25 Famous Women Talk About Their Boobs

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Reflections from Dolly Parton, Keira Knightley, Tracee Ellis Ross, Sofía Vergara, and more.
Reflections from Dolly Parton, Keira Knightley, Tracee Ellis Ross, Sofía Vergara, and more.Photo: Getty Images

“Even though I’m an ass girl, Kanye always says my boobs don’t get as much credit as they deserve,” Kim Kardashian West declared in a recent GQ article. Then, to ensure that they do get the credit they deserve, she invited reporter Caity Weaver to touch one. Weaver described it as “so soft that touching it is like scooping up the delicate pink dawn sky with your fingers, or holding a ball of lotion in your hand.”

In our boob-obsessed society, nobody knows more about the pressures of having perfect breasts than celebrities do. Between the reporters waxing poetic about their magnificence and the companies photoshopping them into unrecognizable flesh-colored orbs, the final message is the same: Someone is always watching, critiquing, literally and figuratively grabbing people’s tits and molding them into the shape they want them to be.

Below, we’ve culled together a list of quotes from famous ladies who refuse to let their breasts be defined for them. Read on for a mix of enlightening, hilarious, and sobering accounts from the likes of Nora Ephron, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Tig Notaro on hating, loving, and coming to terms with their breasts.

Tracee Ellis Ross

“People make comments about my breasts online all the time. Stuff like, ‘You should wear a bra.’ The weird part is, I am wearing a bra! Sorry, I don’t have fake boobs, and I like where God placed mine. I never got the ‘This Is Where Breasts Should Be’ memo. I go to the Korean spa — you’re around all these other naked women — and I think how different we all are is neat. You can’t standardize bodies.” — Glamour, September 2015

Tig Notaro

“Here’s a little tidbit about me. I was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer, and I ended up getting a double mastectomy. And before I had a double mastectomy, I was already pretty flat-chested and I made so many jokes over the years about how small my chest was that I started to think that maybe my boobs overheard me and were just like, ‘You know what? We’re sick of this. Let’s kill her.’” — CONAN, March 2014

Nora Ephron

“I would sit in the bathtub and look down at my breasts and know that any day now, any second now, they would start growing like everyone else’s. They didn’t. ‘I want to buy a bra,’ I said to my mother one night. ‘What for?’ she said. My mother was really hateful about bras, and by the time my third sister had gotten to the point where she was ready to want one, my mother had worked the whole business into a comedy routine. ‘Why not use a Band-Aid instead?’ she would say … I suppose that for most girls, breasts, brassieres, that entire thing, has more trauma, more to do with the coming of adolescence, with becoming a woman, than anything else.” — “A Few Words About Breasts,” Esquire, May 1972

Keira Knightley

“I’ve had my body manipulated so many different times for so many different reasons, whether it’s paparazzi photographers or for film posters. That [Interview shoot] was one of the ones where I said: ‘OK, I’m fine doing the topless shot so long as you don’t make them any bigger or retouch.’ Because it does feel important to say it really doesn’t matter what shape you are … I think women’s bodies are a battleground and photography is partly to blame. Our society is so photographic now, it becomes more difficult to see all of those different varieties of shape.” — The Times, November 2014

Margaret Cho

“I like breasts. I can deal with them being a part of the body that is exploited by the corporate machine because they look nice. I got a real good pair. I find them to be to my advantage in situations that call for me to wear a lovely necklace, a heavy sweatshirt, a La Perla bra, my backpack. They keep me even on both sides of my body, and I can stand up without falling backwards or tipping too far forwards … We use women’s bodies when it serves the purpose of selling our bullshit back to ourselves, but when an artist uses her body, in a manner of her own choosing, to express her womanness, her sexuality, and most importantly ON HER OWN TERMS — then it is something to be punished, then it is something to be angry about, then apologies are demanded, invitations are retracted, and the system chokes on its own misogyny and injustice. This is just a witch hunt in tit hunt clothing — and it makes me want to start a cunt hunt revolution my own self.” — “Titties,” her site,  February 2004

Judy Blume

“I have small breasts (à la Margaret Simon). A-cups? The breast surgeon asked at our first meeting. She nailed it. I told her the exercises didn’t work for me. Not sure she got my attempt at a joke. Like Margaret I used to think bigger was better. But my dense, small breasts aged well. They stayed perky while other body parts sagged. I’d become quite fond of them. Still, the idea of mastectomy wasn’t a difficult emotional decision for me (again, these are very personal reactions and decisions). Maybe because my breasts have never defined my sexuality. Who knows?” — her blog, September 2012

