A Traumatic Struggle With Body Image

Hayden Panettiere reveals her body image struggle after a traumatic teenage experience.

Hayden Panettiere reveals body image struggle.

Hayden Panettiere is a petite woman, standing just 5 feet 2 inches tall. And at 23 years old, Panettiere is already a mainstay on the Hollywood scene since her breakout role in Heroes back in 2006. She seems to walk plenty of red carpets with ease and glamour -- no doubt Panettiere seems self-assured.

However, she is sure to shock some fans when they find out her confidence and self-esteem weren't always this high. In fact, Panettiere says she became increasingly self-conscious as she garnered greater fame and attention. The result? A horribly traumatic experience that left her emotionally damaged for years, an event she was only recently been able to overcome.

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Women's Health sat down with Hayden for an interview as she graces their October 2012 cover. Panettiere revealed that at 16 years old, just as her career was taking off, she saw a magazine with the word "cellulite" splashed above her picture. "I was mortified," reveals Hayden. "It gave me such body dysmorphia for so long. But I remember reminding myself that beauty is an opinion, not a fact. And it has always made me feel better"

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Seven years later Panettiere tells Women's Health she does her best to exercise and eat healthy but feels her attitude about herself is what people notice first. "People can tell when you're happy with being you and when you're not. It's only cheesy because it's true. As I've gotten older and grown into my body, I've started realizing that the way you carry yourself and the light coming out of your eyes are the most attractive things about you."

We think Hayden looks great -- and always has -- and totally love her message about positive body image.

Photo courtesy of FayesVision / WENN.com

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