Ex-UCLA gymnast Katelyn Ohashi -- one of the stars of ESPN's Body Issue -- says she was nervous as hell to strip down for cameras, telling TMZ Sports, "It took a lot of courage!!!"
Ohashi had a meteoric rise to fame this past year ... after an awesome floor routine at UCLA in January (59 MILLION people watched it!!!) -- she became a household name.
So much so, ESPN's producers asked her to appear in the buff in their magazine ... and even though she absolutely killed it -- she says it was terrifying!!!
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But, Ohashi says it was all worth it ... telling us she's been trying to convey the message that it's okay to be vulnerable in your own skin -- and she thinks the shoot was able to accomplish that.
"I try to portray that on social media in general, like exposing my flaws and struggles and hardships," Katelyn says. "And, to be able to get in front of a camera and do that ... you quickly become at ease."
Ohashi has been open and honest about her body throughout her time at UCLA ... with the 22-year-old admitting she's battled eating disorders and body shaming for years.
But, Katelyn says she's happy and healthy now ... and wrote on social media this month, "i’m proud of my body and all its imperfections, that’s all i have to say."