Tina Fey

“I developed breasts very early, around nine years old. I developed breasts so weird and high, it’s possible they were above my collarbone. At that point, wearing a bra was not so much about holding the breasts up, as clarifying that were not a goiter. My mother knew the importance of getting the right fit for a bra, so she took me to JCPenney and tried one on over my clothes. She tried a bra on me over my clothes in the middle of JCPenney. I thank her for this. This early breast-related humiliation prevented me from ever needing to participate in ‘Girls Gone Wild’ in my twenties.” — Bossypants, April 2011

Misty Copeland

“About eight months after I started with the company, I fractured a bone in my back during a rehearsal. My doctor … put me on the Pill. Almost overnight, my body was transformed. In one month, I gained 10 pounds, mostly in my stomach, and my 30B breasts swelled to double D … I became so self-conscious that, for the first time in my life, I couldn’t dance strong. I was too busy trying to hide my breasts … In 2012 I landed my biggest role yet, headlining in Firebird …When I turned onto the sidewalk, I saw it: a huge billboard on the front of the Metropolitan Opera House with my picture on it. I was in profile, wearing a red leotard, with my chest and back arched so you could see my full, feminine breasts and my round butt. It was everything that people don’t expect in a ballerina. I stood completely still for five minutes, just crying. It was beauty. It was power. It was a woman. It was me.” — SELF, March 2014

Christina Hendricks

“If there’s anything to be learned from me it’s that I’m learning to celebrate what I was born with, even though it’s sometimes been inconvenient. Having larger breasts has made it harder for me to shop throughout the years, but I’ve learned to love it. It’s so bizarre that people are constantly asking if my breasts are real or fake. They’re so obviously real that anyone who’s ever seen or touched a breast would know.” — Daily Mail, May 2011

Laverne Cox

You’ve got breast implants? “Off camera, I can talk to you about it. I’ve chosen not to talk about any of the stuff I’ve gotten done, because I think so often when trans people’s experiences are talked about, far too often we focus on surgery and transition. So I don’t talk about that, but I’m very happy with the situation.” — The Wendy Williams Show, June 2014

Joni Mitchell

“I was kind of the ‘It’ girl of that time. In the ’50s, I would not have been the ‘It’ girl, because my breasts weren’t big enough. They came in late. In my 50s. Where were they when I needed them? But I have a flapper body. I would be great in the ’30s. Even bodies go in and out.” — New York, February 2015

Dolly Parton

“I’ve kind of exposed them. I had big boobs all my life, but I had ’em made even bigger, so why not just go along with the fun. People hopefully now at least know there is a heart beneath the boobs and that’s one of the reasons my boobs are so big, it’s just all heart pushin’ out my chest.” — BUST, June/July 2014

Miley Cyrus

“My dad’s cool because I’m sure he’d maybe rather me not have my tits out all the time, but he’d rather me have my tits out and be a good person than have a shirt on and be a bitch … if you’ve got your tits out, you can’t really be an asshole.” — Jimmy Kimmel Live!, August 2015

Audre Lorde

“When I tried to reexamine the 18 months since my mastectomy, some of what I touched was molten despair and waves of mourning — for my lost breast, for time, for the luxury of false power … I would lie if I did not also speak of loss. Any amputation is a physical and psychic reality that must be integrated into a new sense of self. The absence of my breast is a recurrent sadness, but certainly not one that dominates my life. I miss it, sometimes piercingly.” — The Cancer Journals, 1980

Ilana Glazer

“I think [Abbi Jacobson and I] both have these bodies that, because you just see such thin people represented all the time, when you have any tits, any ass, it’s like va-va-voom. I am very sensitive about my boobs; I was literally nine when I got them, and for so many years, before I got to enjoy my body, it was for other people’s evaluation. To enjoy your body on a comedy level is a whole other level of pleasure. Boob humor: it’s like, this is not for you — it’s for me.” — Flare, December 2015

Sofia Vergara

“I mean, a normal girl will just put the dress on and leave. I need them to be like an armory. My dresses are like a work of art inside because, you know, I am 40 years old, I had a baby, and I am a 32F boob. And they are real still. When they are fake, you take the bra off and they are still there, perfect! Me—no, so I have to bring them up! I have to build the dresses up to here so that the bras—ach, it’s a whole, der—ugh—tchah!” — Vogue, March 2013

