Whether you’re a sports fan or not, Kerri Walsh is a woman worthy of your admiration. As part of what’s been called “the greatest beach volleyball team of all time,” Kerri, along with partner Misty May-Treanor, had one of the longest and most impressive winning streaks in professional sports (winning 89 straight matches between 2003 and 2004) and won the gold medal at both the 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympics. During each season in which she’s played, Kerri has been the top-ranked player and, in 2006, she became the fourth female American to earn over $1 million in career earnings.
This beach volleyball superstar, though, is as impressive off the court as she is on it. As the founder of Kerri Walsh’s Chase the Stars Foundation, Kerri has been helping children “chase the stars” since 2004 by supporting programs and events designed to improve the well-being, health and quality of children’s lives. What we find most impressive, though, is her athleticism and healthy body image (even in a bikini-clad sport which, we imagine, could be a recipe for unhealthy body ideals and a powerful pressure for perfection). Kerri, though, handles it all as nothing short of a Real Beauty.
We sat down with Kerri Walsh and asked her to weigh in on Real Beauty
What do you think makes someone beautiful?
The most beautiful people to me are those whose genuine kindness shines through their eyes when they smile. People who are truly comfortable in their own skin. People who are open and honest and true to themselves. It’s my experience that people like these have open hearts and minds, which to me is a beautiful thing.
How do you deal with the pressure for body perfection in our culture?
I can sincerely say that I’ve never felt pressure to look a certain way because of what our culture idealizes. It’s so much more about me and how I feel about my body. I know what it feels like to be fit and confident at 160 pounds and I know what it feels like to feel soft and untoned at 155 pounds and I most certainly know what I prefer. I want to look good for me because I know that when I do that nothing else really matters. It sounds so cheesy, but I’m happy to say it’s true.
If you could give your younger self advice about beauty, what would it be?
If I were to speak about “physical” beauty, I’d tell my younger self to simply take care of the body you were given because it’s the only one you’ll get. Take care of yourself from the inside out, take care of your skin (SPF!!), and smile lots because it’s an easy way to feel beautiful. If I were to speak about true beauty, I’d say to be a good person because that’s where it’s most important to be beautiful–in your heart.
What is your one, can’t-live-without-it beauty product?
Can I have 2? Murad’s “Environmental Shield” line and my Cover Girl mascara.