There’s no doubt that gymnast Simone Biles is a fierce competitor. The 22-year-old has collected more world championship medals than any other gymnast ever; took five medals home from the 2016 Olympics in Rio; has trademark moves that now bear her name; and has set record after record during her journey to becoming one of the greatest athletes in the world. As she prepares to compete at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, though, Biles is facing a fearsome competitor off the mat — unrealistic beauty standards. “I feel like growing up in the public eye and being a gymnast everyone looks at what you look like on the outside, not how you do,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “They judge your looks based on your hair, your body, and I’ve gotten a lot of backlash for that over the years.” As Biles tweeted recently, that is one competition that no one signed up for — and one fight she is ready to take on, even if that means battling an animated troll in the middle of Times Square. That’s exactly what she did on Tuesday to help launch prestige skincare brand SK-II’s new campaign that declares that beauty is #NOCOMPETITION.
During a crowded event in New York’s Times Square, Biles announced the upcoming release of “VS” — an SK-II STUDIO Animated Series that brings to life the stories of top Olympic athletes in a six-part series. The series celebrates fighting back against trolls and shattering competition in the world of beauty, something that Biles truly believes in. “There’s no other campaign like this,” Biles tells The Hollywood Reporter. “Everyone other than SK-II focuses so much on what you look like on the outside. [They] focus on what you do and what you are on the inside.”
As an athlete, Biles is used to facing criticism as judges assess her performances during competitions. She will never get used to strangers on Twitter or Instagram critiquing her body — and she shouldn’t have to. Yet, it’s a reality for Biles and other athletes, celebrities and even mere mortals existing in the world and on social media these days. “I don’t know why but others feel as though they can define your own beauty based on their standards. I've learned to put on a strong front and let most of it slide. But I'd be lying if I told you that what people say about my arms, my legs, my body...of how I look like in a dress, leotard, bathing suit or even in casual pants hasn't gotten me down at times,” she wrote in an open letter on Twitter.
Now, after years in the spotlight and being judged far outside the gym, Biles is determined to help make the world a less toxic place. She has teamed up with SK-II, the worldwide partner of the International Olympic Committee, and other Olympic athletes, including Japanese table tennis player Ishikawa Kasumi, badminton duo Ayaka Takahashi and Misaki Matsutomo, pro surfer Mahina Maeda and Japanese volleyball team Hinotori Nippon, to fight back against the toxic competition we all face in beauty, sports and life. “For me and all the other Olympians around the world in this campaign, beauty is #NOCOMPETITION is a really important topic to bring to the surface,” Biles says. “And we have the platform to do that.”
This is far from the first time that Biles has fought back against trolls pushing their unrealistic beauty standards and ideas of perfection on her. She fought back against a troll who claimed that she “partied non stop” in 2017. That same year, when Biles shared a photo of herself on Twitter practicing as an honorary cheerleader with the Houston Texans, a stranger commented on her hair, which was slightly messy after doing flips all day. As the troll got traction for her mean tweet, Biles responded, asking, “Do you look perfect ALL the time?” It was a classy comeback to someone trying to turn beauty standards into a full-contact sport, but Biles tries to stay away from online drama, opting to “stay off social media for some time” to distance herself from trolls. “For me personally, I don’t like to read the comments anymore because when people try to get at you and try and bring you down,” she says. Biles prefers to spend her time with her friends “doing makeup, getting our hair done, doing our nails” or just relaxing at home. “Sometimes just taking a bubble bath, having no makeup on, just being myself, having my hair in a bun, just relaxing,” she says.
As the world prepares for the biggest global competition, have no doubt that Biles is ready to compete at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. When it comes to competing beauty standards, she is declaring that beauty is a #NOCOMPETITION zone.
To find out more about #NOCOMPETITION and learn how you can support and lend your voice to the cause, please visit nocompetition.skii.com.
For more than 38 years, SK-II has touched the lives of millions of women around the world through skin and life transformation. The fascinating story behind SK-II began with a quest to understand why elderly sake brewers had wrinkled faces, but extraordinarily soft and youthful-looking hands. These hands were in constant contact with the sake fermentation process. It took years of research for scientists to isolate the miracle ingredient Pitera™, a naturally derived liquid from the yeast fermentation process. Since then, SK-II with Pitera™ has become a special secret shared by celebrities all over the world such as Chloë Grace Moretz, Behati Prinsloo Levine, Tangwei, Ni Ni, Chun Xia, Haruka Ayase and Kasumi Arimura. For the latest news and in-depth information, please visit sk-ii.com.
#CHANGEDESTINY is at the heart of the SK-II brand philosophy that celebrates how destiny is not a matter of chance, but a matter of choice. Inspired by the stories of women from around the world, #CHANGEDESTINY sheds light on the pressures they have and the universal 'box' they are put in to be perfect in society's eyes. Award-winning #CHANGEDESTINY campaigns include 2016's "Marriage Market Takeover" that put a spotlight on the labels of "Sheng Nu" or "Leftover Women" in China, 2017's "The Expiry Date," 2018's "Meet Me Halfway" and 2019's "Timelines," a docuseries in partnership with Katie Couric about the evolving and controversial evolving topic of marriage pressure and societal expectations women face globally.