Even though Maitland Ward bares it all as an adult film star, the gorgeous redhead revealed she wasn’t always sure of herself. “It’s a long [journey], and I think so many young girls deal with that and might be at the beginning of that right now — like really being not confident who they are,” the 42-year-old tells In Touch exclusively. “It’s just a very long process, but along the way, the exhibitionism and all my costumes and everything — that was really self-expression for me. Along the way, I started really accepting myself by taking things off and getting rid of the barriers.”

Despite some challenges, the starlet was able to persevere and get through that uncomfortable time in her life. Now, she has some advice for people struggling with similar issues. “People say the worst things to themselves when they look in the mirror,” she explains. “Say positive things only. Make an effort to be like, ‘You’re beautiful’ to accept yourself. It’s not about being vain or anything. It’s just about loving you and expressing and being who are, no matter what it is. Just be your authentic self.”

Maitland Ward Wearing a Green Sports Bra and Leggings
Courtesy of Maitland Ward/Instagram

Now, looking back at her time on Boy Meets World, the former Disney star thinks it’s ironic that her character, Rachel McGuire, actually flaunted her physique for everyone to see. “I was wearing the lingerie, I was always half-nude in the apartment, I took nudie pictures for Jack [Matthew Lawrence],” she says while laughing. “There were little hints. Somebody was watching an episode on Disney+, and they were like, ‘This episode is so foreshadowing. It’s amazing.’ I think it was the lingerie episode, dancing around in my underwear drawer.”

These days, the Drive actress loves fitting in a sweat session into her day. “I actually work out really hard,” she reveals. “I love to spin. I have been a cyclist for years. I do spin a lot, and I do a lot of yoga. I am a certified yoga instructor, although, I have never taught. I took training for myself years ago.”

Maitland Ward Wearing a White Shirt on a Bed
Courtesy of Maitland Ward/Instagram

As for how Maitland keeps her body in tip-top shape for her movie scenes? “I try, try, try not to eat bread, starch, sugar — that kind of stuff,” she admits. “Of course, I do, but I work out a lot. But I do try to limit that kind of stuff just because that is what gets me.”

You look fabulous, Maitland!

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