Denise Richards on sex symbols, OnlyFans, plastic surgery

Unapologetically is a Yahoo Life series where women and men from all walks of life get the chance to share how they are living their best lives—loud and in vivid color, without fear or regret—looking back on the past with a smile and embracing the future with excited anticipation.

As a mother of three daughters, Denise Richards knows the importance of honing a healthy body image.

“When I was working out, I would never use the words ‘get fit’ or anything like that – it was just ‘be healthy'” Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star, 51, explains. “So that’s something I instilled in my girls from a very young age. I think it’s important, especially now, for us to embrace our bodies and be strong — to empower and own it.”

The actress currently stars as a “very strong, powerful” boss in Amazon Freevee’s first original movie, the romantic comedy Accidentally love — and it is not her only venture.

Recently, the reality star has taken her mantra of empowerment and applied it to her 18-year-old daughter Sami Sheen’s decision to join OnlyFans. While Sheen (whose father is Charlie Sheen) faced swift backlash for joining the site, as it is often associated with sexually explicit content, Richards released a statement of support – and later joined the platform herself. She tells Yahoo Life that she appreciates the platform, which allows creators to control “the narrative of their own content” and “engage with fans in a more dynamic way.”

“I also wanted to support my daughter because I felt it was unfair that she got so much backlash when she was there,” notes Richards. “I educated myself and if I didn’t agree, I wouldn’t have joined.”

Richards may be a supportive mother, but she also makes sure to tell her daughters about the experiences she regrets during her time in the spotlight — including her choice to get cosmetic surgery.

“I tell them, if I could do it all over again, I wouldn’t have implants,” says the former Bond girl. “When it comes to botox and fillers,” she says simply, “I move my face too much.”

Richards — who was recently photographed by husband Aaron Phypers in a stars-and-stripes bikini over the Fourth of July weekend — says she’s not eager to claim the term “sex symbol” either.

“I’m grateful that my husband can take a picture of me in a bikini or whatever, but I don’t see myself as a sex symbol,” she says. “Not at all.”

In fact, Richards has never identified with the label — despite the world applying it to her from such a young age, thanks to movies like Wild things.

“I don’t think I realized the magnitude of it,” she says of her rise to fame. “I would go past seeing myself on magazine covers and stuff and [be] as, Oh, it’s not me. I’m in my jeans, a t-shirt, at the grocery store. I see myself that way.”

But ultimately, Richards says, it’s “confidence” that “makes a woman sexy,” regardless of body type.

“Anyone who exudes confidence is, to me, so sexy,” she explains. “Beauty is really, really from within.”

—Video produced by Stacy Jackman.

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