Ashanti, 42, says she's become more confident with age: 'I might put on a bikini a little more often now'

Ashanti shares how she makes time for self care in her busy schedule. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)
Ashanti shares how she makes time for self care in her busy schedule. (Photo: Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

Original 2000s "it girl" Ashanti opened up about her mental health and the unsung beauty of aging in a recent interview with Byrdie.

"As you evolve and age, you become more comfortable in your skin," shared the New York native whose debut album Ashanti launched her to international acclaim in 2002 and received a Grammy award for Best Contemporary R&B Album.

Now more than 20 years later, the 42-year-old is still turning heads with more confidence than ever.

"I might put on a bikini a little more often now than when I first came out," she said.

But even though she is OK with showing a little bit more body now, she maintains that self love ultimately comes from the inside.

"A lot of the confidence comes from within, and obviously, you stay stylish because you've got to give the girls a little something. For me, it's just about staying true to myself and accentuating the good things I love about myself. I'm proud to be happy with who I am," she said.

Rising to prominence in an era wrought with combinations like low-rise jeans and micro mini skirts has had quite the impact on the John Tucker Must Die star, who shared she does not miss the flared jeans of fashions past.

"The low-rise tie-up bell bottoms. Every time you bent over, it was a lot going on. But crop tops and low-waisted jeans were my go-to outfit. My abs were poppin', so I wanted to show them off," she said.

Maintaining relevance in the entertainment industry for over two decades is no easy feat, and she admits the fast-paced lifestyle can make it difficult to prioritize her well-being.

"With the position I'm in right now, I have to work hard and make some sacrifices. So, boundaries are important. I can do a bunch of interviews, but when I'm down to three or four hours of sleep, I have to [carve out some self-care time]. Creating a balance when working hard and going after all these amazing opportunities is essential," she said.

Being mindful of the messages her body is sending her has also been crucial for the R&B songstress, who is still working on finding a balance.

"You have to be cognizant of your mental health, get enough sleep, drink enough water and eat the right foods," she said.

For her specifically, eating the right foods includes cutting back on her animal product intake, she said, revealing she has plans to cut meat out of her diet entirely in the future.

"I feel I've done a decent job of caring for myself and watching what I eat. I've become a pescatarian within the last seven or eight years. I stopped eating red meat and pork when I was in 10th grade. I'm trying to go vegetarian now. Maybe I would've told my younger self to start that a little earlier," she said.

In addition to dietary switches, Ashanti also finds solace in squeezing in a little creativity and retail therapy where she can.

"Self-care is very important. I work on this daily because my schedule has been packed with shows, interviews and appearances, and I have not taken the time out for myself. This is the first week in months that I am off for seven days straight. So my self-care routine will consist of massages, quiet time, writing some songs and doing some shopping. I'm getting excited just thinking about it," she said.

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