Lily Collins opened up about revisiting her past experiences with eating disorders for her new role
The actress is set to star in Netflix’s upcoming original movie To The Bone, which follows the story of a young woman as she battles anorexia and “reluctantly enters an unconventional treatment program, where she bonds with other residents struggling with eating disorders.”
Collins has previously spoken about how she lived with an eating disorder, telling Refinery29 that putting herself back into that mindset for her character, Ellen, without also harming herself in the process was “scary.”
Now, speaking to Shape magazine, Lily expanded on what it was like to revisit those past experiences.
"Although I was in recovery for several years before the movie, preparing for the film allowed me to gather facts about eating disorders from professionals," she explained. "It was a new form of recovery for me. I got to experience it as my character, Ellen, but also as Lily. I was terrified that doing the movie would take me backward, but I had to remind myself that they hired me to tell a story, not to be a certain weight. In the end, it was a gift to be able to step back into shoes I had once worn but from a more mature place."
The actor also shared how, a few years ago, she couldn’t have imagined herself posing in a bikini on the cover of a magazine.
“I used to see healthy as this image of what I thought perfect looked like—the perfect muscle definition, etc. But healthy now is how strong I feel,” she admitted, before adding: “It’s a beautiful change, because if you’re strong and confident, it doesn’t matter what muscles are showing. Today I love my shape. My body is the shape it is because it holds my heart.”
Collins admitted that she was initially nervous about speaking about her own eating disorder experiences because she worried that the story might overshadow her professional work. But she ultimately addressed her past in public to move forward as “a human and an actress.”
“I’ve always strived to start conversations about taboo subjects with young women. Sharing my story in [my book] Unfiltered happened to coincide—not strategically!—with To the Bone, but I’ve always admired people who are relatable and honest. Having suffered from an eating disorder doesn’t define me; I’m not ashamed of my past,” she said.
We’re glad that Collins has found her experience cathartic, and that, as part of her recovery, she has been able to revisit her past in a way that has been constructive. You can watch To The Bone on Netflix when it hits the streaming platform on July 14th. Personally, we can’t wait.
If you are struggling with an eating disorder and are looking for support, you can contact the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. For a 24-hour crisis line, text “NEDA” to 741741.