*Michelle Carter, who became the first American woman to win a gold medal in the shot put on Friday, is also a professional makeup artist who promotes positive body image whenever the opportunity arises.
During the Olympic trials earlier this year, Carter spoke to The New Yorker about the stigma that surrounds female shot-putters.
“It’s something I think a lot of girls and women shy away from because it’s not looked at as something a woman would want to do or a woman should do,” Carter told The New Yorker’s Mary Pilon.
Now, Carter said, more and more women are shattering the stereotype that women can’t be strong and feminine.
“I think now, it’s like, ‘You know what? We’re girls and we can throw heavy balls and be in the dirt and we look good while we’re doing it,’” she said. “I think it’s bringing more attention to the sport and girls are realizing, ‘Hey, I can do this and it’s O.K. to do this as a girl.’”
As a professional makeup artist, Carter said she relishes the chance to get creative with her makeup, but was always reluctant to wear it on the field.
“For a couple of years, being professional, I kind of questioned myself. Should I wear my false lashes or take the time I want to take so I can feel good when I go out on the field? Because nobody else was really doing that,” Carter said. “And I thought, No: I’m not going to change what I believe I should look like to fit anybody else’s standards.”
Carter told The New Yorker she would love to see more diversity in body types both on and off the field. “You have to understand everyone’s body was built to do something,” she said. “I was built to do something, and that’s how I was built. I think the world is realizing we were promoting one body type and there have always been many.”
Carter spreads her feminist message of looking and feeling good to younger female shot-putters. “The parents say, ‘Can you talk to my daughter and say that it’s O.K.? That she can have muscles?’ They’ll say, ‘I show her pictures of you so they can know she’s good at what she does but still looks like a girl. She wears dresses,’” Carter said. “It releases people to be whoever they want to be in the sport.”