From winning the gold medal at the Rio Olympics, to becoming a certified makeup artist, Michelle Carter has been a champion in confidence and body positivity both on and off the field. We had the pleasure of catching up with her on National Girls and Women in Sports Day following our Empowerment Forum in Nashville, TN!
If you missed the Forum, check out our Facebook Live.
First off, congratulations on your gold medal win in Rio! Can you tell us a little bit about the moment that you realized you had won? What was going through your head?
Well, I remember the moment I realized I had won, it was actually like a sigh of relief. It’s been a goal of mine for so long, and sometimes, you have these goals and you never know if they’re actually going to happen or not. But in that moment, everything that I’ve been through in the last twenty years of shot put all made sense – it all led up to this moment. I was just happy that it finally came to pass, that this dream that I had has happened. And here I am, in that moment.
As both an athlete and a makeup artist, what would you say to critics who believe those are mutually exclusive interests?
I feel like they go hand in hand. Just like people get ready for work, I get ready for my competitions. And for me, makeup is a part of that. I have a saying, “you look good, you feel good, you do good.” So, if I’m willing to do good on the track, then I want to go out there and present myself the way that I look and feel the best and that’s what I do. So, I go out there and I know I look good, and if I look good, I know I feel good, and if I feel good, I know I’ll do great. And that’s how I present myself everyday.
I know you’ve been vocal about body positivity in the sports world. As an athlete myself, sports have definitely helped me in my own journey towards body positivity by giving me an appreciation for all the amazing things my body could do. Can you tell us a little bit about your journey towards body positivity?
I’ve always been a bigger girl. I wasn’t the skinniest – I was always the tallest and the biggest girl. But that was just by nature. My parents were tall and big and so I would carry more weight than the average person. And I was always okay with that because my parents built that confidence in me. With sports, I learned how to asses my body and figure out what works for me, what I’m good at. But also, as I was getting older, I had an issue with my health. I have hypothyroidism that has definitely changed my body from the inside out. With that came ninety pounds.
As an athlete, maintaining weight, losing weight, or gaining weight is hard to do by itself. But it’s even harder when you’re used to your body doing what you want it to do, how you need it to do it. There came a point in time where I couldn’t lose the weight and it made me re-define who I thought I was and what I looked like, because I was used to looking a certain way but now my body is different. But in that moment – just because my body was different, I never thought that it could perform any less than before. So, I figured out what worked for the body that I have now. That really boosted my body confidence because I came into a situation that I wasn’t expecting and now I have a different body. And it’s like, now what do I do? Well, if I did this before, I can still do it now. It didn’t change my mindset. Being in sports, I know how it feels to push your body past those limits. I know losing the weight will be hard because medically, it’s different, but I know that at the end of the day, if I work hard enough, I can still get my body to do what I need it to do. And ninety pounds later, I won the gold medal. So I’m like okay, I’m fine with me and my body, you know? I was still able to perform and it gave me this confidence knowing that hey, if I really want to do it, I can figure it out and make it work for me.