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Talk show host Drew Barrymore grew up fast as a child acting icon. Unfortunately, her caretakers allowed her to veer into a life of parties and drugs at a very tender age. But Barrymore did learn some positive lessons about beauty from her experience as a kid superstar.

Namely, it made her question traditional beauty standards, particularly for women. Even as a child, she said she “knew somehow not to fall prey to vanity” in Hollywood. And now, she shares what she learned then with her daughters.

Drew Barrymore poses in red, looking away and smiling
Drew Barrymore | Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images

The Flower Beauty founder explained the difference between vanity and beauty

For Drew Barrymore, beauty has a clear definition. As she writes in her lifestyle book, Rebel Homemaker, the actor measures beauty by how she feels instead of worrying about how she looks. “Beauty for me is something that you see outside of yourself,” she explains, “around you in the world.”

She seemingly kept that notion at the forefront of her mind when she built her brand, Flower Beauty. That’s when she “got into the world and the marketing and the messaging of beauty.”

While she was still young, she learned to recognize the difference between feeling confident and beautiful and becoming a victim of vanity. But she began to question what beauty meant when she noticed how going into a dressing room for hair and makeup could empower a woman.

“She’d look taller and more confident,” she explains of watching the same woman leave the dressing room. That made a significant impression on her, even at such a young age.

On the other hand, she watched women around her “looking rather tightly wound and worried about the way they looked and self-conscious about their bodies,” she shares. She adds, “Somehow, even as a little girl, I knew that did not look like a very easy way to live.”

Barrymore ‘knew somehow not to fall prey to vanity’

Barrymore had an unconventional childhood but she’s grateful for the lessons it taught. She notes in Rebel Homemaker, “Looking back at my life and my youth in Hollywood, I knew somehow not to fall prey to vanity.”

Instead, she learned to love herself and all her quirks. And she hopes her daughters, Frankie and Olive, will do the same.

When Barrymore defines beauty to them, she said it’s her priority to teach them the important lessons she spent decades learning herself. More specifically, she wants them to be secure in themselves and know when the time comes, the right person will love them for who they are.

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Eight months into her second pregnancy, Barrymore told Elle, “I will literally kill myself to make [my daughters] learn the lesson I’ve learned about how insecurity is not an option. It just isn’t.”

“I remember when I was a late teenager and I had a boyfriend who cheated on me. I remember feeling so bad about myself and I felt shame,” she explained.

So, she first asked herself why she wasn’t good enough. At the same time, she thought the “other girl” must have been better somehow. But then she asked herself what would happen if she stopped thinking that way.

Instead, she accepted that someone would someday love her without trying to be something more for them. At that point, she said, “Nope. This will be totally enough for somebody one day.”

“That was a real script flip and it changed the rest of my life in such a positive way,” she explained. “So I feel like I want to teach stuff like that to [my daughters].