Simone Biles' Met Gala Dress Weighed 88 Pounds—And Made Her Feel 'Beautiful, Strong, and Empowered'
She hoped the dress would inspire people, young girls in particular: "You can be tough in any sport you want to be, and you can be strong."
In 2019, Simone Biles announced on Twitter that she wanted to attend the Met Gala one day. On Monday, it actually happened.
Biles, 24, attended the event in a dress designed by Beckett Fogg and Piotrek Panszczyk of Area. The three-in-one outfit featured a hand-embellished skirt covered in Swarovski crystals, a mini dress underneath, and a glittery black catsuit that was decorated to look like a starry sky. The skirt, according to Vogue, weighed 88 pounds.
"How do I feel in the dress? It's definitely heavy, but I feel beautiful, strong, and empowered," the gymnastics GOAT told Vogue at the final fitting for her dress. Biles went to the event as a guest of Athleta, which sponsors her.
The dress was reportedly inspired by showgirls and Josephine Baker in particular. Baker was a civil rights activist and the first Black woman to star in a major movie (Siren of the Tropics in 1927). Amazingly, it took more than 100 people 6,650 hours to embellish the outfit and make the three looks, according to The New York Times.
"I personally don't think anybody's dress is gonna be better than mine," Biles told Vogue. "I'm sure everyone feels like that going in, but this is going to be a statement."
She also said that she hopes the dress will inspire people. "I want to say to little girls in general, you can be tough in any sport you want to be, and you can be strong," she said. "On the other end, you can come out feeling empowered and beautiful and wear gowns like this and step out of your comfort zone."
With that in mind, Biles announced on Instagram today that Athleta is donating $50,000 to The Power of She Fund, a joint initiative from the Women's Sports Foundation and Athleta, to help inspire and build confidence in women and girls.
Biles has previously spoken about the importance of body positivity, telling Vogue in August 2020 that people have repeatedly criticized her appearance. "They focused on my hair. They focused on how big my legs were. But God made me this way, and I feel like if I didn't have these legs or these calves, I wouldn't be able to tumble as high as I can and have all of these moves named after me," she said.
Biles directly addressed criticism of her body on Twitter in 2016, writing, "You can judge my body all you want, but at the end of the day, it's MY body. I love it & I'm comfortable in my skin."
She also previously shared with CNN that she faced taunts at school over her muscles. "Going to public school, nobody really had a body build that I did, and I was a girl, so the guys would sometimes make fun of me," she said. "I think they were just jealous because they didn't have the muscle definition I did. I would try to hide my muscles, not show them, and I would always wear a jacket."
Biles ended her most recent Vogue interview with a message to her fans: "You don't have to be just an athlete; At the end of the day we're people too."
To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter