Camila Mendes said Ashley Graham inspired her to let go of her obsession with being thin
Riverdale star Camila Mendes appears on the June 2018 cover of Marie Claire Malaysia, and in her interview, the actress opens up about her previous experiences with eating disorders, body image issues, and how model Ashley Graham inspired her to love herself no matter her size.
According to JustJared.com, the 23-year-old actress revealed that she was “obsessed with being thin” when she was younger, saying, “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. I thought I was just gaining a lot of weight…at that time there weren’t many voices out there that championed curvier body types.”
Mendes continued, "But now, we see models like Ashley Graham who are encouraging women to embrace being unique, and that made me let go of the standard that was established so long ago — that thin is the only type of beautiful.
Graham, of course, has long been a champion of the body-positivity movement in the modeling industry and beyond. At size 14, she he has graced the covers of Vogue, Glamour, and the swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated.
In February 2018, Mendes shared a candid post on Instagram about her turbulent history with dieting. She declared herself #donewithdieting after realizing she had allowed her obsession with food and thinness to overtake her life.
"Somehow I had stripped myself of all the pastimes that brought me joy, and all that was left of me was my anxiety around food," Mendes wrote in her caption. "I'm done believing in the idea that there's a thinner, happier version of me on the other side of all the tireless effort...I’m sick of the toxic narrative that the media consistently feeds us: that being thin is the ideal body type."
Not only has Mendes been inspired by women like Graham to think differently about her own body, but she wants to help others do the same.
In 2017, Mendes partnered with Project HEAL, an organization that helps those struggling with eating disorders pay for treatment. In her Marie Claire Malaysia interview she said it was important to her to work with the organization because there’s a lack of understanding about eating disorders, especially among sufferers.
“There is the common misconception that when you have an eating disorder, you are really skinny, and that is 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 (have the disorder).”
Like Ashley Graham, Camila Mendes is now an inspiration for those struggling with body image issues. If you or someone you love is battling an eating disorder, don’t hesitate to call the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) helpline at (800) 931-2237.