When it comes to celeb parents who keep it real, one mom who tends to get it right every time is Pink. From her multi-tasking Instagram posts about pumping and breastfeeding to the “big sister” party she threw for her daughter when her second child entered the family, Pink consistently sets the bar high for #ParentingGoals. And the latest reason she’s making headlines — for a powerful speech about her daughter at this year’s MTV VMAs — is possibly the best one yet.
Known for being strong, outspoken, and fearless, it’s no surprise that Pink is raising her 6-year-old daughter Willow to be the same way. After all, Pink emerged on the pop scene during the days when Britney Spears and Christian Aguilera reigned supreme — and immediately stood out from the pack. They were tiny and pretty and girly. She was not. Her song “Don’t Let Me Get Me” even mentions the constant comparisons she faced, when she sang that she was “tired of being compared to damn Britney Spears.”
Because if there is anything Pink is not, it’s a typical female pop star. And if there’s any one message she’s tried to drive home to her fans all these years, it’s that she’s totally okay with that.
So when she recently heard her daughter refer to herself as “the ugliest girl I know” and that she “looked like a boy,” Pink didn’t take the moment lightly; and she shared the moving lesson she taught her daughter while standing on the VMAs stage last night, during her acceptance of the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award.
She began by putting together a full-on Powerpoint presentation for Willow, packed with “androgynous rocks stars who lived their truth, are probably made fun of every day of their life, and carry on, wave their flag, and inspire the rest of us.” It included artists like Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Annie Lennox, and Prince, who famously went against the grain, and were probably called “weird” or “different” more times than they cared to count.
Pink also admitted to her daughter that she too has been called “ugly” and told that she looks like a boy, and relayed all the many things about her that didn’t seem to fit in: “I’m too masculine,” she shared. “I have too many opinions. My body is too strong.”
And how has she responded to all those hateful comments? By living her truth, as so many incredible artists before her have done, and as she now hopes her daughter will do.
But then came this powerful exchange:
“Do you see me growing my hair?” Pink asked her daughter.
“No, Mama,” her daughter told her.
“Do you see me changing my body?”
“Do you see me changing the way I present myself to the world?”
“Do you see me selling out to arenas all over the world?”
In a world that glorifies female beauty and defines it as being a certain body type — a world that tells women and girls they must fit into certain boxes, and be “nice” and quiet and wear a smile at all times — Pink is a straight-up force to be reckoned with. She punches through those walls. She makes no apologies. She helps the rest of us who also want to raise strong, confident girls when she shares stories like this one. She is strong and proud. And she is beautiful.
At its end, she went on to thank all of the artists who are authentic and true and constantly “paving the way” for her and girls like Willow, giving them the courage to do the same.
Of course, the moment that really got me (and every other viewer) right in the heart, was when Pink turned to her daughter Willow standing in the crowd next to husband, Corey Hart, and made this declaration:
“So, baby girl, we don’t change. We take the gravel in the shell and we make a pearl. And we help other people to change so that they can see more kinds of beauty.”
That image of little Willow — smiling from ear to ear, and happily pointing to a loose tooth — is one I won’t soon forget. But while Pink’s speech may have been largely about the beautiful lesson she taught her daughter that day, by sharing it on the VMAs stage, it became a powerful one for us all: That true beauty ultimately lies in our differences; the things that make us unique and special and unapologetically us. And those are the things worth celebrating.