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Shailene Woodley is one of Hollywood’s top stars with her current film, Insurgent ruling the box office this past weekend both domestically and worldwide. She’s also starred in such films The Fault in Our Stars, Divergent and her breakout role alongside actor George Clooney in The Descendants. But what really sets Shailene apart from her peers is her positive management of her scoliosis.
At the age of 15, Shailene was diagnosed with a 38-degree curvature in her back. She was prescribed a plastic brace that stretched from her chest to her hips, to wear every day for two years, in an effort to halt the progression of her scoliosis.
“It was like wearing a tacky, disgusting, plastic corset for 18 hours a day. In the beginning, it was hard to eat or breathe and I had to give up cross-country running. But I needed to have it to realign my spine,” Shailene told Us Weekly in 2012.
Shailene spoke to Marie Claire magazine in 2014, and said of her diagnosis:
“I was like, ‘Some people have crooked teeth, some people have broken fingers, and I’ve got a back that has my initial on it.’”- Marie Claire
And during her press interview rounds for The Descendants, she spoke with Movies Online, who asked her:
Q: One of the tools in an actor’s kit is the physicality. You have to know what to do with your body. You had an experience in high school where there was some question about whether you’d be able to be physically active?
SW: Yes, I still have scoliosis but it was never a question of whether I could be active or not. Never. Actually I have pretty severe scoliosis but it’s not something that will ever affect [my life]. You can still get pregnant, you can still live your life the way anyone else can live their life. You can bungee jump. You can skydive. It does not hold you back from anything. Every now and then you get a little bit of pain, but everyone has their stuff to deal with. Everyone has their own pains and obstacles to battle with. But it’s never been physically limiting at all.
Q: Did it give you an awareness of your physicality?
SW: No, not at all. It gave me an awareness of being grateful for it. I am so grateful I have scoliosis over something else.
Congratulations to Shailene for being such a positive role model for others with scoliosis!