Lily Collins is the star of a new movie about anorexia called “To the Bone,” slated for release on Netflix on July 14. Collins lost weight under medical supervision to play the role of Ellen in the film, and in a recent interview with Net-a-Porter’s The Edit she talked about how the role affected her as a survivor of an eating disorder. She says there’s a group therapy scene in the movie where the characters are talking about eating disorders in a way she’d never heard it worded before, and you can see her understanding it in the film rather than the character she’s playing. It’s really powerful that going through the process of working on the movie helped her understand what she went through better. However, it hasn’t all been good, and she also mentioned that she was actually complimented about her extreme weight loss for the film.
Collins said, “I was leaving my apartment one day and someone I’ve known for a long time, my mom’s age, said to me, ‘Oh, wow, look at you!’ I tried to explain [I had lost weight for a role] and she goes, ‘No! I want to know what you’re doing, you look great!'” This refusal to hear what’s actually going on, be it that a person is sick, or experiencing disordered eating, or has lost weight for a film, can be incredibly damaging. By placing something as arbitrary as weight as the thing of utmost importance, above even health, it reinforces beauty standards and says that by any means necessary, becoming smaller is the goal.
Collins finished the story by saying, “I got into the car with my mom and said, ‘That is why the problem exists.'” It’s so true. At the same time that Collins was being praised by some for her weight loss, she said many magazines were refusing to allow her not just on the covers but also on the inside pages so as not to send harmful messages about weight. She says of this experience, “I told my publicist that if I could snap my fingers and gain 10 pounds right that second, I would.”
To hear multiple (and conflicting) messages about our own bodies can be incredibly difficult, and Collins is right — it’s the reason why this problem exists.
More on body image:
- Perrie Edwards Responds to Accusations That She Photoshopped Her Instagram
- This Body-Positive Blogger’s Side-by-Side Photo Highlights How Manipulative Social Media Can Be
- This Mom Is Sharing How Childbirth Helped Her Love Her Body
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