Jane Fonda Recalls 'Body Dysmorphia' Hindering Her Dreams of Becoming an Actress: 'Being Young Is Really Hard'
Jane Fonda is feeling better than ever at age 85.
The Book Club: The Next Chapter actress is looking back on overcoming a turbulent childhood and her troubling years as a young adult.
"Being young is really hard. Don't let anyone kid you," she declared in a new interview, published this week. "I wish when I was younger, someone had said to me, 'Don't give up. Keep going. It'll get better.'"
Fonda explained she never aspired to be an actress because she believed she didn't physically have what it took.
"Young me did not want to be an actor. I didn't think I had talent. I didn't think I was pretty enough. I had a lot of body dysmorphia," she told the news publication, recalling: "I was pretty lost as a young person."
Eventually, the Oscar-winning actress took control of her life, having worked with an exercise instructor named Leni Cazden, who helped her with her health after struggling with bulimia. In 1982, Fonda started a fitness revolution when she released Jane Fonda's Workout — which was based on the class she took from Cazden.
The video sold more than 17 million copies.
"So many women said to me, 'My whole attitude about myself changed,'" noted Fonda — who now exercises three to four times a week with a trainer, goes on hikes and sticks to a health diet. "That meant the world to me."
Aside from struggling with her appearance as a young adult, Fonda's childhood took a toll on her development — as her father, the late actor Henry Fonda, was distant, and her socialite mother, Frances, died by suicide when she was 12. Fonda's brother was 10 when they lost their mom.
Years later, Fonda reflected on how she got to where she is today, noting she is much happier now that a lot of the questions she had when she was younger have since been answered.
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"Who am I? What am I supposed to do in life? All of that has been answered," the activist and former fashion model continued, emphasizing that she doesn't "take anything for granted."
Fonda concluded, "I'm just amazed that at my age I'm still working and have a lot of energy. It's all a surprise to me."
People conducted the interview with Fonda.