Celebrity

Camila Mendes opens up about her eating disorder

'I was obsessed with being thin.'

By Jonah Waterhouse
Camila Mendes CFDA Awards 2018

Actress Camila Mendes — best known for her role as Veronica Lodge on Riverdale — is much-loved by fans for speaking candidly about mental health.

In a recent interview with Marie Claire Malaysia, Camila opened up about her struggle with disordered eating and body dysmorphia — and why she made a conscious choice to change the way she viewed her body.

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"When I grew up, I was obsessed with being thin. I always wanted to be lean, and then I went to college, I noticed my body was changing and it made me feel out of control but I didn't understand it," the 23-year-old told Marie Claire Malaysia.

At the time, Camila herself didn't know she had a problem; as the Riverdale actress points out, eating disorders don't come in a one-size-fits-all package. It can be really hard to tell if someone — be it a friend, acquaintance or stranger — is suffering from disordered eating.

"There is the common misconception that when you have an eating disorder, you are really skinny, and that's not the case at all — it's actually quite the opposite," she said. "People don't know that you don't necessarily have to look like you have an eating disorder to have one. And because I was never that skinny, I never thought that I did."

However, it's not all grim. There are a whole lot of body-positive influences for young people coming to the forefront. (Case in point: Ashley Graham).

Camila's interview with Marie Claire Malaysia comes exactly one week after she defended co-star Lili Reinhart over unfair pregnancy rumours on Instagram.

After speculative images of Lili circulated the Internet and convinced certain fans she was pregnant, Lili denied the unfair claims — and Camila was quick to back up her best friend and co-star with an educational Instagram post.

INSTAGRAM @CAMIMENDES
INSTAGRAM @CAMIMENDES

With more stars speaking out about their history with disordered eating, Camila hopes to raise more awareness around all kinds of disorders — and continually works with Project Heal, an organisation aiming to assist those suffering from all kinds of ED's.

"I think the biggest message through Project Heal is to let the public know just how high the costs really are to get to treatment, and how an eating disorder is not recognised as a mental illness when in fact, it is one of the deadliest mental illnesses there is."

If you, or anyone you know is experiencing an eating disorder or body image concerns, you can call the Butterfly Foundation National Helpline on 1800 33 4673 or email support@thebutterflyfoundation.org.au.