Donna D’Errico believes you’re never “too old to wear a bikini.”
The “Baywatch” alum recently took to her Instagram page and shared a snapshot of herself rocking a pink string bikini after critics claimed she is “desperate” for modeling a two-piece on social media.
The model told Fox News Digital exclusively she hopes her photos will encourage other women to celebrate their bodies – no matter their age.
“Once upon a time I used to allow what others thought of me to really bother me and even dictate my actions,” the 54-year-old explained. “And those ‘others’ I speak of were almost exclusively other women. Strangers in public or haters online, so many women just seem to love tearing other women down. It affected me pretty badly over time. No matter how great I felt about how I looked when I left the house, if I got photographed while out I’d be absolutely torn to shreds by mostly women making fun of everything about me in online comments.”
“They always loved making fun of my legacy,” she shared. “I have thick legs, always have and always will. It’s how I’m made. They would also make fun of my feet, my hands, stretch marks, cellulite, my teeth are too big, I’m too short, I’ m not as pretty as this actress or that actress, my dress is ugly, I have no style, my face is too round, my eyes are too far apart, my eyebrows are too thin, my hairline is too low, etc.”
According to D’Errico, she faced insecurity during her “Baywatch” years. The show, about a team of lifeguards led by Mitch Buchannon (David Hasselhoff)aired from 1989 until 2000.
“I remember when I was on ‘Baywatch’ this one female reporter was interviewing me on camera while I was wearing my swimsuit,” D’Errico recalled. “She pointed down to my leg and asked, ‘What’s that?’ I watched as the camera aimed at where she was pointing at my leg. She was pointing at stretch marks on one of my hips I had gotten while pregnant with my son. She knew very well what they were but wanted to point them out on camera and ask me about them.”
“Then the camera broke back up to me awaiting my answer,” she continued. “I awkwardly looked around and then down at the ground and quietly said, ‘Stretch marks.’ Then the female reporter said, ‘Did you say stretch marks?’ And I saw the camera again aim down at my legacy. I thought I was going to vomit. I looked up at the female reporter, and she was grinning. I ended the interview and quickly ran off in tears. I still remember that to this day. Women are just mean.”
D’Errico said she still struggles with her body image following the incident, but has been “working on it.”
“I was a very shy child and was badly bullied in school,” she said. “I grew up and ran off to Hollywood to follow my dream of being an actress, only to start getting bullied all over again. I read this book called ‘The Four Agreements’ and realized how life-changing it is when you stop taking the mean things people say personally. I still slip up and take things personally sometimes, and then I have to go back and re-read that book again to keep me immune to their Jedi mind tricks. I think we are living in a time right now when people are getting tired of all the judgmental bulls–t. Or maybe I’m just older now and don’t care anymore. I suspect it’s a little of both.”
When asked what advice she would give to other women who want to wear a bikini but are worried about what others may think, D’Errico replied, “Good Lord just wear it.”
“Life is shorter than you realize and there will always be someone with something rotten to say so just go have fun and don’t hurt anyone and do stuff that makes you happy,” she advised. “I am so blown away by all the supportive comments on my post on Instagram. It seriously has brought me to tears. My dad even called me about it, and he’s my hero. I still got some haters in my DMs making fun of me squatting on my coffee table and saying my boobs look ugly, but that’s all just white noise. I’m already thinking of where I can photograph myself squatting in a bikini next. Maybe the Golden Gate Bridge.”
In her Instagram post, D’Errico addressed the negative comments she received after she wore a festive Fourth of July bikini.
“Quite a few women complained about the 4th of July video I posted in a red white & blue bikini because they thought I was ‘classier than that’ and ‘too old to wear a bikini’ and, my favorite, ‘desperate,'” D’Errico began her caption.
“Let me tell you something that might surprise you. I can actually wear and do literally whatever I want,” she wrote. “On that note, here is me in a bikini squatting on a coffee table.”
Under the post, D’Errico commented, “For all those asking, no I didn’t remove the red white & blue 4th of July video. It’s still up under the ‘reels’ tab on my page.”
D’Errico rose to fame on “Baywatch” as Donna Marco in 1996. She starred in the hit series until 1998. She has kept busy over years appearing in several films and TV shows. Most recently, she’s starring in Sean Patrick Flanery’s “Frank and Penelope.”