'I'm in the worst shape of my life': Will Smith speaks for all of us in revealing Instagram post
via WillSmith / Instagram

"Men in Black" star Will Smith posted a revealing Instagram photo on Sunday and a lot of people can relate. The actor, 52, posted a photo of himself in black shorts, an unzipped hoodie, and slippers showing off his new gut and chest.

"I'm gonna be real wit yall - I'm in the worst shape of my life," he captioned the photo. In a world where celebrities have to be hyper-sensitive about their image, especially when it comes to weight, Smith's admission was a refreshing reminder that A-listers can have the same struggles that we do.



The post inspired several of Smith's friends to send him messages of support.

Questlove wrote: "This is the most amazing post in the history of social media."

"Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" co-star Nia Long said, "You still got it baby!!!"

Director Ava DuVernay said, "I see no 'worst' here."

Smith's admission received over five million likes, probably because it resonates with a lot of people who are also dealing with weight gain during the pandemic. A recent study by the American Psychological Association (APA) found that two in five Americans gained more weight than they intended over the past year.

The average person who gained more weight than they wanted added 29 unwanted pounds. One in ten said they added more than 50.

According to the APA, rapid weight loss can be a sign of struggling to cope with mental health challenges.

Another study by WebMd confirmed the APA's findings. A recent poll of over 1,000 readers found that 54% of respondents said they have gained weight "due to COVID restrictions. "Fifty-four percent said they were exercising less, 68% said they were snacking more.

Smith is getting ready to shoot his next film, "Emancipation," a big-budget true story about a runaway slave in 1863. In the film, Smith plays Peter, a fugitive from slavery who flees Loiusiana to find freedom in the north.

However, the film hit some roadblocks after Smith and director Antoine Fuqua said they were pulling filming out of Georgia due to the state's recent voting restriction laws. The new Republican-led voting changes require voter ID for absentee voting, limit the use of drop boxes, and restrict giving out food and water to voters waiting in line near polls.

The decision to move filming out of Georgia makes sense for a film that deals with racial oppression.

"At this moment in time, the Nation is coming to terms with its history and is attempting to eliminate vestiges of institutional racism to achieve true racial justice," the statement read. "We cannot in good conscience provide economic support to a government that enacts regressive voting laws that are designed to restrict voter access."

"The new Georgia voting laws are reminiscent of voting impediments that were passed at the end of Reconstruction to prevent many Americans from voting. Regrettably, we feel compelled to move our film production work from Georgia to another state," they continued.

The film was scheduled to start shooting in June 2021.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."