Lily Collins was too thin for fashion.
After losing weight to portray a person suffering from anorexia in the Netflix drama To the Bone, “magazines didn’t want to put me on their covers because they were concerned I wasn’t healthy,” the 28-year-old actress tells Us Weekly. “I commended them. There are photos in magazines of extreme thinness. It’s hard for teenagers to look at that and know what society is saying.”
It’s a message she’s wrestled with herself. As a teen, Collins struggled to overcome her own eating disorder, which she detailed in her recent memoir, Unfiltered. “To me, healthy used to represent perfection,” she says. “But now, it represents how strong I am.”
The L.A.-raised star bares it all with Us.
Us Weekly: While filming, were you worried you could trigger your past?
Lily Collins: I worked with a nutritionist to keep me on track if I ever needed it. I was also held accountable by [director] Marti Noxon and my mom. Everything was out in the open. There was no hiding. As an actor, you draw from your own experiences to connect to the character. This was a situation where my life mission and the mission of the movie combined. It was magical to have the opportunity.
Us: Was there a moment when you realized you needed help?
LC: Everyone has a different form of recovery. I never had an ‘aha’ moment. My reason to finally start talking about it was the moment I realized I wanted a family. I wanted kids. I didn’t want this to be something I bring into that.
Us: Do you think there’s a lack of coverage about eating disorder?
LC: Because it’s uncomfortable. But everything in history that’s important to talk about has been uncomfortable. It’s so prevalent within society among men and women. When Marti was pitching this film, she was told by a potential male investor that it’s too small of a subject matter. That in itself says so much. Because no one actively talks about it, people are very much not aware of it.
Us: Why did you decide to so candidly open up about your past?
LC: Within this business, people do interviews where they talk about never exercising and eating whatever they want. That paints an image. If you’re at an impressionable age, you’re going to actually believe that. That really drove me me to want to write my story and hopefully alleviate some of the misconceptions out there. This is an important conversation to have. It’s not a small topic.
Us: When do you feel confident?
LC: When I work out. I get to push myself beyond what I think I’m capable of. Also when I’m with my best friends and they make me laugh. I feel coolest when I make my funny friends laugh. That’s when my spunk surprises people, and I’m like, “OK, I’ve still got it!”
To the Bone is now streaming on Netflix.
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