Lili Reinhart said she experienced a recent mental health “spiral” from dealing with body dysmorphia while filming the latest season of Riverdale.
The 26-year-old actress has been open about her struggle with body image throughout her career. However, she shared in conversation with Dr. Daniel Amen for his interview series Scan My Brain that she had recently been in a “negative headspace” as she witnessed her figure changing on camera.
“I’m constantly exposed to pictures of myself all the time on social media, on my show, pictures of me on my show, which started when I was 19. So I’m sort of constantly comparing what I look like now to what I looked like when I was 19, a child,” she said. “So I’m comparing my body to my own body, basically, and afraid of the changes that have been happening.”
Reinhart went on to say that she’s been in “a battle” with herself as a result of that comparison to her younger self. “It’s me vs. me. Me from a couple years ago vs. me now and thinking how do I get back to that? How can I look like that again?” she explained.
As she gets older and faces more changes with her body, it becomes more difficult for her to deal with.
“It has been really hard the last couple months, specifically dealing with more noticeable weight gain than I ever have in my life while also being on film while it was happening. So shooting my show [Riverdale] and having that weight gain basically documented on camera, episode by episode, week by week of my life, my weight fluctuation,” she said. “It felt very much like this massive problem, this thing that was taking up truly 90% of my brain capacity, I was barely thinking about anything else. Every thought was about my weight, was about what I was eating, how I could lose weight, how I don’t look how I used to look, how everyone looks around me, how I don’t look like them. All of my thoughts were about my body and it was very overwhelming and a very negative headspace that I was in.”
Reinhart said that although she’s “coming out” of that most difficult time, she continues to deal with negative body image on a regular basis after developing body dysmorphia by the time that she was 13 years old.
“My skin was really bad so I started to deal with it, not about my body, but very much focused on my skin. I was doing my makeup in the dark, like I didn’t want to wake up and turn on the fluorescent lights in my bathroom and stare at my acne, so I would do it in very dim lighting. at the acne at different angles and its kind of like a ‘I hate looking in the mirror but I have to’ obsessive sort of component there,” she said, explaining that even today if “something’s wrong cosmetically, I’m very attached to it, obsessed with it, have to look at it all the time.”
She also admitted to “obsessively looking in the mirror at my body” through the past few months as she gained weight and feeling uncomfortable with the public nature of her job.
“My point was that in being in film while that was happening, it’s very difficult because it was one of the hardest little chapters of my life that I wasn’t able to experience in private,” she said. “It was just a very vulnerable, vulnerable thing to go through something so personal in a very public way. It was really hard.”
It has also become difficult for Reinhart to feel confident in her efforts to spread positivity on her platform as she experiences such a negative mindset toward her body.
“It’s hard when I very much try to preach the idea of loving yourself and accepting yourself, and you don’t have to fit a one-size-fits-all image in your life, especially as an actor,” she said. “Like it’s OK that I don’t look like all these other people. And then on the inside feeling like I do need to look like those people, so it’s a bit of a hypocrisy feeling. Feeling sometimes like a fraud or that I’ m lying to myself or lying to my fans who look up to me because I am trying to promote these body-positive messages but I’m also still learning them myself.”
While Reinhart is a body-positivity advocate, she has remained honest about her struggles, speaking out when she has bad body image days and even holding other celebrities accountable for how they contribute to the conversation. Ultimately, she hopes to normalize those human emotions while being in the spotlight.
“[Body positivity is] not something that I’ve mastered and I don’t wake up every day feeling like, ‘Oh it’s OK that I don’t look like that.’ There are very brief moments where I feel that and when I do feel that, I feel empowered to talk about them and be vocal about them. But the other 90% of the time, it’s the struggling part,” she said. “I want it to happen and I want to fully believe it but I’m also still on a daily basis struggling with it.”
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