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Jennifer Lawrence proud to promote realistic body image for girls

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 12 2013 3:50 p.m. MST

Jennifer Lawrence has quickly become known for her role as Katniss Everdeen in the hit movie adaptation of Suzanne Collins' "The Hunger Games." And as the release of its sequel, "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," approaches, interest in 22-year-old Lawrence continues to grow.

Many news outlets have reached out to the actress to discuss her latest film, but Lawrence has taken the opportunity to promote more than her fictional character.

In a recent interview with "Newsnight," Lawrence was asked about her stance on body image and why she decided not to lose weight before filming "The Hunger Games."

Although some weight loss could be seen as understandable for Lawrence's character, given that Katniss comes from impoverished circumstances, Lawrence said she considered more than loyalty to the character's roots when making her decision.

"We have the ability to control this image that young girls are going to be seeing," Lawrence told "Newsnight." "Girls see enough of this body that we can't imitate, that we'll never be able to obtain, these unrealistic expectations — and this is going to be their hero and we have control over that. So it's kind of been an amazing opportunity to rid ourselves of that in this industry.

"And also I think that it's better to look strong and healthy. Kate Moss running at you with a bow and arrow wouldn't really be that scary."

Many have reacted positively to the actress' comments, commending Lawrence for not condoning what is a widely accepted practice in Hollywood. Stars such as Anne Hathaway and Natalie Portman embraced extreme diets to prepare for their roles in "Les Miserables" and "Black Swan," respectively, according to The Huffington Post.

"I’m never going to starve myself for a part," Lawrence told Elle magazine for a feature in the magazine's December edition. "I don’t want little girls to be like, ‘Oh, I want to look like Katniss, so I’m going to skip dinner.’ … I was trying to get my body to look fit and strong — not thin and underfed."

Much of the media coverage has praised Lawrence's perspective.

"I particularly appreciate that Lawrence mentioned she wants to be strong," Muireann Carey-Campbell wrote for theguardian.com. "Jennifer Lawrence's comments couldn't have come at a better time. With levels of inactivity at an all-time high in this country, having someone in her position championing being fit and strong may be just the boost a young woman needs to make a change. Make your way to the weights section, ladies."

Lawrence expressed the importance of her character being represented as a good role model for young girls who have followed the books and movies.

"I, growing up, didn't have a female hero like Katniss is," Lawrence told "Newsnight." "I think she's a wonderful role model for young girls. I'm happy they have a character like that."

Lawrence has gained attention from her fans for her self-love stance and overall amiability, which have been captured and shared in Pinterest images and YouTube clips.

Former teen heartthrob Ashton Kutcher also recently opened up to his young fans about what's important in life. This past August, Kutcher accepted a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Teen Choice Awards, and during his acceptance speech he told teens to be kind, smart and to work hard.

Since then, Kutcher's speech has gone viral, and the 35-year-old actor discussed his thoughts in more detail on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."

"It just felt like an opportunity to be honest," Kutcher told DeGeneres. "Working hard and being thoughtful and generous and smart, it's a path to a better life."

Kutcher said he decided to share his thoughts in hopes that it might reach someone who may be in need of his advice.

"I thought it was an opportunity to do something different," Kutcher said. "If there's one person who was listening pursues a different path, I think I did what I was wanting to do."

Email: spetersen@deseretnews.com

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