms and women on the run.

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