Scout Willis

“Matters like the taboo of the nipple in the 21st century, public breastfeeding, slut shaming, fat shaming, breast cancer awareness, body positivity, gender inequality, and censorship have found their way into mainstream discussion. But unfortunately the emphasis in the press has been on sensationalizing my breasts, chiefly in terms of my family … I didn’t choose my public life, but it did give me a platform to help make body politics newsworthy … I am not trying to argue for mandatory toplessness, or even bralessness. What I am arguing for is a woman’s right to choose how she represents her body — and to make that choice based on personal desire and not a fear of how people will react to her or how society will judge her. No woman should be made to feel ashamed of her body.” — xoJane, June 201

Ruby Rose

“As a little kid, I was convinced that I was a guy. I used to bind with ACE bandages, which is really, really bad for you. I was like, five or six? I was really young. I didn’t have anything there to bind! I used to sleep on my chest because I thought it would stop me from getting boobs. I used to pray to God that I wouldn’t get breasts. Then in my teens, I tried to be quite feminine. My mum was pushing me to do some modeling — everyone said I was a very pretty girl. And then one day it just got too much. I shaved my head and just went ‘Fuck you’ to everyone who thought I need to look a certain way.” — The Guardian, July 2014

Zoe Saldana

“You always want what you don’t have. My whole life I’ve been obsessed with breasts. I love them. I don’t like fake things, but I wouldn’t mind buying myself a pair before I die. When I hear men say, ‘I don’t want droopy breasts,’ I think, I’m sorry, you’re not really a man. A man likes a woman as she is. You know when you meet a real man from the way he talks about a woman.” — Lucky, February 2014

Salma Hayek

“I was the youngest in my class and all these girls started getting [boobs], and I wasn’t getting anything. And I was really scared. We went on a road trip with my parents to this church that had a saint that was supposed to do a lot of miracles — I was getting teased a lot because everybody was older and I was the skinny tomboy — and so when we went back to the car, I said, ‘Oh I forgot something!’ I went back in the church, put my hands in the holy water, and went, ‘Please, Jesus, give me some boobs!’  — The Graham Norton Show, December 2011

Pamela Anderson

“Apparently, I’ve nicknamed my breasts Pancho and Lefty. But that’s just not true, sadly. In the flesh, I don’t think they’re that magnificent at all, but something happens when they appear on screen – it’s like they expand or something. But that’s it for them now, I think. I wouldn’t get anything done to them again, because I tend to think about my health a lot more now than I ever did before … But all in all, I’d say they’ve had a pretty good career. I’ve basically been tagging along for the ride.” — Daily Mail, September 2008

Jemima Kirke

“My body is, like, is not necessarily … aspirational. You know what I mean? It’s got flaws and it’s also got some nice things about it. It’s average and it’s also not so average and it’s kind of weird … One of my boobs literally looks like it’s from another set of tits. And I love it! I really like it. I used to go topless around the house and I remember there was this guy and he was like, ‘Your boobs are so different. It’s awesome!’ And he was older, too, and I was just like, ‘Thanks!’ And I always remember that.” — Vulture, April 2012

Janeane Garofalo

“I did [a breast reduction] many years ago, because at five-foot-one, I had boobs like Dolly Parton. I’ve never thought big boobs were good. I hated them the second I got them. I did nothing but try to hide them my whole life, and as soon as I was in college I was like, ‘These have got to go’ … When I did stand-up, people would heckle me because such a short person with such big boobs is very distracting.” — Inked, 2009

Diane Keaton

“Except for those few years in the early 1970s when I didn’t wear one, I’d never thought of bras as anything but a necessity one had to address. Occasionally I come across pictures of myself from the braless days. What the hell was I doing? Soooo unattractive. And my poor little breasts. They must have been confused. At a party recently I reminisced with my old friend Elliott Gould, who said, ‘Oh,  remember you from the seventies — you had those low-slung tits.’” — Let’s Just Say It Wasn’t Pretty, April 2014

Maya Angelou

“Don’t get older just to get wiser. If you get older, you will be wiser, I believe that — if you dare. But get older because it’s fun! … My knees are gone, and I find that my hair has changed a lot, and the breasts are very interesting — because they are in an incredible race to see which one will touch my waist first. And it’s fun.” — Oprah, 2002

New York Women Draw Their Own Boobs