Kate Upton is taking a “step toward embracing real life.”

The model/actress, 27, is Health magazine’s September cover star with an unretouched photoshoot.

“When you think about it, we have retouching everywhere now — and we don’t even know it,” Upton told the magazine of her fight for body positivity. “People are staging Instagram shots and retouching those pictures. That’s the new norm. And then we believe that’s how people actually look, and think we should look that way, too. So, for me, doing an unretouched shoot is a step toward embracing real life. The goal should be to be the best you can be — not try to look like someone else.”

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@KateUpton is our September cover star—and she’s posing in a series of unretouched photos to call BS on the all-too-common notion that exercise is about fitting into a smaller dress size. “The thing about focusing on your own journey and strength is that you see the results more quickly,” she explains. “Instead of beating yourself up about the number on the scale, you notice when you get stronger. It’s a healthier mind-set, one that took me a while to get to.” . When #KateUpton first exploded onto the modeling scene just over 10 years ago, curvy bodies weren’t being celebrated the way they are today. And while many appreciated Upton’s figure, there were quite a few who told her she needed to lose weight so that she would look like other models. “I grew up in Florida—we were always in bikinis, and it was nothing weird,” she explains. “So I never realized that I had a different body type, or that people would have an opinion on my body. " . But we’ve come a long way: “Now people forget that happened, which actually makes me happy because I think it shows how much the industry has changed,” adds Upton. “In a lot of ways, I think the industry really built me up and tore me down—and then I built myself back up.” . Tap the link in bio to read the full interview and see the rest of the photo shoot. (📸: @yutsai88)

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And since giving birth in November, Upton says “finding good workouts, eating healthy, and putting myself first at some point during the day,” helps her fight off criticism.

“I find that if I am in a good mental space, I don’t let the bulls*** and criticism get to me.”

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And Upton is happy with her own body image.

“When I first started modelling, everything was about your measurements and what you fit into,” she said. “It would be like, ‘Oh, you don’t fit into those jeans.’ You’re shamed. And that’s why it took me a longer time to get to a healthier place. That’s why it’s important for me to push out this different mindset.”

“I don’t want anyone to have to be in that negative space where they think, Oh, no! I don’t fit into that size 2 dress, ” she added. “You know what, who cares? Buy another one!”

Read more from Upton here.

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