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You know Megan Rapinoe as the world-famous athlete with two FIFA Women’s World Cup Championships and an Olympic Gold Medal under her belt; the tireless advocate for fair pay who recently worked with president Biden on Equal Pay Day initiatives; the social justice activist who took a knee back in 2016 and continues to support the Black Lives Matter movement; and the girl with the envious pink hair.
A quick chat with Rapinoe confirms she is all of these things through and through. But no matter what her role, you’ll find a common thread that courses through everything Rapinoe does: she’s pushing for freedom of expression and the freedom to be, well, you and me. “I think we have a lot of soul anguish happening that presents in a lot of different ways, whether that’s violence, anti-social behavior or depression. I think it’s because we’re out of balance with each other, and we’re not able to really fully be ourselves or other people be them themselves either,” the soccer star recently told us via Zoom from her home in Seattle.
Ahead, see how a deep-seated belief in equality influences her world—right down to her high-low beauty routine, latest engagement as Schmidt’s Naturals brand partner and hair color choices. (Don’t tell her DNA, but she was just born to have pink hair.) Bonus: the world-class athlete shares her hacks for finding the motivation to work out. Because just like the rest of us, Rapinoe really doesn’t feel like it sometimes. Yes, really!
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On Self Expression
I think of self-care as a really personal thing and everyone should decide for themselves what expression of that they want to have. Dying my hair pink actually means a lot to me. I like to express myself and I like to have fun [with my look], whether it’s with clothes or jewelry that I put on my body or with my hair. I feel like beauty sort of gets co-opted into this idea of, if your skin looks like this or your hair looks like that, then you’re beautiful.
But it’s like, well that’s like fucking one person, so that doesn’t even exist so I feel like it should be a really personal thing that we all you know explore for ourselves and then have that feeling because I just feel like when you know what makes you feel beautiful or makes you feel good or makes you feel well and you express that like, then you just sort of walk out in the world, you know, shoulders back and [with] a little pep in your step.
On Finding Her Natural Roots
I had had blonde hair for so long — and my hair is not naturally blonde, either. When my hair is pink, there’s just a vibe I get when I wake up in the morning, brush my teeth and stand in front of the mirror — it’s just fun, it makes me feel good and I like the way that it looks. I feel like I’m supposed to have pink hair naturally and someone fucked up and gave me a different hair color.
I feel like I’m supposed to have pink hair naturally and someone fucked up and gave me a different hair color.
On Embracing Her Inner Lazy Athlete
I’ve had a lot more stress, anxiety and uncertainty in the last year, [just like] a lot of people. I feel like as an athlete, usually, pretty much everything is planned, barring five or six weeks out of the year. So I’ve had to motivate myself to train. And then I’m like, well, ‘I don’t feel motivated.’ so then I’m like, ‘Well now you’re not a good athlete because you don’t even feel motivated to do your job.’ It was just stressful and unnerving in a lot of ways. So I tried to be really aware of it and conscious of it and do things to balance those feelings out, whether it’s meditating or just sitting outside and breathing fresh air.
On Her Motivational Trick To Inspire Workouts
I don’t love to work out, but I do it every day so I get the physical, emotional, mental benefits from it. Especially early on in the pandemic, a lot of the parks were closed and we weren’t sure if COVID was just like wafting around in the air, so I had to really switch my mental approach to working out from playing a soccer game for my job to: ‘I’m doing this for wellness. I’m just going to go outside in the fresh air and move my body.’
I actually started listening to podcasts like four years ago when I was working out because music was just not enough to take my mind out not wanting to work out. I have this two-hour block and listening to podcasts is more of an education. I listen to The Daily or Pod Save America just to get a little bit of news or education. Before games, If I really want to get pumped up, I’ll put on some rap [music], but I found that listening to podcasts while I work out is meditative in a way because I can just get into the story and not have to think so much about how I want my workout to be over.
On Stealing Self Care Moments Throughout The Day
Even if I don’t have time for self-care, there are little things I can do throughout the day. I love having my morning coffee because drinking it gives me a little moment to myself before the chaos of the day starts.
I also love a good bath, even if it’s just for five or 10 minutes because it allows me to sit and relax and get that physical-mental connection. I’ll use a totally generic Epsom salt or something with a little lavender. It seems to do the trick for sore muscles, but also to unplug. Then, I try to stretch at night right before bed. I don’t know what kind of chemicals are being released or what’s happening there but it gives me a chance to connect physically with my body before I go to bed.
On Her High/Low Self Care Staples
For skincare, I use Biologique Recherche Placenta Repairing Serum and Biologique Recherche Crème Dermopurifiante, which is a really great moisturizer. I always wear mineral sunscreen, like Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion WetForce for Sensitive Skin and Children SPF 50+ Sunscreen because it’s a little less oily and gives a nice finish on the face. Then I use a lot of Vaseline Original Unscented Petroleum Jelly for my lips. I also use it on my hands at night, almost like a lotion. It’s old school: easy and simple.
I also made the switch from conventional deodorant during quarantine. I’ve been wanting to go natural because I try to be conscious of what I’m putting in and on my body and making sure I’m being as healthy as possible, but my deodorant was the last holdout because I just didn’t know if it was really going to work. I did the ultimate test, and wore Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant while doing all the sports while wearing dry fit. I was a little nervous, to be honest, but it actually works.
There’s just so much human capital, creativity, innovation, artistry and storytelling that’s wasted because of inequality and racism.
On Cultivating a Comfort Zone
I love a good snuggle. I felt very lucky, during the pandemic, that [my fiance] Sue and I were able to spend so much time together. Touch is definitely one of my love languages, so just being able to like, sit next to someone with maybe a leg over theirs is always lovely. Anytime I can get a massage, that’s the ultimate for me when it comes to self-care. Just having someone rub my shoulders or move my body is just the best. Anytime Sue and I can sit down, put phones away and specifically carve out space and disconnect by sitting outside and sharing a nice bottle of wine.
On Forging The Advocacy-Wellness Connection
As human beings, we all have a deep desire to be our full selves, and I think that’s what is most devastating about inequality, racism, and sexism is that we don’t allow people to be their full selves, or to express themselves fully and be appreciated for that expression. It’s really damaging because there’s just so much human capital, creativity, innovation, artistry and storytelling that’s wasted because of inequality and racism. So in terms of wellness, we should do what we can to achieve that sense of free expression for ourselves, and wellness practices can play a part there.
But advocacy work has had a positive effect on my sense of wellness too. Because I can have great wellness and feel comfortable as a person and successful in my job, but if I’m the only one feeling great, then that sucks. But if I’m helping others feel beautiful and valued for being their full selves, [then that boosts my well-being too].