According to a recent study by Dove, approximately 91 percent of women are unhappy with their bodies and resort to dieting to achieve their ideal body shape. Unfortunately, only five percent of women naturally possess the body type often portrayed by Americans in the media. Margaret Cho is all too familiar with this battle, which is why she is one of several influential women working to improve these statistics.

A turning point

“I was so sick of judging myself — and sick of being judged for my thighs, my weight and my looks,” she recalls. “I felt like nothing was ever enough.” After battling a long cycle of denial and depression, Cho made a decision to embrace her flaws.

“It’s really about accepting and loving myself, as well as whatever is flawed,” the comedian explains. “There’s no need to care so much about those extra pounds or wrinkles. Happiness is what I try to hang on to.”

LOUD AND PROUD: Cho isn't afraid to say what everyone else is during her stand up routines, and uses that same unapologetic honesty to tackle body empowerment when it comes to herself and others as well.


Assuming the mantle

One of the biggest keys to Cho’s success is her willingness to tackle difficult topics. Her stand-up material explores a wide spectrum of feminist issues, ranging from eating disorders and sexuality to gender and stereotypes. Throughout the past decade, she’s used her influence to inspire young women and girls across the country, earning the nickname “patron saint of outsiders.”

“I think it’s a real honor,” she laughs. “I am an outsider, and I’ve always really appreciated being one.”

Channeling your energy

Seven in ten girls believe that they are not good enough or don’t measure up in some way, whether with their looks, their performance in school or in their relationships with friends and family members. Cho has learned to use her art form to effect positive change for herself and for her fans. “I love doing stand-up comedy,” she shares. “It’s what I work on very diligently, more than anything else in my life. It’s the most important aspect of my days.”

Cho’s advice for young people who might not love what they see when they look in the mirror? “Get comfortable with your skin. This is what we are — this is it. There are no rehearsals in life. You have to go for it. You have one life and one body.”