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Kick & Punch / June 2016
Blair Hammond, Senior Manager, Global Newsroom

The One Thing Ronda Rousey Doesn’t Want to be Is Perfect

Ronda Rousey is a force. When she barreled through the male-dominated UFC, critics couldn’t help but take notice.

As she propelled to movie stardom, she quickly caught Hollywood’s attention. And at times it seems there isn’t a square inch of the Internet that hasn’t been touched by the keystrokes of her haters or super fans. 

Like a speeding train, her force is intense, irrepressible and seemingly unstoppable.

ronda perfection 1But when she actually walks into the room, the comparison seems misplaced. What you expect of Rousey is not necessarily what you get. She’s less train and more butterfly.

She doesn’t crash or speed. She’s more delicate, more raw, more quietly powerful than one might anticipate from a professional fighter. She has her own effect; one you can’t avoid.

And that makes people uncomfortable.

She doesn’t deliver what critics, producers, talking heads and most of all her opponents expect. She’s not trying to be “perfect.”

“The acceptance of criticism is part of who I am,” says the fighter while on set for Reebok’s new “#PerfectNever” campaign, focused on female empowerment and self acceptance. “I’m not a lukewarm person. People either hate my guts or really, really, like me. And I’m OK with that.”

She explains that despite her global popularity, she see’s herself as honest and true to herself not others’ expectations. While some are living in the world of celebrity, which she equates to the melodrama of high school, she is real. And not reality T.V. real, just … real.

“I try to show as many imperfections and flaws as I can. I go out and walk around not wearing make-up. I like how my face looks,” she says. “I’m not trying to make it look perfect all the time. I’m trying to be myself all the time.” ronda perfection 2

Unsurprisingly, Rousey’s honesty has earned her devotees and haters seemingly in equal numbers. But who can’t relate to that? Who is liked by everyone? Who is seen as perfect every moment of every day, pleasing every person they come in contact with?

The answer is easy. No one.

“There are a lot of unrealistic standards being put on everyone,” Rousey says, continuing on to explain the particularly high standards for women especially.

“A lot of women are under the pressure of making everyone happy with them all the time,” she says matter-of-factly, “so I think it’s good to have examples out there who say, ‘You know what, not everyone is always going to like you, but life will go on, you’ll be OK and you can still love yourself.’”

Rousey is very clearly and unapologetically one of those examples.

ronda perfection 3Her fights, films and forms of social media are all testaments to her authenticity. But still that honesty and those imperfections still surprise many in an age of celebrity obsession.

“People come up to me sometimes and say, ‘You’re Ronda Rousey!’ and they say it in a way that I want to ask, ‘What does that even mean?,’” she explains.  “I don’t even understand what everyone expects from me or what their idea of perfect would be.”

And that’s the thing about perfection, even for something as beautiful as a butterfly. Every angle reveals something slightly different and unexpected. Every wing movement affects the next, whether anticipated or not. 

Kick & Punch / June 2016
Blair Hammond, Senior Manager, Global Newsroom
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